"You burnt the sausages" said my 10 year old.....cousin once removed?, or second cousin twice brought back? I pointed out that providing food at a gathering was never any good unless you also provided entertainment, and watching the drip tray burst into flames and thick acrid plumes of black smoke clouding the suburb to my mind provided said entertainment making up for my second rate and somewhat rusty guitar skills. "Where did you put my shoes", she asked. "On the roof of the shed". She went out to the back garden, confirmed my statement and then stole my cap.
Her younger brother had brought a cricket set, so the backyard series was on. All the blokes and a fair few of the girls joined in as we donated tennis balls to as many neighbours as we could reach. I am somewhat chastened to admit that I bat like a girl. Actually that's not really fair as a couple of the girls, Mrs A. included managed to visit tennis balls to more neighbours than the rest of the blokes put together. I managed to drop three out of four catches, and was immediately offered a place on the South African Cricket team. The only one I did catch was left handed whilst drinking a beer at the same time. Mrs A. was not amused that I had got her out.
I sat with Flashman watching "The Bed and Breakfast man" and "Johnny the Horse" by Madness on DVD, and was a little surprised when other members of my family, with understanding dawning on their faces, admitted that they assumed that JtH had something to do with me making a statement about my sexual prowess. Not the sort of thing one generally hears from ones Aunt, and I'm glad it's been cleared up.
Most of the generation around my age had to head off to relieve babysitters at a reasonably early time, but the oldies, uncles, parents and cousins stayed till the death sitting on the deck singing Beatles tunes to the accompaniment of my Uncle and my guitar until I expected the police to turn up. Either the neighbours like the Beatles or the cops don't, and as the last people staggered down the stairs in the early hours of Sunday morning Mrs A, my hangover and I stumbled off to bed leaving the cats to do the washing up.