Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Blog Fodder #5

This week, PractiGal, who apparently makes a mean spinach lasagne ... I have to admit that Sainsbury's makes my lasagne but this recipe looks good ... as a by-the-by, I wonder how much fresh spinach equates to 3 10oz packs of frozen spinach squeezed dry? Because after all, if you squeeze it dry it wont weigh 10 oz anymore and as I prefer fresh spinach, would I need 30 oz of fresh spinach because that would probably fill my kitchen! But I digress, back to the topic, this week PractiGal says

"tell us something about your in-laws, funny memories etc."

Ok, my in-laws ... I met Simon's parents pretty much at the same time as I first met Simon in person. Back in 1999 they lived in Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex and we went down to visit them on one of Simon's first visits over from the Isle of Man. We drove down from Kent and Simon knocked the door (at the same time informing me that he hadn't told them he was coming) ... no answer. He knocked again and we waited ... no answer. So he disappeared around the front of the house to knock a window. And you've guessed it, the door opened! I looked wildly around for him and then turned to face his mother. Who looked right down her nose at me and said "yes?"

So that was my first introduction ... not exactly funny, unless you mean funny in a peculiar way. Cold, frosty and a little intimidating to be honest. Anyway Simon arrived back from the front garden and things warmed a little, hugs/kisses for her darling boy but then she turned back to me and said in the same withering tone ... there's another corker coming ... "and you are?" Topping that off by asking me if I was "over 18 and solvent?" Things have improved hugely since then, she likes me now! To the point of asking me on the eve of the wedding if I really wanted to marry Simon because "you're a lovely girl and I can't see what you're getting out of the bargain!"

Simon's father died in October 2003, he had been ill for a long time before he died, but was a lovely gentle giant of a man with a quiet sense of humour. Parkinson's disease had made communication slow and difficult but every now and then a spark of what he must have been like in the past would show itself. One day, again in the house in Goring, Simon's mum was talking about what they'd been doing and was complaining about the amount of time spent watching sport on the TV* and she'd said something along the lines of "well, he watched blah, blah and I said blah, blah, blah and I asked him blah, blah, blah and he said nothing, he didn't answer and then he went to sleep. Didn't you John? And what did you want?" To which he replied "he didn't want anything," chuckled & turned the horse racing up. Dealing with my MILs ire quite effectively I thought.

At Christmas time 2000, the whole family went to Scotland for Christmas. Simon and I followed on Boxing day ... it was an enormous drag, right up the east coast to Gairloch (parallel with Inverness). For the first time in years the coast (right down to the beaches) had had snow, about 6 inches on the harbourside and the family were staying in 2 cottages on a hill above the village. By this time John was pretty much confined to a wheel chair and to get from the cottage to the village pub Simon's brother stood on the back of the wheelchair and snowploughed John down the hill. Both of them were laughing aloud and cheering with the excitement of it all ~ fantastic!

Here's a scan of the photo from the windowsill in the spare room of Simon and his dad larking on Clapham Common, probably taken in the early 70s. They had obviously gone up there en famille to get some fresh air / sun etc and had taken a frisbee with them. They are fooling around pretending the frisbee is a military award, standing to attention for the photo and the surpressed laughs on their faces make me smile everytime I see it ... I only wish I'd had a chance to get to know him better.

* I think it's genetic ... Simon is an addict too!


Lisa said...

That was lovely to read Jo. I mean, besides the first meeting with your MIL, I felt the frost of that ice me undies lol

But the rest were certainly lovely memories and gave me some wonderful visuals, especially about the snowploughing wheelchair...that sounded terrific fun!

Judy said...

I'm glad you have some good memories on your in-laws. Mine died before Bob and I met, but my mom knew them both. Bob says his mom and I would have gotten along great (which is something that didn't happen with his former wife!)

RE: "it was an enormous drag" is a Britishism I'm not familiar with. Does it mean "a long distance"? In the US (at least in the south) calling something "an enormous drag" would mean it was very boring. I love the differences in our languages!

recoveryroad said...

God bless Sainsbury's!

Fizzy said...

Wont enter the spinach debate , you toataly lost me there.

Your memories sound great. I love the idea of snowplouging down to the pub... can't see my Mum letting me do that !!

I am glad that you got to know your FIL

Fizzy said...

Phewwwwwwwwwww I think I caught upto date now... just going off to double check you have not posted another one whilst I have been commenting on these one

ready for school?
I am not

Moogie said...

What a lovely memory. I can just picture it. :) Thanks so much for joining in this week. Mine is up as well!

Fi said...

Lovely Jo :)

Sad about your FiL. My gran died of Parkinsons, it's a terrible disease to watch happen to somebody you love.

Rob said...

Great memories - really enjoyed reading them.

I particularly liked seeing the photo since it reminds me a lot of photos of my Dad from the same era.

Looking forward to your future blog fodder entries.

Magpie said...

awww that was lovely, hubby took a year and a half to introduce me, we turned up when they were in the middle of decorating, bringing a teenager home seemed to be frowned on...!!!

happy new year


Jenny Ryan said...

They sound like really nice people :)

Claire said...

This is a great post but I have to admit that your introduction to your mother in law sounds scary!

craziequeen said...

That was nice honey.......honest and sweet.

My out-laws just aren't THAT funny...and I don't have a lot of memories of them.

But I have Foddered....a little differently....