COLUMN: The Ely Grumpster’s weekly ramblings

The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster - Credit: Archant

• Those Standard readers who accidentally chance upon my witterings may remember that a few weeks past, I spoke of a planned trip over the border to meet up with some recently discovered Caledonian cousins. On the Thursday before Easter, Doris filled the fridge with food for the ravenous six foot two, hollow-legged beast, masquerading as my son and we set off for Ely train station - destination Glasgow.

• There was the added bonus of the prospect of catching up with other Welsh relatives, at that point making their way very slowly up the M1 (as a consequence of some walnut-brain’s caravan becoming detached from his car).

• The trip took us up the east coast to Edinburgh, via Newcastle, then west to Glasgow, where my new cousin Eddie was waiting. Awkward handshake ensued (Glasgow men don’t do man hugs). We headed south to his home village of Dunlop. I tried out my legendary English humour. “It’s rubbery to see you. I hope you don’t tyre of us”. He looked me up and down in a manner that would normally precede a head-butt. “What you arn aboot, yer soft barnpot?” Ok, not a great start. Hopefully I could redeem myself with his wife. She was a dream, uttering the heart-warming words “Yer wanna wee swallie?” “Oh yes” I gushed, no second invitation necessary. An hour and 2 prosecco bottles later, the Welsh contingent arrived and the celebrations continued until 3am.

• We chatted endlessly about the family and the 1932 split, when our grandmother died of TB and her unplanned daughter (my Dad’s sister) was adopted. She spent 20 years in Sussex, only 30 miles from my Dad, but blissfully unaware of his existence, or that of her other two brothers.

• On Good Friday, we met up with Eddie’s siblings and embarked on a challenging hill walk, battling against a vicious north wind and culminating in a 50 metre scramble up a one in two slope. “Man, that is a big old hill” I panted. “Och, awae wi ye, yer neap-heed numptie” Eddie retorted, “I’ve a bigger boil on me backside. Stop yer whining”.

• We spent 2 more brilliant days, chatting , eating, drinking and walking before heading home on Easter Monday. It won’t be long before the next visit. They are visiting family tomorrow in Leytonstone. I am invited. My daughters live in Leyton, so accommodation sorted. Let round 2 commence!