Sunday, 5 July 2015
Today, after morning service, we motored over to the Quy Mill Hotel in Cambridgeshire, To celebrate Ann's brother Mick's eightieth birthday, which occurs on this coming Tuesday. Mick had hired two large rooms and an area (with table and chairs) of the river bank outside. Above you see a photo of Ann and meself about to dig in.
The photo above shows the birthday Boy dealing faithfully with a pork pie.
The rest of the photos show the guests, about a hundred people, all family or old friends, and family friends. All are members of Norfolk families, largely Claytons, Eglingtons, and a handful of Horners. All were having to recognise old friends, distant cousins not seen for years, having to remember their names, strike up a conversation (or continue one abandoned several decades ago) and make themselves heard over the hubbub of a hundred East Anglians (mainly Norfolk folk) all competing to be heard. As I am known to be deaf I didn't have to compete to be heard, so could get on with enjoying the grub and bubbly, although poor Ann had to field off the more determined enquiries, or gain my attention (usually by hacking my shins under the table) to answer questions. One of the more interesting ones was how old did a clock have to be to be worthy of the attention of an antiquarian horologist (i.e. ME). We started off with the assertion that the clock which needed attention was of first world war date and therefore had to be a bona fide antique. I pooh-poohed that one and fought the date backward to the Napoleonic wars, refusing to be interested in anything much after that date. I find it pays to be firm, especially with old acquaintances, and distant relations, who will then argue on much the same terms what is considered to be a reasonably fair fee within a family. This discussion was enjoyed by all, not least me.
Needless to say, a thoroughly good time was had by all of us. In the normal way of things this sort of family get-together-discussion and exchange of news, only takes place immediately after funerals, so it was good to enjoy each other's company at something as cheerful as an eightieth birthday celebration. I don't suppose anyone reads 'Tom Brown's Schooldays' nowadays, but I seem to remember, somewhere in the early chapters, Thomas Hughes describing how 'the old Browns' enjoyed a good argumentative discussion at just such a family get-together. People don't alter much over the centuries, do they?
Good night all.