Why are Egypt in the African Cup of Nations?

This weekend was a strange one.  On Friday nite, I received a text message from my aunt telling me that the funeral of my great uncle, who died the previous weekend, was scheduled for Saturday morning.  So, my weekend plans had to change to accommodate that.

I bet you are expecting the subsequent post now to be full of gloom, but I am as bewildered as you will be to report that I actually had fun.  At a funeral.  Is that wrong?!

My great uncle Ian was one of my Dad’s family who are all in Kilwinning, so the funeral facilitated a return to “the shire” for the event.  Despite being at work til 4.30am, Andrew picked me up at 9 and we headed down through the snow.  We probably had about half an inch of snow on Friday nite, it was quite a surprise when I woke up.  The funeral was at the church we went to when I was wee.  I was baptised there, had my First Communion and Confirmation there and have attended numerous services there before.  As is usually the way returning to your home town, it has all changed in some ways, but in many ways is just the same.  The church has clearly had some generous benefactors and now has seats instead of pews and new windows, but I remembered the stations of the cross round the room and trying to memorise them when I was about 8.

Because we were running late, we ended up with the last seats in the house.  Which is nice as there was such a big turn out, but embarrassing as they were chief mourner type seats.  I was directly in the line of vision of the priest so I had to sing, albeit quietly.  We met up with my 2 aunts and uncles after the service and all headed to the cemetery through the driving snow.    After the burial, we went to visit my grandparents who are in a plot just up from uncle Ian.  Someone had left a holly wreath on their grave, but no one knew who it was.  I suspect it might have been my dad.

Back to church hall after that, which is when the fun started.  We were sitting with one of my aunts and there followed a steady stream of aunties, uncles, cousins and other people who all wanted to tell us we’d not changed, etc.  I was told:

  • that I look just like my mum, once
  • that I am the spitting image of my dad, twice
  • that I am the living embodiment of my granny, 678 times
  • that I have “the Lennon laugh” (Lennon being my maiden name), twice
  • that I have “the same teeth as Annie”(my granny), once

The latter has sent me this morning to the phone to demand a refund from my dentist.  It’s nice to be told that I am like my granny, as I have a lot of admiration for her.  As one of the many aunties said tho, it is sad that we know so little about her (and the rest of the family).  I know that my granny was one of about 8 kids in her family who were orphaned.  They were split up as Barnardos would not home them together as they were Catholics, so the story goes.  I remember being brought up and never being allowed to give money to Barnardos at Lent, etc for this reason!    (I always harp on about this to friends when we go charity shopping, now you know why!).

I did find out tho that one of my granny’s sisters, one of the orphans, became a nun in France.  I had no idea of this until Saturday altho Andrew seemed to think that he already knew that.  It struck me that there is a lot that we don’t know and that we are now unlikely ever to find out.  For one, my grandad, it turns out, did not appear to be related to any of his “brothers and sisters” – it is believed that his mother was married before, possibly in Ireland, and it was covered up in some way.  Not even my dad knew about that until he died and they found his birth certificate.  It is definitely something I want to research more one day, as I find it fascinating that these people had such a colourful life.

The rest of the day was spent with my aunt Lynn and Uncle Richard.  I have not seen them since my wedding day and before that, several years.  It was nice to catch up and have a conversation with them as an adult, especially my aunt Lynn.  We had loads to talk about and I ended up staying till tea time.  My cousin (also Richard – it was my grandad’s name too) is now 23 and about 6 foot 7.  The last time I saw him I think he was about 9.  It was strange as he was at home for the weekend from Stirling with his girlfriend, full of plans for their forthcoming round the world trip.  Their first stop is of course Bangkok, so I’ve given him my email address in case he runs into any trouble.  We had a great chat discussing all the things they are going to do and things to see, etc. 

Sunday was spent mostly packaging up the 5 billion things I have sold on Ebay.   I am glad I perservered with it as most of the stuff was destined for the charity shop but has now netted us over £350!  Which is really useful right now. 

Bangkok is still on the horizon, bobbing up and down to remind me of it’s presence.  I’ve tried to put it to back of mind but this morning had some news which means that it is all in motion.  I basically need a signed letter from boss in Thailand and then I need to go to the Thai consulate here in Scotland.  I was expecting it to be in Edinburgh, but no – it’s not only in Glasgow, but it’s practically in Maryhill!  How disappointingly local.

Then I just need to get a flight and off I go.  Work is putting me up for 2 weeks in a hotel which is 2 weeks longer than I expected.  So time to find an apartment (or condo as they call them) in my first couple of weeks.  Best start looking for flights now!

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