Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Descent of the Spawn ... again

This weekend has been pretty chaotic, as is always the case when the Spawn comes to town. It's also be terrific fun to see everyone, especially as my mother had flown over from Malta to help out with Wrecker and his burns.

First and foremost, I was dead chuffed to see Wrecker striding up and down the corridor, his usual boisterous self, and although his appetite was a little 'off' he was otherwise in great humour. Gemmill was delighted to be at HC, and the first thing he did was subtly angle for his 'surprise.' He went straight to his bed, where I usually hide a present, and was obviously deeply disappointed not to find anything. In actual fact, I had hidden a PS2 game there, but it obviously didn't register. Anyway, when I told Sister it was there, she asked if we couldn't take it out, as he children were becoming far too used to gifts! So Fisher whisked it away while Gemmill asked if he'd got a 'different bed' this time (translation: "I say, there's appears to be no gift in the bed in my room, ergo I must be sleeping in a different bed this time, where there is surely a big fat present awaiting me.") and demanded to know: "What is there to do here?" I'd clean forgotten to bring any of the toys up from the garage, so it did look dauntingly un-child-friendly. However, the PS2 game was a real hit - Buzz's Junior Monster Rumble - and he whiled away a happy half hour or so before his supper, thrashing his mother, Granu and Auntie Fisher.

Once the kiddies wre in bed, we adults sat down to game pie and a hearty chat, which lasted well into the night. Sister remarked it was the first time in weeks she'd actually relaxed, and considering the strain she's been under, I'm not surprised. She's been relying on the hospitality of her sister-in-law, with whom she's not always on ideal terms, and it all became just a little too much. When she and Ma had to leave the kitchen in a tip because they were running late, The Sister In Law came back from work, unexpectedly, for lunch and found it covered in sugar puffs and breakfast debris. Granted, this is annoying - but The Sister In Law was, and I quote, "beyond devastated." Nor did she mellow in any way when given flowers by way of apology. Instead, she decided it "wasn't working out" so Sister told her they were moving.

If my kitchen had been left like a bomb site, I would have been a bit cheesed, for sure. In fact, my kitchen has, in the past, been left a tip. But I know dealing with two boys of strong personality, neither of whom are easily persuaded into doing that which they do not wish to do, is incredibly difficult. The Sister In Law deals with her children by organising their lives to the extent they literally only see them for about two hours a day. But rather than vanish down a line of disapproval in the way people raise their children, I'll just reserve my disapproval for the fact that The Sister in Law did little to make Sister feel comfortable and, after pretty much booting her out, had the audacity to say, upon farewell:

"Let us know if there's anything we can do to help!"

I said Sister should have turned round and asked to stay for another two weeks.

Aanyway, I wasn't there and have only Sister's spleen venting upon which to go, which isn't entirely fair. After all, The Sister In Law did let her stay for 2 weeks - and that length of time is guaranteed to put everyone on nerves' edge.

Next day, we went into Dundee to satisfy Gemmill's need to see the robot at Sensation, and Sister's desire for lunch at the DCA. Lunch proved to be a mistake. They're always pretty slow, but this time they took an hour to bring us our food. Astonishingly, the boys didn't run ragged and eventually we managed to get food down us and move on to other things.

That evening, Fisher and I were promised to a charity quiz, run by the ex-president of my tennis club who is a bit of a control freak and is NEVER WRONG. On the other hand, she proved a brilliant quiz maker. We rocked up to Age Concern in Cupar (God help me, but that did my ego no good. "How did you spend your Saturday night?" "I had a kickin' time at the Age Concern." I am, officially, mentally ancient) and discovered tables full of keen quiz goers - and the pamphlet of paper provided for our answers.

It was like War and Peace!

We were in for a long night.

Well - long it certainly was, taking some 3 1/2 hours, but it was also entertaining, with rounds like: "Guess what's in the bag" where you had to identify several plastic baggies of ordinary hoursehold powders. Lu and I volunteered to be indentifiers and got 9/10. The one we failed on was ground almonds. I thought it was polenta. I got lightly ribbed over this by Tom, who was there with Debbie. "Polenta? Who d'you think set up this quiz? Heston Blumenthal?"

Obviously a pie man.

The slightly unbelievable result of this epic quiz night was that we four walked away the winners, despite a 20 question round on Scottish football anthems and their corresponding competitions, which was a complete disaster. We won four bottles: one of Glenfiddich, one of red wine (Hardy's), on of Irn Bru, and, even more oddly, one of orange barley water. Fantastic!

Next day, we met up with Arrow and Lu again for Sunday lunch. I roasted a couple of guinea fowl with rosemary, garlic, pancetta and butter under the skin, and they turned out well. We then played a little Monster Rumble with Gemmill, took a walk up the hill to let Gemmill hunt the geocache, and returned to HC to flop. Or so I fondly imagined!

I wanted to play a grown up game or chat with Arrow and Lu while the kiddies watched TV, but Lu and Arrow were happier watching Pepper Pig, so I went through to do some work in my study. After 5 minutes, I was interrupted by Fisher who had just been alerted by my mother to the fact that Ma's flight was not, as thought, at 9.30pm tomorrow night but instead at 9.30am tomorrow.

Mild panic ensued. Flights to London had to be booked, then from Malta to London - but the Malta Airways desk was, of course, shut until 8am on Monday and we didn't want to book online if it was possible to transfer her ticket for £30. As we all rushed around like headless chickens, discussing alternatives (taxi to Glasgow that night/ stay 'til Thursday when another flight leaves from Glasgow/ flights from London on Monday/ flights on Tuesday and stay with Brother and Gaura etc) Lu and Arrow remained watching Pepper Pig, oblivious. I'm delighted to know how easily they can be entertained.

Aside from the flight nonsense, it was my ideal Sunday! A housefull, a Sunday roast, a walk, then flop. Ok - the flop didn't quite work out as I expected, but it was pretty perfect otherwise.

Next day we were up by 7.45 to see off Ma and Sister & Sons, who managed to leave the house only 20 minutes or so late. Some kind of record! Ma managed to get her flight sorted and it much relieved our minds. We waved them off fondly, then returned to a house that seemed to echo with emptiness. Still, it was rather nice to slope about in a dressing gown for the rest of the morning before the cleaners arrived (then left again because they couldn't do the full amount of time and Fisher threw a minor wobbly and demanded they come back when a complete clean could be achieved).

We'd planned on doing some exercise, but lack of sleep quashed that idea and instead we had a lazy day. I helped in the jewellery workshop, putting the hooks on earrings (very proud) then played a lot of God of War 2 (not very proud at all), and before you knew it, it was time for supper. Amazing how a day doing nothing can speed by.

So that was that for the Visiting Spawn. Terrific stuff. I love, love, love a busy weekend.


Lu said...

OK, in my defence I was actually joking about Pepper Pig, but then your Ma suddenly realised re. the flight and as she and Sister headed out the door to sort it, I figured it was far more useful to stay put with two wee boys whilst people sorted things out.

Indeed Sister did then stick head through door and say would you mind watching them, before disappearing for TWO episodes of The Night Garden. I would thoroughly recommend watching the latter whilst stoned. The writers appeared to have been... ; )