After a night in Harrow and a light cleaning and ironing of my suit it was time to drive up to Liverpool with mum and stepdad for my cousin’s wedding.
The service, while continually upbeat and perfectly enjoyable, was a slightly uncomfortable experience for unbelievers like me and my sister who find the Catholic mass anachronistic and embarrassing but still know all the responses. God was mentioned a lot more than is usual. At the close my second cousin, who happens to be a bishop, presented them with an actual signed blessing from the actual pope.
Afterwards we posed for photos on the grass and the generally very nice extended family mingled. I fielded the expected questions about China, though the answers I have are anything but comprehensive and I was feeling rough from not enough sleep. My crazy great aunt Josie, who used to tell me there was a murderer hiding in the loft, said that I was out there so that “nobody would know what I was up to.”
After the reception I went back to my sister’s house in Chester and stayed there for a couple of days, watching videos and hanging out in her boyfriend’s Japanese-stuff shop. Walked around Chester too; quite a pretty town in the drizzle, but from what the sis says not too much fun to live in.
Then I took a train down to Hereford to see my dad, and another three trains the next day to find Matt in Yeovil.
The last time I saw Matt was back in 2004, at Mad Mart’s wedding. It’s just plain bizarre that three years have gone by since then, though a lot has changed. I can’t speak for myself, but he seems a lot more grounded. We watched Klaxons winning the Mercury Music prize, then went down to Saisburys with the other guys in his block and bought some drinks.
The next day, after some reminiscences and some computer golf, I left to go back to London. I fell on my face getting out of the friendly local taxi but no physical harm was done. A few hours later I was back in my mum’s house, packing up my possessions, preparing to leave for another year.
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