A weekend away

The long weekend here coincided nicely with other family members’ visits back to the UK too, so we took the chance to head over for a bit of a break. It was super fun, super relaxing, and super busy too.

Friday passed in a blur of pottering and visiting my grandma, who is amazing. Over the summer she had to move from her flat to a nursing home, she was very ill with neuralgia, and there was talk about how much longer she’d be with us. I visited in early September, when the prognosis was a little better, but still grim, and found her confused about a lot of things. She’s 91. It was sad, but that’s the way things go. At christmas she was heaps better and almost back to herself. Still quite frail, and after an hour she asked us to go (which was fine, she’s a short walk away from home so several short visits are easy to make).

This visit she had improved even more, and it was hard to tell that she’d been so ill before. She reads a lot – this time last year it was the Times bestseller list, now it’s whatever the visiting library brings in large print, but The Guardian’s still her newspaper, and she’s in tune with everything that’s going on.

Knitting for her is hard – she knows what she wants, and it’s acrylic, machine washable and soft. A hat had been requested, so I duly provided:

I’d be lying if I said that it was the item I was most proud to have knitted. It’s some form of novelty yarn, and my pretty swirly decreases are lost in it. However. It is the softest yarn I could find, and it’s really cosy and comfy and what she wanted, and that’s what matters most.

Saturday we took a family trip up to London – although despite all starting from and returning to the same station we managed to travel on separate trains quite a lot (lets just say that mum ended up on a train that the rest of us didn’t and it was my fault and I don’t expect to hear the end of it). Anyway, we had a lovely lunch by London Bridge, took the excellent Thames Clipper boat service down the river, under Tower Bridge

to the Millenium Dome O2 Arena, which is very grubby.

We were there to see the Tutenkhamun exhibition. The Dome itself is, well, a giant tent filled with chain restaurants. Meh.
The exhibition was fascinating, and it’s hard to take in how old the pieces are and the exquisite craftsmanship that went into them. I have two howevers though. Firstly, I would have loved a lot more explanations of things – the history, the process of making the pieces, the discovery of the tomb etc. Secondly, and this is an important one. I had the impression that the death mask would be there. It was what I had assumed I was seeing on the website and ads for the exhibition, although I now know that the pictures are of the very small (but exquisite) container that once held his mummified liver. The exhibition sort of gave that impression too – all the rooms told a story, that seemed to be leading up to the death mask, or one of the coffins. When I turned the last corner though, there was just a big screen playing a recording from BBC News 24 and a person asking for my audio guide. It felt a little flat.

However, we had a great family day out in London. I have very fond memories of mum bringing my brother and I up for day trips to various museums, and it was nice to do it again with all our partners there too.

Phew! Tired yet?

Sunday then. Sunday was a lovely family day, notable for getting to spend time with three of my youngest relatives, who are all adorable and good natured and beautiful and lots of fun. It was far too short a visit, but a lovely one. There are many more notable pictures from the day, but the one I’m going to share is this:

My mum and my aunt are both fabulous cooks, and I’ve come back a good few pounds heavier from so many delicious meals. The picture above is Glenys’s chocolate pudding and oh my it was soooooo good. There was lemon meringue pie too, which I know from experience is delicious, but I just couldn’t manage it.

OK, almost done!

Monday was another visit to see my grandma, another giant delicious meal, and then home to Dublin, with a bag full of chocolate from the weekend that was in it. Might take a while to shift those pounds…