At the weekend, we went to the other side of England to visit my grandparents. I must say, beforehand I was fairly apprehensive – any gathering of my family is normally fraught with pitfalls and tension, and that’s no good for my grandparents. Or for me. It was my grandad’s 80th birthday, and at this point they are both not particularly well, so we bundled into the car and drove and drove and picked my sister up and drove and drove and drove.
I say we… I mean Char. I still haven’t crossed driving our car off my list.
So we had my grandparents, my mum and her partner (fiance?), my sister, my little bro and his girlfriend, and the notable absence of my littlest brother, who currently refuses to go anywhere his brother will be (see? Tension). And really, the whole weekend was quite excellent. I think mostly because it obviously meant quite a lot to my grandad – he got rather emotional, it was quite touching – but also because sometimes my family are enjoyable chaos. It’s all very shouty and competitive – well, I seem to get that way, anyway – but that can be in a friendly way. I mean, you could just say that’s because the youngest one wasn’t there to cause ruptions, or that everyone was on their best behaviour, or that we’re in a lull between dramas, but who cares so long as it’s good?
Frankly I was also relieved that Char got to see that side of my family for once. It isn’t always easy being surrounded by crazed Armstrongs.
That is why there are multiple ‘family’ items on my list. They’re effort, but… well… they’re family. It’s a weirdly familiar, comfortable sort of nuisance.