Last evening I went out with my family to celebrate my brother in laws 60th Birthday (dont tell him but he looks 10 years younger and has the fitness level of a man half his age) and my sons 18th Birthday. We had a lovely time. It was simple pub food but made with good ingredients, all organic and local. We didn't have a starter or dessert (we never do but the kids sometimes have a pud.)as after the main meal we went back to my parents house for a chorus of Happy Birthday & a slice of cake (2 cakes actually!). I really enjoy family time with everyone.
We have all known each other for a lifetime so everything is really relaxed and we have enough shared history that the laughter and funny stories rarely stop. Same old stories ofcourse and every year or so a new one gets added when someone else falls over or does something silly.
I cant imagine life without my family around me. For a short time okay but not for too long. We have never had an argument although we all have our opinions and we very often dont agree, we just realise we dont need to fight about it.
A friend that my mums swims with heard that we were going on holiday together for a week last summer, all together in a large caravan (and it rained throughout so we actually in the caravan quite a bit.) She asked my mum 'wont you fall out?'. It was so far from our mind that we would fight that we thought she meant fall out of the caravan.
My sister and I have a allotment on which we try to grow our fruit and vegetable needs during the year. We dig and plant & weed instead of going to the gym. When the evenings are light and dry we try to get over to our little garden a couple of times a week. Sometimes mum and dad come too. So does my sisters dog, he likes to dig if we let him. Sometimes one of my kids joins in too. My youngest planted a couple of trees last summer. When we have a harvest we divide it up between us all so we all get to try things that we didn't plant ourselves, although Mum & Dad dont seem too keen on the chillies we grow.
In this spring my brother in law is building us a shed over there. Somewhere that we can keep our tools but also a place to escape and relax. We will keep our little kettle and picnic gas ring there so that we can stop for a nice cup of tea from time to time. Perhaps even a glass of wine sometimes. If I make wine from the fruit of the allotment then surely that would be okay? Maybe not.
The strange thing is since i started my journey towards a more simple and deliberate life I dont find that I need to escape but I still enjoy the time with my family and the idea of producing food for us all.
The lady in the photo is Loveday Weekes formerly Loveday Vanstone, from my fathers side of the family.