A family party

Village view of medieval market building and stone church

And so, just 2 weeks after the Manchester attacks, the outside world forces its cruel way back into our sheltered and happy lives. I can’t really add to what I said about Manchester, except that we are, again, thinking of everyone affected by the London attack at the weekend.

It is hard to write cheery gardening posts when scenes of such senseless brutality appear on our TVs daily. However, as the One Love concert in Manchester on Sunday night demonstrated so well, the only response we can give to these attacks is to resume our daily lives as much as possible. So I will turn my attentions back to home and family, to hopefully provide a moment of escapism for us all.

The good news is that the Princess is now fully recovered from her illness, has regained the weight she lost and is back to her usual active and chatty self. We were away last week for work and it was clear that both girls missed us – they woke us hourly on Friday night to tell us how much. They checked out their territory on Saturday morning, ensuring that all was still well after they had spent a week indoors. Then, after a spot of lunch (“Hooray – you are back! We didn’t get lunch while you were away …”), they asked to go back out to just double check. However, we were off again, this time to a family party in Oxfordshire, so they were disappointed. They sat by the patio doors, noses pressed to the glass and waves of disapproval radiating off them. “You’ve only just come back, what do you mean you are leaving us again??” Feeling like thoroughly bad parents, we ignored them and set off regardless.

How have I got to an age where my sister can be celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary? It seems, well, maybe not quite like yesterday, but certainly not 20 years since we all gathered in the pretty Oxfordshire village where she lives to watch her walk up the aisle to marry the man who would be the best husband she could ask for – they complement each other so well, providing a perfect foil for each other’s strengths and challenges, even if they do bicker constantly! They have 2 very beautiful teenage daughters, of whom we are all incredibly proud too, and it was my younger niece who arranged the surprise party for her mum, with a bit of help from her dad.

Couple standing together cheek to cheek
My lovely sister and husband after 20 happy years together

The party was loud, boisterous and tremendous fun – a bit like them. All their friends turned out to celebrate with them and we got to catch up with sisters, parents, nieces and friends, always such a pleasure. My brother-in-law excelled himself in writing and performing a poem for his wife, encapsulating the past 20 years in a few well-written lines and looking ahead to the next 20. All in all, the whole thing reminded us all how special love and family can be. Then we headed home again, to snuggle down with our own little family, all 4 of us cuddled on the sofa for the evening, happy to be together again.

There won’t be a blog next week – we are taking a break. I will be back as usual the following week though and, until then, I wish you all a peaceful, safe and contented couple of weeks with plenty of sunshine and laughter.

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