Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Ode to Erin

As I said in my Valentine’s post, last weekend I was at a family do. I’ve mentioned my extensive family before but on my mum’s side alone I have 34 cousins who so far have had 8 children themselves... can you imagine if each of my cousins had two babies?

Some of the Family

Luckily very few of us send cards or give gifts I would be permanently skint! My Nan used to send each of us £10 for our birthdays and Christmas.... with me, my 4 siblings plus the 34 of my cousins that’s a lot of cash – not even counting the cards to send them in!

So when there’s a Wedding, Birthday or Christening, very rarely does it work holding a house party. Before the last 15 of my cousins were born we used to gather at my Nan’s 3 bed East End terrace for New Years Eve. My cousin’s Lee, Terry, Scott and I used to hide under the buffet table or in the garden just to breath!

I loved these parties; UB40 on the stereo, a Tesco bought spread and crates of Bacardi... I can’t even smell this particular rum let alone drink it now – and weirdly I never have despite all my drunken nights out; it’s the drink of my Aunts.

Last weekend’s get together was in honour of my cousin Erin. Erin’s Dad and my Mum are brother and sister. She’s 21 and had never met any of us before – some might say she’s lucky, we’re a rowdy, annoying London family but I felt for her. I hardly get to see most of my family any more but least I have the Bacardi fuelled memories.

Erin lives in Sydney, Australia and from her stories she has a lovely family, great friends and work mate’s, a degree to look forward to and to top it off she’s beautiful – not a bad life at all – No, I’m not feeling so bad for her now either!

The party in Erin’s honour was held in an old pub in Leyton, there was an Iceland’s buffet and I made my infamous “mixtape” CD’s. The party went really well and I think Erin felt welcomed if not a little overwhelmed!

Erin and I

On the Sunday there were 10 of us at my Aunts house and we took our time getting up and ready, with a breakfast of sausage rolls, sandwiches and chicken nuggets – you guessed it – leftovers!!

Erin, our cousin Lee and I decided to do the tourist thing and explore London’s most famous sights, first stop St. Pauls Cathedral, all three of us were in awe of such a splendid place but Erin was horrified to find out that neither Lee nor I, both London born and bred, had ever been there before – the shame!

From there we visited Fleet Street, The High Courts, Australia house, Convent Garden; where the Bafta’s were being held that day, Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square, the Olympic Countdown Clock, up to the House of Commons and Big Ben and lastly a trip on the London Eye. On such a grey winters day London looked very old, mysterious and almost as though we’d gone back in time.


And do you know what? No matter how many times I go on the Eye, walk through Convent Garden watching street performers and take a million and one photos of Big Ben; I never get sick of London. I love it! I love that I was born there and even though I only lived there for 6 years, if I say I’m from Essex in front of my cousins I get told off!


My day was marred by public transport’s lack of consideration for those less able like myself. I was travelling back to Southend on my own. We had to try two different stations to let me get on their trains, then the second of those didn’t know where their ramp was and there was nowhere to buy a bloody ticket so I fretted all the way home that A. There would be no ramp to get off and B. I would be fined for the lack of tickets. I made it home after a tearful phone call to my Mum and Dad. Sad when something so simple like taking a direct train home leaves you feeling that vulnerable!

Still, despite the ending I had a brilliant weekend and cannot wait for the next gathering in May when the first of my cousins is getting married!

L x

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