My Australian family was due on Friday 3rd April; the Thursday was quietish, with most things I wanted to get done already sorted, and time to cool it a bit. They had taken flight from Sydney at about 5 a.m. our time and were on their way. At 3 p.m. I got an email from my daughter-in-law sent from her BlackBerry while they were on a stopover in Hong Kong. That's a new benefit of technology since their last visit in 2005, and made the waiting less tedious. I was delighted to find later that my reply to her went back to her BlackBerry.
Another email from the BlackBerry early early next morning to say they had landed at 6 a.m. and were just collecting their car. They were planning to to do a bit of sightseeing on the way up to me, and I should not expect them till about lunchtime, by which time they would be much in need of baths! So a leisurely morning for me, of the kind that I prefer, rather than a big effort to be up and dressed and ready for them by about 9 am. By 1.15 lunch was ready - (soup and salad fortunately) - and I was still waiting, getting more and more stressed out by the minute. But I didn't have to wait long.
They had made two sightseeing stops on the way, and my grandson Peter, aged 9, had succumbed to jetlag and was carried in to the house asleep, and put down on my sofa. "Are you going to wake up and say hullo to Granny" asked his father, and rather to my surprise he came instantly awake (just) sat up and flung his arms round me, gave me a squeeze, then flopped back onto the cushions fast asleep again. Very satisfactory - last time he saw me was three and a half years ago.
We had decided, pretty much at the last minute, that instead of staying with me, they would stay with my No 3 son who lives at the other end of the village. Peter would have the company of his cousins there, and I would be able to improvise enough beds for my No 2 son and his three children, who would arrive the next day for the big family get together. So they had lunch, then bathed, then went off to settle in to their accommodation, while I went to get my hair done for the big event.
By Sunday three of my sons were here, with two wives and six grandchildren. My brother and sister-in-law came over too, and we had a magnificent buffet lunch provided by my No 3 son and his wife, who always do a great job of entertaining. It was a lovely day, and the children happily renewed acquaintance with each other. No 2 son had to take his children home on the Sunday night, and I had to go home to pack my suitcase for a 9 am start on Monday - (a very unreasonable hour in my view) - when I would set off with my Australian family for our northerly tour to visit more family.