11.09.2010 20 °C
I got in touch with some distant relatives the other day and decided to pay them a visit. Angela, my pa's cousin and her husband Owen live in Emsworth, Hampshire, England. They are probably in their late 70s and I'd met them about 10 years ago when they came out to Aus, but only vaguely remembered them. So I called and said I was coming down to visit for the day. Got a train out of London on Wednesday morning which took just under 2 hours. Angela picked me up from the station and was so excited to see me. She is so funny. very bubbly and chatty. She's has such a great personality - really young at heart.
Emsworth and its surrounds are very pretty. A little town by the seaside but also very typical English countryside. On the way back to their place, Angela took me down to the beach where she goes swimming everyday during the summer. Lovely little rocky beach at the end of a small lane. Lots of little rowboats, greenery and a grassy bank. She has lived in Emsworth her whole life and said she loved playing in this spot as a kid. In their kitchen there's a recent photo of her sitting on the seawall at this little swimming spot, with about five 'swimming friends', all in their togs and angela with her bright aqua havaianas thongs on throwing her arms up in the air, posing for the photo. It's great haha
So back at their house Angela, Owen and I all had a cup of tea and a catchup before heading out. We were meeting Owen's brother Brian and his boyfriend Terry for lunch. Yes that's right, a lovely old gay couple of gentleman in their mid 70's. Adorable. So we headed over to their house for a meet and greet/catchup beforehand. They live in a very pretty little retirement village, with a beautiful little grassy area and small stream behind it. Their house was immaculate and very posh and they were your typical very posh english gentleman - but both incredibly camp. Offering me a chilled white wiiiiine, darrrrling. So we all sat and had a couple of wines right on midday. They had just come back from about 2 months in Portugal. They have a house there, oh and one in spain and somewhere else... as you do. Quite the avid travellers so it was interesting talking to them.
We went to a really nice traditional pub just up the road from their place, had a DELICIOUS lunch and moved onto the red wine haha so I was quite tipsy by the end of it all. Of course they didn't let me pay though. After lunch Angela and Terry took me for a walk down along the stream and out into the paddocks. It was so beautiful. You could see the water in the distance. There was a big bunch of cows just lying down, chilling and we were patting them. There was also a pretty lake nearby with willow trees, ducks, swans and cute bridges with little cottages on the banks. Blackberries were growing on the side of the pathway. Just like that. Angela was picking some and eating them. I got so excited about them so she kept giving me handfuls as she was dancing along the little path haha
Walking back to Brian and Terry's place she suggested we cross the stream with our shoes off but then decided against it saying she might fall 'arse over tit' haha So we walked back around on the lovely green grass where we both kicked our shoes off instead. 'The boys' had brought back cases and cases of wine from Portugal, some of which were gifts for Angela. She loaded them up into the car and as we were driving home and they were clunking around in the back she was getting all excited saying 'oooohh that's music to my ears' haha I love her. She was also talking about how she loves Sex and the City and asking me if I'd seen the movies yet haha
So on the way back they took me into town and showed me around a few places. The tide was right out so we went down to the water and wandered around and had ice creams. Angela took me to an old church and showed me inside and out in the graveyard. She pointed out my GREAT GREAT GREAT grandfathers gravestone. It was unbelievable. It had been moved around and was propped up against a wall but she said he he was buried in there somewhere. wow. She also took me into town and showed me her old house which is now a shop (her hairdressers) in the main street of town. It was so interesting having her describe how it used to be and pointing out where she used to play as a kid. When we got back to their place she showed me some photos of how it looked back in the day over another cup of tea. She also showed me lots of beautiful old family photos of my great grandmother (her aunt). SO interesting.
As I was getting back on the train she was thanking me profusely for coming down to visit them. She was so happy. I'm really glad I went. They are such lovely people and a lot of fun. About halfway home I noticed she'd slipped a little envelope into my handbag while I wasn't looking. Inside was a little card with some money tucked into it to cover my trainfare and a note saying thanks for making the effort to come down and visit 'two old biddies' haha. Very sneaky and sweet of her. Such a great day. If I come back I'd definitely love to head down for another visit. Splendid.