On Saturday February 25th I walked Piper early as Beth, Cathy and I were travelling to Liverpool to celebrate my stepmother Kathleen’s 90th birthday. Kathleen’s nephew and nieces had organised a buffet lunch for family and friends. My beloved was unable to come with me, as he cannot cope with long journeys or large groups of people since he has suffered from ME. He was staying to look after Piper at home, as I would only be away a night. We had a good journey over to Liverpool arriving at the cricket club in good time; we helped Kathleen’s niece and her daughter to carry plant displays in for the get together. We saw Kathleen and met her wonderful cleaner Jean, who is such a support to her, before too many people arrived. Kathleen was pleased with the special card made by a gifted colleague Sue Green at the Acorn Centre. We had all contributed to a gift for Kathleen and the girls and I gave her some virtual gifts, which supported vulnerable women in various countries too.
It was great to meet the families of Kathleen’s nephew and nieces of whom we had heard so much. It was good to catch up with brothers and sisters too and nieces and nephews who came. Fran’s grandchildren were all there; Jackson and Mia, Kate and Harrison’s children and we met Gwyn and Damaris and their daughter Alice. They are all lovely children and close to Fran so she can enjoy them. Jackson is growing into a lovely natured boy. Mia is a 2 year old going on 5; she is a real little lady now. Alice just 6 months younger is a very outgoing and happy child with a close bond to her father, Gwyn. It was good to see how grown up and elegant Nicola and Nick’s daughters Corrie and Hannah were. Cathy was in her element as she loves to see family members; often working away she has missed family occasions. Beth and I just enjoyed relaxing in the general ambience of the occasion. We soon sampled some of the hot food at the buffet and the cold buffet with a glass of wine. I would not be driving later, when the girls and I went on to Preston, Cathy who is not drinking would drive. The girls would be staying in a hotel near Walton le Dale, as Cathy could not stay with me at Fran’s as she is so allergic to cats. Beth would be keeping her company.
Just as the speeches were beginning Alice, Gwyn’s delightful daughter decided to get acquainted with me. She was keen to be picked up and then decided to launch herself backwards with enthusiasm, so I had to hang onto her for dear life! I missed Kathleen’s nephew Andrew and my eldest brother David’s tributes to Kathleen, but Alice had settled more so I could hear Kathleen’s tributes to her sister’s children and their families and her second adopted family of us six children and our families when she married my father in 1976. She also thanked her friends and church colleagues for their support. She gave an excellent speech.
After all the socialising we all felt quite tired so we were glad to set off not long after 4pm. I had put Cathy on my insurance so she could drive us to Preston, but in the end Cathy drove Beth to the hotel and Fran drove me to her home. We had a lovely meal Fran had prepared and Matthew who had come back with us joined us. Fran and I had some wine and relaxed watching a film on television. We flopped into bed quite early as we were tired. I slept quite well although I never sleep as deeply away from my beloved. I enjoyed a relaxing breakfast with Fran. Kate rang to ask if her mum could look after Jackson and Mia for an hour or so and she agreed. They came with us when Fran drove me to the hotel to meet the girls. Having asked where Cathy and Beth were eating breakfast we went in the dining area and Jackson and Mia were already there with them. Cathy had them entertained and kept them in order in her usual calm way.
Our journey home was even quicker and having dropped the girls off at their homes I returned to a wonderful welcome from my beloved and Piper. It is good to go away because it is always great to come back home again.