Sorry it is taking me a while to get these out! So where did I leave y'all, oh that's right, St Pancras Station. And what a station it is, whoo! It is HUGE, but light and airy and industrial and gorgeous all at the same time.
As I mentioned previously, while we stood at the boards waiting for a platform number to attach itself to the train we were after Jo's uncle Tim, who had ingeniously planned his own rail trip from Cornwall to coincide at this point, strolled over to us and introduced himself. Jo hadn't seen him since she was 14 but apparently it was my hair that tipped him off!
After a half hour train trip chatting to Tim we arrived at Bedford where I finally got to meet Aunty Ruth! I have heard so much about her and her family and we'd been talking online so I already felt like we knew each other, but it was even better to finally meet. Ruth was strikingly like Jeannie, but more overtly impish and cheeky!
Ruthie drove us to 'Heron House', where we would be spending the next four nights, which felt like a mini eternity given the hopping around we'd done so far. The addition of the Aussie stragglers meant they had a full house, since we were in addition to Uncle Keith, Keith's mum (our adopted Grandma for the visit), the cousins Phil, Tim, and Bridget, and of course Ruth and Uncle Tim (many Tims). That was the biggest collection of in-law-family I had met to date and it felt wonderful to be surrounded by people. And our thanks to all of the family for making us feel like we fit right in! Especially poor cousin Tim who gave us his room (known as the west wing) for us for the duration of the trip.
I won't go through every little detail of our stay because it would become my most epic post yet. Let me just recap some highlights. That first night we had baked salmon and scalloped potatoes and quiche for the non-fishies and afterwards there was a cheeseboard! The board was laden with a local organic brie, a wonderfully sharp cheddar and a creamy, crumbly stilton that was just divine. The entire family teased me outrageously about my passion for said cheese!
The next day we went to London, but that trip deserves its own post. Christmas eve we slept until nearly lunchtime, recovering from a big day in London, our filthy colds and just traveling in general. I took a drive with Keith, Grandma and Bridge into a nearby village for supplies...well they went for supplies, I went for photos! The villages are gorgeous and while I should have been expecting them based on television exposure, it isn't quite the same as wandering one in real life. I loved the thatched roofs and the animals on top, also made out of thatch.
We also went for some good, get the blood flowing and let Jac take lots more photos kind of walks around Pavenham, including one where Jo, Bridge and I got gum-booted up (wellingtoned?) and hiked on out through the paddocks by the river (I want to call it the Greater Ooze but I know I didn't spell that right, and it definitely wasn't oozing!)
Jo and I looking like farmers!
The church at Pavenham
Other than walking we spent time just hanging out with the family, playing board games, watching the boys play football (and remembering not to call it soccer) and cooking/eating yummy food. Christmas eve we had a wonderful feast of gammon, which Ruthie had cooked in cider and all kinds of other yummy stuff then coated in mustard and spices and baked...oh wow was it ever good and so juicy! Then there was Christmas dinner...slow cooked turkey, three kinds of stuffing including a very old recipe for onion stuffing and a stunning sausage stuffing that I couldn't get enough of, roasted potato, sweet potato and parsnip, sprouts, pigs in blankets and Yorkshire puds!
Gammon dinner (sorry about the pic) including potato bake and delicious salad