We have just returned from our annual family holiday, not my own little family of me, husband, son, daughter, but my bigger family, my four cousins, their children and their grandchildren. We have been doing this since 2003, and have only missed two years, one through family bereavements, and one because of other complications.
We started in Derbyshire at the Ebenezer Chapel in Milford, and we have just returned from Turpins Cottages on the other side of the town of Belper from Ebenezer, in Blackbrook. Thinking back to that first time, we no longer have older relatives with us – they would be 102, 99 and 93 if they were still alive! They are missed, and we often talk about them and remember them… so in a way, they are still with us when we are together. We have fourteen children between us, and this year seven of them seven of them, some with partners were able to join us – work commitments and distance to travel make it difficult for some! Now my cousins are all grandparents, so as well as my four cousins and partners, there were four grandchildren as well… so you can imagine what a house full there is.. now we’re home, our house seems so quiet and empty!
Catering for such a bunch might seem difficult; we always have sausages and mash/jacket potatoes on the first night, and leftovers on the last night. For the other five days each family has a cooking night; we always have a Sunday roast with a mountain of vegetables, plus batter puddings of course, and this year on the other nights we had shepherd’s pie/vegetarian shepherd’s pie – (perhaps it should have been market gardener’s pie!) Thai curry, chicken pie and chicken pasta bake. There was always a selection of salads and vegetables, and as for dessert – cake! Everyone brings cakes or buns so we had a selection of ginger, Battenberg, fruit, lemon, chocolate, flapjack, brownies, mini Easter egg brownies, halva, and of course fresh fruit.
The advantage of having a gang is there are always lots of options for going out, walking, cycling, climbing, shopping, exploring, museums, stone circles, parks and animal places… it’s never dull!
Now we’re home and looking forward to next year, maybe Gloucestershire, maybe somewhere else… whatever, we will have a great time. And next year there will be at least one more grandchild in the family!