I took a last-minute decision this morning to jump in the car and drive to Thaxted where I was reliably informed my brother and brother-in-law were spending the day.
I'm glad I did. It was a much-needed tonic after another sleepless stress-filled night. We spent a great deal of time looking into our familial history online. Edward has managed to track one branch of my mother's side back to 17th Century America! It's not often it goes that way round! How many times have you heard an American tracking their family back to 17th Britain!?
It turns out that there's a heck of a lot of Welsh blood on my Mum's side as well as my Dad's, so, as I've always suspected, if you cut me in half, I'd bleed red, white and green!
We took ourselves to a wine bar called Recorders for lunch. I'm rather surprised we've not been there before. It has a good ambience (lots of exposed beams), friendly staff, a wonderful menu - tonnes of veggie food - and omelettes which are light and fluffy like soufflés. Better still, they were playing ABBA on the stereo... And not just the big hits. We heard all sorts of obscure tracks: He Is Your Brother, Hasta Mañana, The Day Before You Came, Head Over Heals, Eagle...
Each of the songs seemed to trigger a childhood memory. Playing records in my bedroom as kids, dancing to Honey Honey in the sitting room... The lyrics seemed to have extra poignance today for some reason as well. It's funny, you can travel the globe and have the most extraordinary life, but your siblings are the only people who share the memories of formative experiences. That seemed very apparent today.
I left Thaxted after Strictly It Takes Two and zipped back through gales to London. I haven't driven out of Thaxted on a still night recently, which means the conditions haven't been right to witness the crazy hovering band of ghostly smoke you sometimes find on a hair-pin bend on the edge of the town. We saw it a month or so ago, and I'd love to see it again so that I can get out of the car and explore it properly.
We came home and edited our film for the Eurovision entry, discovering to our chagrin that even though the deadline is Friday it can take up to 72 hours to be sent the details of how to submit a song once you've registered interest. I sincerely hope this doesn't scupper us in any way. Life can be awfully complicated sometimes can't it?