Family in the UK

As an only child, I was always very excited to see my cousins at the very few family occasions we had when I was growing up.  Unfortunately for me, none of my cousins were close in age to me and my closest cousins were 4 years older and 4 years younger, which as everyone knows, is a huge gap when you are a child.  Therefore I was never particularly close with some of my cousins – especially my boy cousins, because of the age gap and also because they all left Cape Town straight after school for the UK.  

Since I have been here I have seen 2 out of 3 of them and from not really having a relationship before, bonding wholeheartedly.  

In fact I was the family representative at my cousin Roger’s recent 40th birthday bash.  It takes 3 ½ hours by bus from Victoria Coach Station to get to him and for the price of around £20 it is well worth it.  Roger kept saying how happy he was that I was there representing the family. Needless to say, I got horribly drunk and spent the next day puking my guts out so now I am not so sure I will hold that title for any milestones he has in the future.  

I have no pics from that night so I’m adding some from the visit before which was far more civilised.

Me and boys. The others are two of Roger's best mates. Felt very privileged to be introduced so soon!
Me and the boys. The others are two of Roger’s best mates. Felt very privileged to be introduced so soon!
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Us in the Cheltenham Gardens at spring time! Absolutely glorious!
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OK, it was raining but still stunning and wasn’t cold at all! Especially now that I know the real meaning of the word COLD!

My cousin James who lives in Reading is 7 years younger than me, and quite honestly, I don’t think we have ever had an adult face to face conversation – most certainly not one-on-one.  So it was with slight trepidation that I went out to visit him in Reading one weekend.  And the weirdest thing happened as soon as I got into his car.  It literally did feel like I was seeing a long lost brother.  So comfortable and familiar.  It was great.  And we had the best night.  First of all I went to watch him in a play he was doing at the local amateur dramatic play he was in.  Our family has always been into AmDram so it was fun to watch one after all these years.  Then we went to the pub with some of his friends.  And when the pub closed we decided to let our hair down, act like we were 18 and go to a club.  We were eventually kicked out of the club with the other last revellers and when we got home ate bacon rolls and chatted until about 4:30 in the morning.  It was an amazing night!

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James getting his 80’s on – with the help of some very cheap, very strong brandy and coke!!

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As I am sure you can tell from previous posts of mine, I just LOVE a good party but if there is culture involved on a weekend, then I feel like I have covered all my bases and do not need to feel any guilt.  This is slightly different to how I rolled in Cape Town.  In Cape Town a group of us would go for EPIC hikes most weekends, which would take the ENTIRE day and then we would go sit in the pub afterwards and drink beer.  I would always say that I only did the hike so that I could drink the beer!  But I digress …

So, feeling slightly under the weather, the next day we decided to tackle an art exhibition at Reading Prison.  Oh, before that, we filled our bellies at Bills.  Bills Restaurant is a chain and I have now been to two – there is also one in Richmond and both times I was so impressed by the food and the cosy, family owned feel to it.  

Shephards Pie ... up until this day I did not know the difference between Cottage Pie and Shephards Pie. For the uninitiated Cottage Pie is beef and Shephards Pie is lamb. It was mindblowingly good. Sorry lamb. Sorry Khaya. :(
Shepherds Pie … up until this day I did not know the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherds Pie. For the uninitiated Cottage Pie is beef and Shepherds Pie is lamb. It was mindblowingly good. Sorry lamb. Sorry Khaya. 😦

Suitably nourished we began our tour.

James outside before we went Inside (the name of the tour)
James outside before we went Inside (the name of the tour)

 Being there felt very similar to being at the Tate Museum – most of the art was inexplicable.  For example there were about 25 images that looked like this, each with about 150 numbers thereon and for each number there was an explanation of the water droplet.  

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The installation was called The Thames – so this grey picture of water is of The Thames. Even one is odd, but 25!!!
This installation was insured for £8 million pounds and had a guard looking after it. Yes, its a bench with one upside down on top of it with grass growing (to depict graves I think). The mind boggles!
This installation was insured for £8 million pounds and had a guard looking after it. Yes, its a bench with one upside down on top of it with grass growing (to depict graves I think). The mind boggles!
One of the entrance hallways in the prison.
One of the entrance hallways in the prison.

One of the reasons the prison is famous is because Oscar Wilde was imprisoned there for being homosexual.  He spent two years there and died soon after being released.

Not sure if this is readable but if so, please read, it depicts the horrific conditions OW and the other prisoners had to endure
Not sure if this is readable but if so, please read, it depicts the horrific conditions OW and the other prisoners had to endure
Inside one of the rooms. At one stage, men, woman and children were all housed in the same prison.
Inside one of the rooms. At one stage, men, woman and children were all housed in the same prison.

It was exceptionally interesting and even if some of the art was not understandable, having it in the prison and reading about the history was very interesting.  Luckily we gave ourselves a lot of time and felt that we got everything out of it that we could.

That train trip was highly entertaining as well because on the way there a whole group of really drunk, very well dressed men got on at Ascot – presumably after the races.  They were so drunk I feared I might get vomited on!!!  But on the way back I was confronted with Jordy Shore, for realsies!

I  took a whole host of pictures of these girls on my phone and they were SO oblivious!

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If I hadn’t seen this for myself, I would have said this was fake! And they were SO young, I wonder if they left the house looking like that!

I have yet to meet up with the third cousin who ironically lives just down the road from me in Twickenham.  We have tried a few times but it’s always me that cannot make it. Seems I am busy!!!  Looking forward to seeing him and meeting his girlfriend and soon to be the newest addition to our growing family.  

I am so grateful that after a childhood of solitude and intense loneliness – not necessarily being alone, but feeling alone in the world, I can say that family ties are now strong and moving to London has grown that family circle and I am surrounded by cousins who are really good guys and who are good to me; they make me feel looked after and that’s an awesome feeling! 🙂

Lucky for me they all live in places that sport annual attractions – I am looking forward to doing the Reading Festival with James, although he does not know this yet and the Cheltenham Races with cousin Rog.  And we all know what happens in Twickenham …

Looking forward to many more fun adventures with my cousin brothers! Love you guys!

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