Clockwork pheasants

We got back from Christmas last night. It was a good time for us, with a lot of M’s relatives and more tuneful crackers (getting in order this time, and performing for M’s grandma).

We played monopoly with M’s family, which was very different from when we played the day dad had his heart attack. You can play the game so many ways. I couldn’t fight hard enough, so I let M buy me out early on.

I also found out that dad is suffering from a heavy cold. On Christmas day, after preaching twice at the weekend he wasn’t up to playing a game with the family (which is normal), and had missed lots of sleep. So my brother and his wife, mum and dad watched the video of dad’s 50th birthday, a surprise party we held for him 10 years ago. As well as my brother playing Vivaldi on the guitar and my teddy bear rap, there is a portion on Grandad doing a speech.

That afternoon, up with M’s family, I was particularly stressed and upset (twitchy, confused, anxious) and worried about dad. I knew that Grandad’s ashes were within half an hour’s drive of where we were staying, but couldn’t phone dad about it to ask where. I’m glad now that I didn’t. By the morning I felt better and phoned to ask directions.

We found the spot on Boxing Day, and it was interesting but void of emotion. In fact, it felt familiar and understated and there were pheasants, lots of beech nuts and a stream. The fells were misty, the stone bridges were narrow and the grass was very green. My dad’s dad and my dad’s mum both have ashes scattered around there. I was happy to see it but didn’t want to stay long.

When I called dad this morning he asked if we had found it. He didn’t sound disappointed that we had been. I would not have liked to hurt him by going, but a quarter and a quarter of my heritage are there and I wanted to know.

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