Victoria Hawkins: The big do

The big Culmer (I was one) family reunion turned out to be just that - big. And on the day some 60-odd of my various rellies and their hangers-on zoned in on a vast Elizabethan farmhouse in Surrey, armed with more food, drink and puddings than you could shake a stick at.

The big Culmer (I was one) family reunion turned out to be just that - big. And on the day some 60-odd of my various rellies and their hangers-on zoned in on a vast Elizabethan farmhouse in Surrey, armed with more food, drink and puddings than you could shake a stick at. Or make that more chocolate roulades than you could shake a catering-size roll of clingfilm at, there were so many of them some went home uneaten.

From just one family comprising three brothers (one being my dad) and a sister - of which just my aunt is still going strong - we'd amassed the next generation of cousins and second cousins and even cousins twice and thrice removed who had flown, trained or driven in from Florida, New York, New Zealand, France, Scotland, Suffolk, London, Devon, Hampshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

The most extraordinary thing of all was to me just about everyone looked like another version of someone else - and that included both blood and non-blood relatives. For instance one of my Kiwi cousins, who I haven't seen for decades, now looks very like my late pa (spooky that) while scaling another twig of the tree another cousin seems to have actually morphed into his father.

Anyway a very good time was had by all, athough due to feeling grotty, very unaccustomed as I am, I only managed one glass of champagne all day. In fact such a good time was had by some that one of my offspring, let's just say the one aged 26, appeared to have had slightly too much jelly and cakes by about seven in the evening and definitely needed to be put to bed by his mummy. Having been duly fed strong black coffee, he was ceremoniously laid out in a sleeping bag in 'our' bedroom rather than his allotted dorm (22 of us stayed over!), in the recovery position, snoring gently.


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Which was fine until Mr H and I joined him for bed around 11.30pm when he wanted to get up and play. Still patently suffering the effects of too much blancmange, he now wanted to wake up and chat, while Mr H wanted to cleave him with a meat axe. Next he went AWOL for about 20 minutes to have a smoke, only to stumble back in again with very wet socks. Then he crashed and he snored like a train all night. Anyway the party was great and roll on next time.

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