Also new at Tetanus Towers, THIS:
A ridiculous baby cockerpoo, belonging to my brother (reluctantly) and family (ecstatically).
"It looks like a mop head" said my father, slightly peevishly, on the phone before I arrived "getting progressively dirtier and dirtier." She's a very sweet mophead with razor sharp tiny teeth and an understandable fear of sheep. I only wish the weepette were here to disapprove of her sorrowfully. One day.
I suppose today is about the cousins. Every couple of months, my boys wistfully ask when we are next going to granddad's to do "apple pigging" and make "apple grumble" (English spelling still tops, chiz) and see their cousins, my niece and nephew. It's not very often - we rarely come more than once a year - so when we do all manage to get together, the anticipation is great. Every time, I wonder if they'll still get on, whether my niece (6 months younger than L, but so immensely grown up as both a girl and a Londoner and taller than me, let alone him) will tolerate all the laddishness; whether my nephew (a year younger than F) will feel left out. Every time, so far, the magic has worked: after a few minutes awkwardness - the bashful hellos, the kisses dodged, the monosyllables - something happens. The place, the familiarity of it all, the traditions (barn of deadly machinery, drain full of frogs, tasks imposed by my father for small sums of money), the dead animals and the apples and my father shouting and the constant danger of impaling oneself on something horribly sharp in the manner of one of those cautionary documentaries they used to show us at primary school does its stuff and they turn into a gang, again.
Gang apple pigging (did anyone read that picture book Apple Pigs as a child? I loved it):
Half-gang at the funfair (4 "rides" the size of a paper handkerchief manned by furious teenagers) in Shipston on Stour:
Incidentally who the fuck decorates these things:
Thank goodness for cousins, both familiar and strange, never quite as annoying as your siblings. Did you have that with cousins? I did with some of mine (better still, they had ponies).
It is now late and I must sleep for I have the Sick and tomorrow my father is taking us on a forced march and later, we are planning to make cider. We have all the kit and everything. I can't imagine what could possibly go wrong.