Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A (rather unusual) day in the life...

What a strange and surreal weekend! I have another reason to add to my list of how I could get on The Jerry Springer Show. It is true that I have at no time been a man, nor do I have any children that I require a DNA test for (oh, that's Jeremy Kyle isn't it?) and I have never been in love with a donkey, however family- and relationship-wise there are a good few leads.

On Saturday it was down to Huddersfield for a 'family' wedding reception. This is something of a long story, however I shall try to summarise as best I can. I am not really Divinyl. No, I am not an imposter who has been trying to pull the wool for all these years, and I have not taken the surname I have just because it is uber cool and trendy. You see, my dad was adopted as a baby. And this is where the story starts.

Pick said story up 60 years later and my dad decides to try to find his birth mother. Which he does. However, before he gets the chance to meet her she is taken into hospital, unfortunately never to leave there alive again. So, the only time my dad has actually seen his mother is once she, unfortunately, could not see him…I'm thinking this has probably all been a lot more surreal for him than it has for me!

Anyway, as his mother was dying in hospital, her children were opening any post she received. Which included a letter from my dad. These people had never known about him (and they are 52, 50 and 46...or something like that), but got in touch with him via e-mail, and they have since met up. Which is why we were invited to the wedding reception of the son of one of my dad's new brothers…all very convoluted eh?

I can only imagine the surprise these folk felt when they found out they had a (half) sibling they had never heard about. Well, I can imagine pretty well, because, at 26, I found out that my dad had a son before me, who was adopted at birth and will now be about 40 (is there a pattern developing here?). I found it very strange that he had never mentioned this to me, so it must be even more bizarre to find this out when you are double my age!

Hang on, just got to take a 'phone call…"No thank you, Mr Springer, I do not wish to appear on your show 'Lesbian Love Triangles Exposed'". Oh, sorry…that's a different story entirely!

Ok, back to the story in question…

So I travelled down to Huddersfield from Gateshead, whilst my family (my actual family of dad, step-mum and my two brothers) travelled up from Surrey. I arrived at the hotel where the wedding reception was taking place a few hours before my parents, and checked into my room…which was grimy and had the strangest bath I have ever seen…a pink circular number with a step to sit on in it…trying to shave my legs really got me in quite a tangle. When my parents and brothers arrived, their rooms were in a different, and refurbished, part of the hotel, and were actually quite nice. So I was Cinderella in my mucky hovel of a room!

Anyhoo, everything from there was without incident until, after I had finished my make-up and so on, I put on the dress that I had bought and one of the straps came away. Now this dress was the most expensive I have ever purchased…and I was also planning on wearing it to my pal's wedding this coming August (which is going to cost me a bomb…travelling down to Hampshire for the hen 'do' of horse riding and then back again two weeks later for the wedding itself…and I'll also have to sort out a B&B/hotel room for the night). It came from Monsoon, cost me £85.00 (ouch!) and fit beautifully. It was (for I have now taken it back in disgust) a lovely turquoise/teal colour, just past knee length, empire line, with a few large white and black poppy-ish flowers on it. It really was nice, honestly. My youngest brother was dispatched to the hotel reception to try to find a sewing kit, so we could botch it enough for me to wear (I can't sew, so that would have to have been in the hands of my step-mum I think). Alas, no such sewing kit was available…so I had to take all my make-up off (which I'd done to match the outfit) and start again (after, mid-crisis, walking past the bride in the hotel corridor, and feeling very embarrassed, because I was obviously dressed to go to her party yet had never even seen her before!). Fortunately I had also taken a pair of black trousers and a top with me…however I was the only woman there in trousers, when I had a beautiful dress sitting unworn in my room. Could've been worse…

So, crisis over, I headed down to meet the 'family'. There seemed to be hundreds of them! Names upon names of people I had never met, but who claimed to be related to me! One actually introduced herself as "Auntie Linda". I did a lot of polite smiling, nodding, hand-shaking, cheek-kissing, that kind of thing, but must admit I felt a little befuddled by the whole affair. And I now have 'family' in both Sydney and Calgary, which has got to be a good thing…Bondi Beach here I come (or maybe I should obtain a gym membership first? Nah, sod that!). Incidentally (here we go again), and almost completely irrelevantly, did you know that the Sydney Harbour Bridge was manufactured in Middlesbrough? Some great things have come out of that place…even if I do say so myself ;o)

Surreal as it was, everyone did seem very nice and welcoming…I just drank lots to help cope with the stress of it all! This is possibly the first time my parents have seen me pissed…although I was still of good behaviour! I did a lot of bonding with my 13 year old brother, who was telling me how he likes to drink blue WKD and has been snogging girls…a different world entirely to my 16 year old brother, who still loves Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons and doesn't want alcohol even when offered it!

All in all, a surprisingly pleasant evening and jolly nice people. My dad's fully hopped on board this 'whole new family' thing. I, myself, feel a little more reserved about the whole business…yes, these are nice people, but there's a but. Like I said, however, they couldn't have been more welcoming.

Dad and I are in agreement, on the other hand, with regards our own mini Patti Smith appreciation society. He had bought me her latest album 'Twelve' (as well as Joan As Police Woman's 'Real Life'…which will now replace my slightly less than legal downloads…and a cd by a woman called Keren Ann, who I've never even heard of…it's a little embarrassing when you're 60 year old dad's more 'down with the kids' than you are! He had also asked for me to burn my Gossip cds for him. Music has always been the common ground that it is easiest to talk about…but we are getting better when it comes to more serious stuff…like when he was up visiting, I said to him that I felt he should tell my younger brothers about the son he had that was adopted, as I didn't think it was fair that they didn't know or that I should have to keep it as a secret from them. I digress again…). This somewhat devalued the Fathers' Day gifts that I had got him, but it was all very much in keeping with the theme…Ms Smith's 'Easter' and a book of her poetry (my dad didn't realise that she had so many strings to her bow).

Whilst we're on a musical bent, I am currently rather addicted to Luscious Jackson's album 'Electric Honey' (I am also addicted to ice cream…of any flavour bar chocolate really…but that is beside the point)…an album I have had for what is probably more than a decade, but has much more recently found its way onto my 'essential listening' list. I have also decided that Carole King's 'Tapestry' is probably my favourite album…despite generally complaining when being asked to name just one. I love those songs…and I really love singing along to them in my car! :o) Music-ness-wise, the last thing I have to say for now is, in true Divinyl fashion, a result of reading The Observer yesterday (well, I've nearly finished Music Monthly...as usual, the rest of the paper remains to be read in stages over the coming week!). Sinead O'Connor, apparently, in 2005, converted to Rastafarianism. That woman is truly odd…she has been a kissogram, a priest, a lesbian…what other joys are yet to come??

On the subject of reading…I have just finished 'The Book of Lost Things' by John Connolly. Well, the story itself finished after 348 pages of a 502 page tome, so I'm not sure what's left to read. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the story of David, a 12 year old boy in wartime England, whose mother dies. David than starts to go a little bit loopy, hearing books (which were always a jolly important part of he and his mother's life) whispering to him, and to each other. When an aeroplane crashes into his garden, David ends up in a fantasy/fairy tale world of wolves, beasts, dwarves, trolls and suchlike, where he must travel to reach the king in order to find his way back home. All the while being pursued by the Crooked Man. Twas a rollicking good yarn and I would thoroughly recommend it…particularly if you enjoyed such books as 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time' or 'The Boy in Striped Pyjamas' (pyjamas is such a great word!).

Heather would like it to be pointed out that, although pyjamas is indeed a good word, she personally doesn't believe it to be as good as 'cagoule'.

For today I shall leave you with a Big Brother classic…

Chanelle, the twins (still entirely indistinguishable in any way from each other) and one of the new housemates, Brian, were discussing long words…basically naming any words of more than one syllable that they had in their limited vocabularies:

Chanelle: What about juxtaposition?
Brian: Is that a sexual position?

Seriously, what woodwork do these people come out from when Big Brother comes around?

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