Tuesday 14th & Wednesday 15th August 2018
Families are funny things. Some are close knit while others less so. Some live within easy travelling distance and have regular get togethers while others are separated by oceans and time zones. Some just don’t have much in common and others still are separated by animosities and troubled histories. I do like to think however that the majority are happy. Certainly Mrs P and I are lucky to come from happy families.
Mrs P’s family however do fit into the separated by oceans and time zones category. This is why on Tuesday 14th August we drove to Zurich to catch a plane to Madrid for a few days. ‘
Ah,’ I hear you say, ‘Mrs P must have family in Spain.’ Well Sherlock, that is where you are wrong. We are going to Madrid because Mrs P’s brother and family live in Japan…
…let me explain…
Mrs P has one sibling. A brother. Let’s call him Astro Boy (he’s an astrophysicist). Some years ago he met a very nice Japanese girl on a train in England and they got married. I guess that makes her Mrs Astro Boy. They have 2 children. One born in Yorkshire (so let’s call him Foggy) and now aged 16 , one born in Japan, (let’s call her SBB) aged 12. Collectively they are known as the ‘GYKS.’
Anyway, some years ago they moved from Yorkshire, via Reading to Spain, where they bought a house. They lived there for 5 years before moving to Japan where they have now lived for 6 years. They have been visiting their house and old friends in near Valencia. Now Mrs P and Mrs P’s Parents (Mr & Mrs J) and the GYKS are all getting together in a small town 50km from Madrid for a family get together. Clear as mud?
Three days of family stuff will now follow.
Some thoughts on modern technology and nostalgia – Sitting on the plane to Madrid I am plugged into my iPod listening to 1 of 1,418 songs and am reminded of my first big adventure when, way back in 1993. I spent 14 months wandering round Asia with a cheap Walkman (older readers will at this point go all misty eyed with nostalgic memories. Younger readers will have look it up) and 2, just 2, compilation tapes each with just 180 minutes of music in total. Admittedly the cheap Walkman was swapped for a very clever and much smaller model in Japan and I added 3 pirate tapes bought on the streets of Bangkok but not very much in the way of tunes. FYI the additional albums were:
- Eric Clapton – Unplugged
- 4 Non-Blondes – Bigger, better, faster, more!
- Guns an’ Roses – Use your illusion 1
So, the same songs over and over… and over. This means that whenever I hear a song from any of those albums it is like a single, pure and crystal clear drop of nostalgia propelling me back to those halcyon days.
Aside – A rather long one: All those years ago when I told my father I was going to quit my job and go away for a few months I remember that he was less than impressed. My Dad, was ace but we often failed to see eye to eye. He said; “…you can’t do that.” Which naturally begged the question; “Why not?’. He thought about it briefly and said; “Because you’ve never done it before.”
During my time away I wrote often to my parents and after his death a few years ago I found that he had kept all my letters from that time. Perhaps he did eventually think I made a wise decision. I like to think that he would be pleased to see Mrs P and I off on another adventure. At least this time I am fully qualified having ‘done it before’. And, yes Dad, I am looking after her.
PS: For those concerned about Gandalf, he is safe and sound locked up in a hotel car park in Zurich. Patiently awaiting our return.