Rob’s surprise on Saturday was not the only plot being hatched.
Mum’s dear friend of 64 years, Aunty May, and her husband Uncle Tommy; were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary the weekend just before Rob’s 60th birthday and had come down from their home in South Shields, near Newcastle; to stay with their daughter Diane, in Bidford on Avon, just half an hour from Alvechurch, where her other daughter Trudy and her partner Richard would join them for their special celebrations. They all knew that I was coming, but Aunty May and Uncle Tommy didn’t know that their son, Paul, was flying in from Mexico to surprise them. I had to be careful not to mention that to Aunty May, while they were being careful not to mention my coming to Rob!
Knowing that I was coming over, Aunty May and Uncle Tommy delayed their return home long enough to see me, and we planned that Rob and I would visit Diane’s on Sunday the 7th of April. Rob had visited them the previous weekend when their son Paul was there; a wonderful opportunity to connect, as they are also friends of 57 years standing, in this family of double generation friendships.
So on Sunday morning, all secrets out at last, Rob and I drove through the spring countryside, through sleepy villages, and past stately homes, to visit our friends--our Family of the Heart.
Since last year when we met up with them in Warwick, Diane had moved into a new house. I had a tour and pronounced it just beautiful. We had taken the old family photos that I had sent to Rob, to show them, and we passed them around, telling stories and sharing memories.
Then we toasted Aunty May and Uncle Tommy with champagne, and had a delicious lunch of salads, fruit, rolls, ham and hard boiled eggs in the conservatory, followed by a piece of the beautifully decorated dark fruit anniversary cake.