Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Of Mums and Wanderings

A couple of days back, Mrs the Millbrooker and I spent Mothers' Day in the company of Milly and Trickers. We were joined by the next generation as well, making a merry cohort of nanas, mums and daughters. Some suitably quiescent menfolk were also permitted to attend the festivities - even if we didn't have our own mothers present.

The weekend began with the traditional train journey to the northern wastes of Bath, followed by a swift trip upward to Swainswick to Milly and Trickers' palatial home.

The equally traditional welcome ceremony took place after Trickers and I had watched both of the six nations rugby matches that afternoon. I was so full of horrid cold germs that staring at a game that I don't truly understand was about the limit of my capabilities. Rugger fans will already know that Wales won the grand slam by beating France and England went on to beat Ireland to claim the runners up place. As a one-eighth Welshman I was quite pleased, but had to keep that a bit quiet as Trickers was solidly behind the French. And it was his telly.

Here's the welcome ceremony that happened in the early evening with (L-R) Milly, Trickers and yours truly.
A very fine meal of rabbit followed, washed down with some very decent Minervois. Well done and thank you, Trickers.
All of this, of course, was only the build-up to the main event of Mothers' Day itself. So let us rapidly move forward in time to the next day and around 12 noon. . . 

. . .as we approached my old home village of Freshford and my former natural habitat the prosaically named Inn at Freshford.
And one slap-up lunch followed. I'll skip quickly over its details - not the most inexpensive place to eat in Christendom, but very good value for money. Should you find yourself in the area, I'm very happy to recommend the Inn - decent ale, tasty food, well presented, very good service, friendly and helpful staff. That's all you need to know.

Here we have, at the pudding stage, clockwise around the table starting at bottom left of the photo: Dozybean, Milly, The Wizzers of Soz, Mrs the Millbrooker, me, Trickers and (new to these pages) Mohammed the Iffy.
Milly and Trickers then headed off homeward and the rest of the party went for a wander around Freshford. All (except Mohammed the Iffy, who had never been there before) with varying degrees of nostalgia.

Firstly a visit to the family plot - it was Mothers' Day, and even rank non-believers like me sometimes have to say a word or two to their mum.
And then we trogged around the village. I'll satisfy myself with a few photos from the enormous selection that I snapped as we walked around. I am, though, going to put in a quick caveat - Freshford these days is a very desirable, arse-clenchingly expensive, very very pretty place to live. It was always very very pretty, but I feel the need to press my working class credentials - when I was growing up there it was a genuinely working village and not the city-broker paradise it has become.

So a quick tour:

Freshford village itself.
The house my mum was born (and died) in, the house my sis and I grew up in. The Wee Hoose, massively tarted up in recent years (when we sold it it had a hole in the roof, wet and dry rot - every window was rotten and the rendered facade was beginning to fall off). It's now called Middle House much to everyone's chagrin who ever stayed there and fell for its quirky charms.
We meandered up Rosemary Lane . . .
. . .and around Park Corner; I got some of my earliest stage training in the house in the photo below with the Freshford Music and Drama Youth Group.
And here's something to be a wee bit proud of. The classroom, part of Freshford primary school, on the ground floor closest to the camera is called "George". It's named after my dad. It's not the "George Roberts Memorial Room" or anything formal. It is simply called "George" because that's what the reception class children called him when he spent time there as a volunteer listening to them reading and helping them with their numbers.
All to soon, the wanderings had to cease. we had a short wait at Freshford Station (more family connections - my great uncle Arthur Dyer was the station master when they still had such things in the 1930s).
So - that was my weekend. Came as close as possible to seeing my mum on Mothers' Day and enjoyed seeing my mum-in-law and a swathe of the family even more.

Good times.

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