Up at a reasonably civilised time of 8am in order to get ready to leave the house for about 9.30 with the boys, to get the 9.40 bus and the 10.44 train to Sheffield.
Long ago my younger brother Thomas had arranged to host a family get together so that our boys, who don't see their grandparents very often, could have a meeting... also with their cousins whom they get on with extremely well.
Over the past couple of days we agreed too that Gill could have a day off, away from the male dominated environment, and have a peaceful few hours. Although Gill loves seeing the extended family, she felt that she needed to have a rare bit of 'me time', and everyone concerned was happy with that. I suggested that instead of doing housework or tidying or stuff like that, she could do some art... making the cards with her water-wash and ink technique which she enjoys so much. Her eyes lit up at the thought!
So, we arrived at about 10 and I got tickets with the family railcard making the one adult and two children well under £20 for a day return. We spotted that the next train to Sheffers was 10.25, so we got that... and it was a fast train, via Doncaster, so just 50 minutes. Tom had asked us to arrive between 11.30 and midday so we walked slowly to his house (which is only 10 minutes brisk walk from the station) and when we arrived, my parents were already there, and it was good to see them as I haven't had much contact for a year or so.
Immediately all the 5 children resumed play... they just play together so nicely, as if they've been apart for just a few minutes! Soon my sister and her husband arrived, so all three siblings were together for the first time in ages. Various people had contributed to lunch, and there was a good spread with something for everyone (the youngest cousin just wanted a slice of bread, but Tom and Kate have a breadmaker so there's always a fresh loaf available) and I liked the caramelised onion tart best.
Tom has made friends with a local tree surgeon who had delivered a load of logs plus a large pile of shredded tree... and Tom wanted the shreddings to be put in his woodland where I think my Dad had been busy with a lawn-mower, making paths through the ivy, and the wood-chips were destined to cover these paths. We did perhaps 30 wheelbarrow trips between the three of us, and my mother and Tom's youngest filled sacks with woodchip so that Anna can use it for her work compost bins, which are currently under performing with too much fruit and tea bags and no carbon-rich material.
After the woodchip removal, we had a coffee and Madeira biscuit and then Tom and I did some log-wrangling... he has a petrol chainsaw with a not very good chain (at least one tooth missing, and pretty blunt) so he did the chainsawing and I split and stacked. Home from home!
We worked til after 6pm whilst the children played.
However, all good things have to come to an end, so at 6.35 we set off back to the station and caught the 6.50 train back to York. I think the boys would have liked to stay!
Tom had made us peanut butter sandwiches for tea on the train. We got the No. 10 bus back as far as Merchantgate but the First service stops at 8pm now, so we walked from town to home, getting in at 8.15.
Gill had been busy with her art and had created a brilliant canvas based on a picture of a Peter Randall-Page photo of one of his boulder sculptures under a tree (it's on the front of 'Granite Song' with photography by Chris Chapman). She had really enjoyed her peaceful day.
A peaceful evening too, boys exhausted and happy.