The pattern of the day

I wrote about our family holidays yesterday, an Easter tradition going back more than fifteen years for my four cousins, their families, and me and my family. Up to thirty of us get together for Easter week in a large house and enjoy all sorts of activities, delicious meals, and most of all each other’s company.

It’s very strange coming home afterwards to an empty house, with just the two of us in residence, and I notice it most of all when I get up, and go downstairs for breakfast. Easter holiday for me has a very special pattern in the mornings, and very different from my everyday getting up and breakfasting experience.

We live more than two hundred miles from the rest of the family so we don’t see them as often as we would like; so while we are away together, I always get up early to make the most of their company! Despite the often very late nights (usually sitting in the kitchen, chatting about just about everything, often till the early hours of the morning) I get up just after seven and go downstairs, fill the kettles (more than one in the large houses we stay in) empty the dishwasher if it needs doing so, make a cup of tea, and if I’m on my own, sit reading, by the window if I can! However, I’m not usually the first down; Simon either beats me to it or we arrive at the same time, so then we sit chatting, drinking tea, until he begins to cook the sausages.

Simon cooking sausages.

Sausages, a big thing in our family! We prefer Powters –  made in Newmarket but available in some other areas if you are lucky. We have chipolatas, or chips, on holiday for the first few days until they are all eaten. Gradually other members of the family drift downstairs, usually in night-clothes, and we sit around gossiping, discussing plans for the day and catching up on each others news. If someone has a special trip planned they might come down early, put together a packed lunch and set off – maybe fishing, maybe horse-riding, maybe visiting a particular place…

Endless pots of tea are made, breakfasts eaten, shopping lists made – we have a supermarket delivery on the first day, we bring ingredients for what we intend to cook, and sometimes the pre-made meals themselves (this year we cooked tagine before we went, and put it in the freezer when we arrived to be defrosted for the following Wednesday evening). However, we often need extras, more bread, milk, wine, a particualr fresh ingredient for dinner…

Then suddenly people are rushing – rushing to clear the table, refill the dishwasher, clear up and tidy round, dashing of to get washed and dressed ready for the day ahead, a whirl of activity, then we are piling out of the house and out to enjoy our day, and whatever it may bring.

Today, home from holiday, was a quiet day… just the two of us, a cup of tea, something to eat, then husband doing his art and planning a workshop, and me getting ready to write, once I have hung the washing out to dry… a quiet day with just the two of us…


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