Sunday, July 02, 2006


Off from Edinburgh I went on the train and relaxed back listening to my MP3 player. It was quite a comfortable journey although I remember being annoyed because I was down to my last pound (in terms of cash I had on me) and went to buy a cup of soup from a vending machine. It had run out of powder or whatever so it took my money and gave me a cup of hot water!!

Pulling into Leeds it finally occurred to me that I didn't really know what my Aunt Dorrie or cousin Adrian looked like or where exactly in the train station they'd be waiting. I'd met Dorrie once many, many years ago and sort of hoped for the best! Fortunately, we recognised each other and I found them straight away.

Thus began my week in Barnsley and exploring Yorkshire in North England. It was a fantastic week and I was horribly spoiled :) It was great getting to listen to Dorrie and her husband Rod and all of their stories from how they met in the war, to the incident with the Brigadier's car, to meeting Prince Charles, to their adventures in Spain where they've been living for the last five years (or is it more?). They sell wine by the barrel there and for those who only need a bottle it works out at about 50p!!! It's nice wine too.

New Zealand despite it's growing isolationary tendencies of modern life still has a number of trends towards large families (though some might argue that's more predominant now in Maori and Polynesian familes) but many people still have a large network of cousins etc... Growing up all of my Dad's family were on the other side of the world and my mum was an only child so we never had huge family gatherings. Whereas my Dad is the youngest boy of six children, all of whom have had children, and their children have had children.... Over my final few weeks in England I met all of my aunts and spoke with my uncle in Wales, met most of their children and grandchildren and got to meet my gran for the first time since I was four or five. It was a truly incredible feeling to suddenly be surrounded by a large, warmly welcoming family and get to hear all the family gossip and stories and history for the first time. I am incredibly grateful and thankful to them for the kindnesses that they showed me in bringing me into their homes and hearts and for helping me both to meet all of them but to see more of England too.


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