Wednesday 21 August 2013

Family Favourites

'With a Song In My Heart'
I'm showing my age a bit here, but does anyone else remember (or remember their parents telling them about) Two-Way Family Favourites on the radio? Hosted by Jean Metcalfe and Cliff Michelmore (pictured), it was a cheesy Sunday morning show through which families on opposite sides of the world could send greetings and a tune to one another via the BBC. All very worthy! In our house, we used to call it 'The Yorkshire Pudding Show', because Mum would be preparing the Sunday roast while it was on. Ah, those were the days.

Last weekend I was up in the Staffordshire hills at a family do to mark the Golden Wedding of the son (and his wife, of course) of a woman who was my mum's cousin on her father's side: at least I think that's who it was. The details probably aren't important. Suffice to say I was surrounded by almost a hundred people who are related to me in some way or another, many of whom knew who I was because I was with Mum. It was a splendid occasion: pie and pea supper and homegrown entertainment in a most convivial atmosphere.

There's literary gold in them there hills
I want to say these are simple folk, but that sounds patronising and I don't mean it to. These were some of the most welcoming people I've met in a long time. OK, so I could have done with some subtitles - I've got a Staffordshire twang, but wow! - but all in all it was a lovely evening.

Then on Sunday I had a nice lunch with my brother and his family, where my little niece confounded all dietary advice my insisting that jacket potato with chips was a perfectly fine choice.

As if that wasn't enough, I've been in touch with another of my mum's cousins, but this time from the other side of the family. She now lives in America and has had the sort of life that would make a fabulous film. She has recently discovered that her son has a half-brother, and there is a whole adventure unveiling itself there, too.

The names would need to be changed to protect the innocent (and the guilty), but there's enough material in everyone's family for a mini-series. Downton Abbey? You ain't got nothin' on my kin!

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