For those who don’t know, I have a brother.  That’s not entirely accurate, I actually have two brothers, but for the purpose of this paragraph I want to stress one in particular.  And for those who still don’t know, he’ll soon be adding to the Dawkins family tree.  If you’re reading this and you’re confused, allow me to get specific: my brother Christopher is engaged.  Yes, yes, I could have just said that, but then I wouldn’t feel clever.

On Saturday we drove up to Bristol to see lots of people – Christopher’s fiancee’s parents were playing host to my parents for the day, with a view to providing an opportunity for Christopher and Sarah to show their respective parents around the wedding venues.  And it was a good excuse to all meet up and eat food.  There was no particular wedding-related reason for our presence, I think Sarah just wanted to see Samuel.

So, up to Bristol we drove.  And, to add to my excitement, I got to drive underneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which I have never had cause to do before (I’ve been over it a few times, but never under).  Little pleasures.  Samuel slept pretty much all the way, as he tends to do whenever we’re travelling at more than 30mph – he seems to be a human speedometer, letting us know quite noisily if we’re not going fast enough.

It was lovely to meet Sarah’s family.  She’s just like her Mum.  I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that.  Samuel, as was to be expected, was the centre of attention once more.  He was hungry though, initially, after a long hour+ stint without feeding (shock horror), but once he had been satisfied he happily did the rounds and said hello to everyone.  My Mum got a lovely beaming smile, which was so lovely to see – he’s been slowly playing with the idea of smiles in recent days, and that one was very clearly a smile of recognition.  It made me so proud.  Well and truly blog-worthy.

Eating for us took a little more patience, because the roast hadn’t gone in as soon as Sarah’s Mum had wanted, but we passed the time by watching some video footage of Christmas that my Dad had filmed and edited and put on a DVD to show people.  It was nice to see what we missed.  Looks like they had a lot of musical fun at our Exmouth Grandparents’ house, with several duets being played by various people, and even the legendary “Qui Vive” piano trio – that’s six hands, three people on one piano, all at the same time, reading the same piece of music.  I’ve played it before, with my Dad on one side and Grandpa on the other, and this Christmas it was Christopher’s turn in the middle.  It’s a hellish piece to play, with far too many flats and key changes to be at all sensible, and with all of us effectively sight-reading it’s never a polished performance.  Still, they muddled through, but the most entertaining part of the video was watching their faces as they played!

After lunch, where I ate beef for the first time in years and had half a glass of white wine (I don’t think Ellie was too pleased, she was worried it would all go to my head and I was driving home) and we had some absolutely scrumptious desserts, we headed off to the church.  There had been mention of us going by car, but it was a lovely day and we had the pram with us, so we all wrapped up and set off to burn off some calories.  It was nice and hilly, which I enjoyed, and it was a pleasant 20 minute stroll to the church, which is where the wedding is going to take place.  It’s actually a lovely little church, very thoughtfully decorated inside – beautiful without being over the top, reverent without being staid, traditional without being cold.  And then we walked back.  I particularly enjoyed the conversation I had with my Mum on the return journey.

And Samuel was a little darling the whole time.  He hadn’t slept well Thursday night, which has us a little worried; he kept stirring and not going back to sleep, and seemed far too intent on looking at things than going to sleep, which is fine during the day but not so great during the night.  He just didn’t seem comfortable, and kept Ellie awake more than usual.  His nappies had been quite green too, which we’re told is quite normal (ish) but can be a sign that he has an upset stomach.  We were very relieved to find that his dirty nappy in Bristol was a lovely mustard colour, which is a good sign!  It’s surprising how much of a relief a dirty nappy can be in the right context.

After all that walking we got straight back into the car and headed off to see my Grandparents, who also live in Bristol.  The journey took us from one side of Bristol to the other, and because we were driving at rush hour (even on a Saturday) it was pretty busy.  Samuel didn’t take to that well, and complained every time we stopped at a red light, of which there were many.  And also when we were stuck in traffic, which was frequent.  And also when we weren’t flying along at 30mph, which was most of the time.  In short, he cried almost all the way, and only went to sleep a few minutes from Grandma’s house, just in time for us to wake him up again.  Typical.

Grandma was thrilled to see us, as always, but her excitement at seeing her great-grandson overshadowed it all.  We arrived at the door, and almost before we’d had a chance to say hello she’d taken Samuel from us, car seat and all, and whisked him off to the lounge amidst a torrent of cooing and bubbliness.  It was fun to watch!  She eventually calmed down a little and returned to type, providing us all with cups of tea.  And then we sat round the TV and watched my DVD of Samuel, some of which was a duplication of Dad’s footage of Draisey Day, and some of which was just Samuel playing on his playmat.  Only 12 minutes of it, but it was nice to have something to show them.  I think Dad was quite pleased to be offered to keep the DVD too, for his records!

And so, after a long day of seeing people on various sides of family, past present and future, we headed home.  Samuel slept in the car pretty much all the way home, as did Ellie.  By the time we got back, Samuel was still very tired; he’d had a very long day and hardly slept at all, he’d been so interested in what was going on around him, and he was exhausted.  As soon as we got in we got his bath ready and started his bedtime routine.  He cried and complained though, and when we laid him on his back to wash his front he screamed blue murder, which had me scared.  Bathtime was short and not much fun, and we skipped straight onto the bedtime feed, which seemed much more up his street.  And then followed an unusually long night of peaceful sleep.  Seems he was just so tired that a bath wasn’t what he wanted.  So it’s all good after all.  Which is nice.

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