A quick(ish!) train journey later and I was back in my home country and collecting on some long promised hugs. I stayed with my in-laws round the corner from my brother and his wife, it’s so nice of them to live conveniently close to each other. I arrived late so it was a cup of tea and to bed. The next day started with a trip to the dentist where my worst fears were confirmed I needed not one, not two, but three fillings. Nothing could be done but I knew that on my return to Wellington I'd have to take the hit and visit the dentist there. After the dentist I'd arranged to see my parents and Josh's mum had arranged to see her sisters. Of course they wanted to hear my news so the 6 of us ended up having some tea and lunch together. My poor dad, I don’t think he quite knew what to do amongst wall those women but he made a good effort and survived it. Of course the poor bloke got rewarded by being taken to the shops as I mentioned to my mum I'd seen a few things and she kindly offered treat me to them. Considering my aforementioned money worries you can imagine how delighted I was, though the old guilt of accepting things at my 'advanced' age is still there I'm getting better at overcoming it in the face now shiny new things.
Post shopping we drove to a wee tea room my mum , likes which does tasty treats as well as a decent hot chocolate. My brother wife was off work and I suggested that we all go for a drink but my parents thought we might like to catch up without them. It's a shame that my brother and his wife were having their new kitchen put it at that point as I am sure a cup of tea would've tempted them however it was decided we would go our separate ways and meet for dinner instead. And so I found myself in a rare moment of solitude in my in-laws kitchen. I took the opportunity to make myself a cup of tea and went outside to discuss the recent events of my life with Josh. Well at his garden at any rate. I know it's just a garden but when I'm there I feel at peace. I feel at peace in other places too these days but it's different there. I can't explain it I just feel closer to him. I talk to him in a way I don't elsewhere these days. I touch the petals of the flowers and I know they grow from him, they are part of him and I feel comfort. Anyway it was nice to touch base and be grounded by 'him'.
Soon enough his mum returned and not long after that I went round to see the person I now think of as sister-in-law-the-elder even though she is younger than me, but she is older that Josh's sister who has the dubious position in my thoughts as sister-in-law-the-younger, sorry to you both if you're offended. Anyway sister-in-law-the-elder showed me the boxes that would soon be her new kitchen then we decamped to the pub and eventually the restaurant where we were soon joined by my parents and brother. I love my life but it was nice to have dinner with my family and to talk together about our lives and to actually be able to see them and to touch them, I only wished it could have lasted longer but once dinner was over it was time to go our separate ways. Though I had been on UK time since I arrived I must admit the jet lag did mean I was enjoying earlier than usual bedtimes. The next day Josh's mum and I went shopping for some wedding cake decorations as bride-to-be's mum had made a cake which was to be decorated on my return. MIL knew of a specialist shop which offered so many choices that we left with enough decorate three cakes. My reasoning was sound though, I had been told to pick something nice so I did and I had lots of fun doing it.
We found time for a quick hot chocolate break before heading home where we had a catch up with some relatives that dropped by before it was time to head to sister-in-law-the-younger’s new house. It was lovely to see her and her partner so settled. The first time I saw them together I thought they seemed like a natural couple and my first visit to their home only strengthened this as it seemed like they had always been there rather than only a few months. We enjoyed an informal dinner and catch up but again too soon it was time to leave. This time I was going back to the train station where my friend had booked me a berth on the sleeper train. Not such an early night but I was fortunate enough to get a cabin to myself and enjoyed a very peaceful sleep which started in Glasgow where I fell asleep before we left the station and ended when I woke up in London. And so ended my very quick visit to the North.