Monday, 17 October 2011

Populating the earth, and remembrances of times past

On Friday I flew to Melbourne to visit family, bearing cumquat marmalade for at least a few of them.  Here are some statistics. I saw my two daughters and four of my grandchildren, three of my sisters, my two brothers, several sisters and brothers-in-law, lots of nieces and nephews and their spouses/partners, and about 13 great nieces and nephews.

The main event was the christening of the most recent great-nephew, a lovely plump-cheeked big boy, who wore the family christening robe. This is about 90 years old now. The lace has become quite fragile, and I think the great-nephew put his fist through it and made a small tear. My own children wore that christening robe.

 My fourth and youngest sister gave me a bed for the first two nights. She is a creative and wonderful cook, and had found some cavolo nero at  a local fruit shop, and used it in a delicious pasta sauce. She bought it partly to get her art students to draw it. I have had cavolo nero  only once previously, in Tuscany, when I stayed overnight with friends. It is not a vegetable one sees very often, nor is it  generally mentioned in recipe books - in fact, as soon as I finish this blog post I will check my own cookery books.

On Saturday I looked after two of my grandchildren.  I saw two films, got my tax done, paid the required tax instalment, and talked a lot. And kept crocheting. It feels quite strange, in many ways, as my life is now so solitary (except when I go out to choir, classes and other things) to go from one family and social event to the next and then the next,  with so much conversation and socialising happening.

It was delightful to see so many of my nieces and nephews and their progeny. Someone did the sums and it seems that our grandchildren now total 28, with another one expected, and very likely there will be a few more to come. We have indeed increased and multiplied.

These quick trips are lovely, albeit tiring, but I think that probably I ought to give myself longer so as to spend longer with everyone, and to catch up on old friends. I keep meaning to ring them, but did not find the time.

Last night I stayed with my second sister, and was able to talk through the latest developments with her husband, my excellent BIL. This was very helpful.

My youngest sister and I went to see The Cup, a feel-good film, and this morning my sister C and I saw The Eye of the Storm, before she drove me to the airport to catch the flight home. One of the actresses in that film was in my class at primary school for the first few years. She is an exceptionally talented person and stunningly beautiful, but she now looks quite old (I thought), so I must look quite old myself now too, however much I generally manage to avoid reaching that conclusion. I don't think the past year has helped my looks, although it has made me shed a lot of weight. One must, however reluctantly, face reality. Perhaps I am not very good at this. But I try.

After the film, before we drove to the airport, C and I crossed the road and had a browse around a dress shop, which featured some very pretty clothes in the fashions of yester-yesteryear. I tried on one dress and it fitted very nicely, but we agreed it was much too young-girly a style, with its fitted bodice and full skirt. But there I was, as in the distant past, with a small waist! It gave me a big wave of nostalgia for the days when my friends and I were learning to sew our clothes and we made quite a few such garments.  We were such sweet, innocent young things!  Had we known what was to come, the consequences of our choices and decisions, how many things would have been different.

I think the clothes from this shop would look very nice on my daughters. The series Mad Men seems to have affected fashion. Better late than never?


Elisabeth said...

Oh so poignant this post, the past and the way it creeps up on us.

My husband has an obsession of sorts for cavolo nero, that dark green vegetable that reminds me of an aged and curly silver beet.

He sneaks it in to whatever he cooks on Saturdays and our daughters grumble.

Lucky you, to have such a wide extended family. It makes for conflict at times but it cuts out certain aspects of loneliness. It's good to belong to a large tribe.

Jan said...

I found your blog by following a link from another, can't remember which.

I'd suggest some research on your actress classmate. I was one year ahead of a well known Australian actress in high school ( none of the cast of the Eye of the Storm. Her biography now lists her as about six years younger than I am. All in one year's schooling.

All the best as you work through your issues. BIL sounds a good help. I had nasty legal proceedings and was pleased to have a very competent solicitor. Made all the difference while ex-husband changed solicitors four times as he couldn't find one to suit him. Found on the grapevine later that twice he was "sacked" as a client and the last one was also pleased to see the back of him when all was over.

Relatively Retiring said...

So glad it was a good break for you, but the contrast between the solitary and the extra-sociable times can be quite challenging.