Saturday, 26 December 2015


We've been in a village in East Sussex called Ditchling all day. We drove down from Thaxted first thing via London where we dropped Tina back home.

Ditchling is a charming little place in the Sussex Downs where there's still a troupe of mummers and scores of ancient pubs and chocolate-box-pretty buildings. It's where my cousin Matt lives, in a beautiful, Art Deco-style house on the edge of the village, surrounded by fields and orchards.

There were twenty seven of us there today and we all sat down to eat at two very long tables. I never think of myself as having a particularly large family, especially not by Nathan's standards (who has over forty first cousins), but I guess we're just small and contained enough for everyone to be able to get together on occasions like these.

As I get older, my family means more and more to me and seeing them regularly feels important. It's been a troublesome year for some of my cousins, so today felt like a genuine show of solidarity. As Matt said in an impromptu speech, "we'll get through this... We will..."

We had a big quiz. My team came last, largely on account of opting to answer almost impossible questions on the Borough of Islington and not knowing any of the answers! How many properties on the Monopoly Board, for example, are in the N1 postcode?

Answer, 2. The Angel and Pentonville Road.

How many train and tube stations are there in the Borough of Islington?

14, apparently...

Our next round was on International Rugby and the one after that was on Disney princesses, so we never stood a hope in hell!

We went for a little walk around a neighbouring field and met a horrible farmer who asked if we were lost. When we said we weren't, he said "so you're not lost? Even though you're not on the footpath, you're not lost? I shan't shoot you, though... It's a Saturday." Twat.

I was walking one of my cousin's dogs, who was the most wilful creatures I've ever met. She literally pulled me along with all her might until we got to a stile, where she froze rigid, and refused to move until I'd picked her up and carried her over.

It's my mother's birthday tomorrow, so we're staying in a Premier Inn in a place called Crawley so that we can take my Mum out in the area tomorrow morning for a birthday walk. It's only 10pm, and we're already in bed!

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