To my lovely Aunty,
It was our family weekend this weekend past, the first one since you lost your fight against cancer, the first time I have been with the three generations of our family in years.
You would have loved it.
It was as deliciously jam packed with wall to wall activities as usual. Your younger brother exceeded himself with organisational abilities and managed to get us all together in Scarborough, he even managed to bribe the sun into making a rare appearance. Or perhaps sending a few rays into the weekend was your way of making it as close to perfection as possible.
It was so good to see everyone. We had a couple of much missed absentees but the effort was made by everyone. The youngest being two and of course the elder statesman of the family being your big brother. In total 37 of us hit the seaside with a competitive passion.
Day one was bike riding, your dearly loved husband forfeited an opportunity to get saddle sore and kept our seats warm in the bar. As usual the fierce competitive streak that your brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and now great nieces and nephews are renowned for prevailed, a leisurely amble turned into a 25 mile ride up to a cliff top and down again.
It was good but hazardous to bums and ears. Twin Boy sobbed all the way to the top then passed the baton of tears to twin girl who sobbed all the way down until rescued by her nanny in a land rover with room for the bike. I feel I should boast a little that despite his tears seven year old twin boy rode 25 miles and twin girl managed an impressive 18!
That evening we sat all sat down to dinner with a wince and drank a toast to you, Nanna and Grandad and I missed you greatly.
The next morning found me in the pool by 8am joined by various under 18’s from the family, breakfast was hastily consumed before we set forth on the day, first port of call was the annual tennis tournament. I was knocked out before I hit a ball, as you can see nothing much changes, he who helped create them was partnered with an ‘outlaw’ one of the younger ladies to join the extended family in recent years. I am sure you can easily imagine the joy etched on his face when he discovered his partner was fit, athletic blonde, beautiful, tanned and in teeny denim shorts. I tell you, he played to win from the outset, anything to say in that twosome a little longer…
Tennis gave way to lunch, it is challenging finding a cafe in the Scarborough sun for 37 people but somehow we managed it! Then we quickly headed onto the old fashioned water chute, I think you would have waved from the side but your lovely other half joined us plunging into the chilly water. From rides we went to the beach and a ‘friendly’ game of football and rounders followed…
The injuries were surprisingly kept to a minimum and the only limping home came from the pains of the days previous bike ride – did I mention we did 25 sodding miles!
Rounders eased into a final dip in the pool and I sat in the sauna chucking slightly as I left my Uncle (yes your husband) with Twin Girl diving over him and through his legs – I remember many moons ago when I would have done the same and you would joke that I would tire him out whilst urging me on with your eyes.
Dinner that night was eaten with a hunger that only sunshine and activities can inspire, jokes were told, poker was played and on more than one occasion I stared round the room at a mass of glorious inspirational people and was chuffed to pieces that I could call these folks my family.
It just would have hit perfection if you were there.
I bloody hate cancer.
Bank holiday Monday rolled around and my backside stopped sending jolts of pain into my spine everytime I sat down (did I mention we rode 25 miles?) people started to drift away back to their lives and hugs were exchanged and promises to see each other again soon were made.
For those of us with true stamina we hired boats and endured competitive pedalling around the lake, further chaos was added when your sister taunted the seagulls with stale bread, throwing it at our boat causing a siege of airbourne rats to dive towards us at terrifying speed looking for their dinner.
It’s ok – we survived – we may have retaliated with splashing!
The kids proved stronger than the adults and shamed us with their fitness by walking on water and tearing away on tanks. For me it was all I could do to muster the strength to sleep in the car all the way home.
It was a good weekend.
I miss you,
Love Jane x
I lost my lovely Aunt to cancer, she was much too young to die, for anyone touched by this terrible disease please feel free to sponsor one of the many women running Race for Life this year. If you don’t know anyone running but want to sponsor please have a look at my friend Sharon and pledge to her appeal