... This weekend I wasn't able to be at the Giant Flea at Shepton Mallet. Important family occasions, a wedding in January and a special one this weekend, have meant that I have missed the first two of the year.
This weekend was an exceptionally important family 'do'. Mum's youngest brother, my favourite uncle who is also my Godfather, turned 80 and my cousins organised a super party for 50+ family and friends. His youngest daughter, who happens to be my God-daughter will be celebrating her 40th birthday this week, too, so it was certainly a party not to be missed. The age range was from just about 2 years old up to Mum at 87, with a fair few of us placed well into the upper half of the range! This is my farmer uncle, who taught me to drive, showed me how to milk a cow, feed lambs, pluck turkeys, collect eggs, stack hay and straw bales and, not least, introduced me to antiques and vintage from an early age. I used to attend farm sales with him and my aunt back in the 1960s and it is probably thanks to them that I finally became the person I am today.
The cake was made by a 'girl' from the village (well, she is a few months younger than me!) who I have known since the mid 1950s! She makes superb cakes and we always look forward to one of Velia's masterpieces. This one depicts a farming journey from the early days of an Ayrshire milking herd, to his becoming a hay & straw merchant, to a grower of turkeys from day-olds to the Christmas table, their first bull mastiff, my cousin's Freedom Foods free range hens, my God-daughter's new Farm Shop and the homes they have lived in (the first one being the farmhouse where Mum and all her siblings grew up, and which only left the family in recent years).
Just to make sure there was plenty of emotion throughout the weekend, I created a book of photographs using http://www.blurb.com/ which meandered through his life where it intertwined with ours - photographs taken by my father and latterly by me. Some of them had never been seen by my cousins, and definitely not by their children. It was great fun to do and I have nothing but praise for this company. I downloaded the free software to create the book. I designed and laid out the photos and then uploaded it all to Blurb (an American company). I uploaded the photos on 16th February and was told it would be sent out to me on 26th February. I admit I paid for superfast 2-day shipping to ensure it arrived in time, but imagine my surprise when a 7" x 7" hardcover book of about 40 pages with dustjacket actually arrived in the post on 22nd February - only 6 days after ordering it, and in plenty of time for the birthday party. I'm delighted, he was delighted and I shall certainly use them again. I've already created an 80 page book (which needs condensing!) of skies and sunsets. I haven't ordered it yet, but it's there to be published at some point!
So it's back to earth with a bump now. The sitting room is once again filled with stock, although I am trying to get it packed into Shepton Antiques Fair boxes ready for 21 March, and Gillie has finally come to live with us. Amazingly her house sold within a few weeks, and completion was last Friday. She is now another one to have left Northampton to relocate to Somerset (sensible girl!). We've been out today to do a recce and for her to decide where to cross off the list. She hopes to find somewhere soon - there's only so long that anyone can cope with living with us! Paul and I are no 'cat people' - you either are, or you aren't! However, Jasper has come, too, and guess what ... Pauley is his new best friend (and vice versa!!)! He is actually quite sweet, and very well behaved!!! If he ever comes out from under our bed (Jasper that is, not Pauley) I'll take a photo so that all you cat-lovers can join his fan club.
It's so annoying when you publish a post and find that all the paragraphs have joined up into one. What's the betting that now I've edited this post and added this extra paragraph I shall be proved wrong and the whole thing will be beautifully laid out with space between all the paras!
Have a good week, one and all.