The last few days have been a period of almost enforced reflection. Myself, the wee baby and Grandma took a trip up the line over the weekend all the way to North Herts. It had indeed been a while. I think the last pilgrimage was for my Grandad’s funeral sometime in 2003. My Mum had been a regular visitor until George died on 2007. After we unpacked the baby she went out to the car again. She said ‘i’ll knock on the door to get back in’….to which i replied ‘who else would it be?’. Mum said ‘no, it won’t be him will it?’. I think it was a rhetorical question.
Since my mother is part of some discount club for adventurous pensioners we stayed at the Milton Keynes Hilton so we could march around Ikea (we have nothing of the sort down by ‘ere) to procure a coveted wooden baby gym. This was an unsuccessful venture and Grandma was quite furious that Ikea were displaying it but not yet stocking it. We had more of a shuffle around the big mall in MK and I was quite brave and fed the baby in the restaurant in John Lewis but the christmas crowds got a bit much after a while. I did buy Grandma a new knitting pattern book so the wee baby can be kitted out in all manner of cardigans and bobble hats before it gets old enough to be embarrassed by them. I wish Plymouth had a John Lewis. Very much.
Anyway the point of the trip was to go and visit the clan so that my cousin and I could look at each other’s babies for the first time which was fun and strange because even though Emma and I are parents now, my 3 cousins and I still seem like the kids in the family. After that it was back into the familiar territory of Letchworth Garden City to inspect my aunt’s new Great Dane (size of a pony but scared of me unless I approached it on my knees – absurd!) and my middle cousin’s enormous, credit crunch bargain house, complete with heritage protection and original arts and crafts features.
After all that excitement we retired to the Pizza Hut on Eastcheap, long familiar from eating there since 1989 during visits from Mum when I still boarded at school just up the road. I could never have imagined we’d return 20 years later with my baby daughter.