Monday, August 03, 2009

Auntie Jean In Millbrook

The world's favourite first cousin once removed arrived with all due pomp and ceremony at Millbrooker Towers on Thursday last by leaving her bags on the path and quietly sneaking off to park the car.

'Twasn't long before the abandoned luggage was spotted by the eagle-eyed Mrs The Millbrooker and only a few minutes later Auntie Jean herself was through our portals and 72 hours (give or take the odd sleep) of non-stop and delightful nattering began. The camera didn't come out until Friday, we were so busy going through old family stories.

So here's the lady herself during a break in the hard labour of weeding that we set her to in order to pay her keep - no mercy is shown at Millbrooker Towers to visiting relatives:The garden was in need of plenty of attention. Still is, as it happens - but Auntie Jean's efforts are much appreciated, so we did allow her a nice cup of tea and a sit down after a while.With gardening done for the day, we retired to the sitting room where Auntie Jean and I began what became two days' solid work for the slightly older of the pair of us: preparing notes about the family history. I'm pretty well versed in the paternal line and history (a seemingly endless line of illiterate china clay workers stretching back to the early 1800s), but almost completely ignorant about the maternal line.

This is no longer the case, but there's loads and loads more to find out. Excitingly it's likely that yours truly is about one sixteenth Romany (courtesy of great great grandad Stephen Davis who was murdered in London umpteen moons ago). I have a photo of the long-gone gentleman in question - I might scan it and stick it up here just because I can. Now - let's see about persuading Mrs The Millbrooker to sell the house and move into a traditional caravan; meanwhile I'm confidently claiming Django Rheinhardt as a long-lost cousin.Saturday's daylight hours were taken up with more family history stuff; Mrs The Millbrooker dug around in the loft for loads of old files and albums that we'd rescued from my parental home prior to its sale.

Come the evening, however, and the Safari Supper Mob (minus Comb-Over and Liability due to a prior commitment) arrived for dinner to meet and greet Millbrook's adopted octogenarian Auntie. Here's (L-R) Mrs The Millbrooker, Shazzerooneypoos and Cap'n Sump enjoying an aperitif.And here's the other half of the room featuring Dong, La Sumpetta and guest-of-honour Auntie Jean.Mains was served (minced lamb with tomatoes and rosemary in marrow rings, new potatoes and braised carrots) but, as is now traditional, before munching could take place glasses were raised in the Safari Supper toast "To Auntie Jean":After puds (gooseberry fool - yummy fresh goosegogs from our neighbour in Brittany that we'd frozen and brought home), Dong and Auntie Jean got into deep conversation; most of the rest of us drank lots of wine (oh, quelle surprise) and talked lots of bollocks.The visit was short but sweet, and we waved cheerio on Sunday morning; Auntie Jean was off for more adventures on the Scillies. Enjoy the rest of your trip, Auntie Jean - see you again in the winter.

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