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Not really a *long* day, just tiring....

Been doin' the relative-visiting-thing... it's only 40 miles each way, but 40 miles with my dad driving is *not* nice. He drives *way* too close to the vehicle in front... 30ft at 40mph is *not* my idea of a thinking+stopping distance... and when he does that at 70mph and more.... <shudder> I'm getting to the point where I'm gonna stop getting in a car with him at the wheel. It's simply not worth being *so* on edge the entire time. I hate it. And guess who moans like *hell* if someone drives that close to him...? yep, you guessed it... It's "why don't you just get in the car with us?" and "do you wanna just hook on the towing hitch and I'll pull you along?" and other snide remarks, when 7 out of 10 times, he's just as close to the one in front of him as the one behind is to him... and one of the other times, he'll be closer....

And it's not my imagination.... my mum can't stand my dad driving either. It scares her.

And me.

He's gonna have a bad accident one day if he keeps it up.


OK, so, today... saw my gran, which is always odd... she's nice enough, but she's not how she used to be... and I don't mean that in the time-changing-perception sense, I mean it in the she's-not-the-same-person-anymore sense. She has a "gentleman friend" and ever since they met, her personality has been shifting... the biggest chagne was when he moved in with her, which must be over 10 years ago now.... suddenyl all these little niknak-things appeared... miniature bottles of spirits, poitnless ornaments collected for the hell of it... up until then, she'd always sworn that she hated niknaks and that she'd rather die than have them in her house. The odd thing, usually in a glass cabinet out of harm-and-dust's way, but nothing like this. And she *always* used to make sure that you were swimming in cups of tea and that you got fed and few fairly well.... maybe not a four course banquet of gourmet cuisine, fine wine and strong coffee, but a solid meal of decent food. These days, you have to be lucky to get any food, and if you do it's not enough to leave you feeling satisfied...

I'm not complaining about this how you might think... I don't object to him in so far as he makes her happy and so I do expect to have to give her up a fair bit, but the cousins that I really see regularly and I feel like we've lost her completely, because she really has changed that much.

The house she lives in is the same bricks-and-mortar as we have pictures of me playing in the snow when i was about 3 (there are scans of them on my website even)... its the same building, but the atmosphere inside is entirely different.

The guy can be rude to an extreme degree. He'll walk into a room where everyone is having a conversation, plop himself down on the sofa and turn the TV on, then turn it up so that the conversation gets drowned in it. And yet if you try and stay in the back room, which is generally where the adults always used to stay when we were kids, so that they could chat without us being in their hair and we could play without being able to easily get into the kitchen... basically, the room where the family had *always* spent a lot of time, even when my mum was young and living there, you get moaned at and moaned at until you eventually have to go into the front room, where he's vegging watching soap or quiz-shows or the crappy football coverage you get on Sky Sports 1, where you don't see any football, just see these pundits giving you their take on the games.... and he'll turn the TV up to drown out the conversation that you've been having for an hour....

G-yack.... it *galls* me... the very impoliteness, and the way it's rubbed off on, goes unnoticed by and is even backed up by my gran. Because for 15 years or so of my life, that wasn't her. When she lived on her own, I assume that she would be herself, and if that is correct, then the person we go see now isn't my gran.

Her house was always the one place you needed to go to see everyone in my mum's side of the family, because in the course of say, two days, all my auntys and cousins would pass through. There was only us, because we live a distance away, that didn't drop in atleast twice a week.

My gran complains that people don't go and see her, that she doesn't see any of us like she used to.

Now, things do change.

I was in bristol, and was never a *regular* visitor... although latterly, when I first had my license, I used to get over as much as I could, and I've stopped that mecause it was expensive and exhausting and if I didn't visit specific people, I got moaned about for months.....

One of my cousins now lives in london, her sister is at Uni in Nottingham.

Another cousin is working and apparently moving in with her boyfriend or has one.

Her sister has Downs Syndrome, so she's not likely to move away from home, but she goes to my gran's on a thursday in school terms.

And my youngest cousin is in VIth form, but I think she's a semi-regular visitor... atleast her mum drops in atleast once a week. Now that used to be every day without fail after work for a cuppa, a ciggie or two and a natter... but she's got other stuff to get on with and that cousin is quite active with stuff at night, so it's not doable.

And people don't *want* to make the effort, because the welcome that is extended is, at best, tepid. The house is never really *warm*, because they don't want to spend the money on the gas. They don't really eat enough because they want to save that money. They buy all these niknaks and they go away on short-break-coach-trip-things... and they probably go on 10 of those in a year... so she's not always the easiest of people to get to see....

And she insists on the guy being involved in everything.

If you write to her and don't include him in the addressing, then it filters back, indirectly through an aunty, that "gran doesn't like you not including T**** in the letter... she would like you to address letters to Gran and T**** in future".... Now, if I want to write to my gran, I will write to my *gran*, just like if I want to right to my aunty, I'll write to my aunry, and if i want to write to the manager of my bank, I'll write to the manager of my bank, and not all of his assistant managers and counter staff as well.... but apparently she feels that that is wrong or something... I don't get this to be honest. I might not *want* T**** to know about this stuff. If it's private to me and I am simply letting her know something, then I will address my letter to who I want to know it. My addressing of a letter is a way to dictate how confidential I want its contents to remain. I might not want it in general discussion with T**** and my auntys.

There are *so* many *little* things... they same *SO* petty in isolation. But when you tie them all together, you have this whacking great disjointedness between the family-face of gran 15 years ago and the family-face she has today....

<sigh> It makes me sad. I used to *love* going to my grans, and now I don't think I manage to get there more than twice a year.... I went at christmas and now... and I might go over again at christmas this year, but that depends on where I'm living and what I'm doing.

The same applies, possibly more so, for two of my aunts. The aunt who's daughter has Downs I haven't seen for a few years.... it *might* even be so far back as my 21st, which would make it 5 years. And the aunt with the Vith form cousin it's atleast 2 years I believe.

The other two I see on as regular basis as I can... I saw one of them today, she coloured my hair (it's *BLACK* again... and I mean ***DAMN*** black... :-D), and I saw her again about a month ago and the other one I saw a month back cos we had lunch, and I spoke to her today (although that was kindof a fluke as she foned grans when we were there), but we keep in loose-touch by email anyway....

I'm starting to realise how little me 'going-girl' is going to be an issue from an extended family point-of-view... There's only my gran, those two auntys and another aunty on my dads side that I'm really in touch with. And three cousins. And my grandad's widow (not technically my grandma, cos she was his second wife, isn't my dad's mum and I have pictures of me as a baby and early toddler with her, plus they married when I was 8 or something, old enough to have not had a grandma with my grandad for it to be normal to me).

This probably sounds a little harsh, but I don't know how much longer she'll be around. She's not very well, she exhausted herself trying to cope with grandad as he deteriorated and she really waited too long before allowing him to go into a home... she ran herself ragged caring for him. And after he died, she tried to stay busy, which is a good thing, but she went over-the-top I think... she never really recovered from the raggedness... she's getting stronger and better, but she has a carer in three or four times a day and she can't go out on her own, although she does potter around the house quite well apparently... but she over-estimates her capabilities... and that's worrying and even dangerous. We expect her own children will want to place her in a home as winter draws on. To be honest, I'd love for her to be well enough and able to cope enough to *not* go into a home, to be able to stay in the house if that's what she wants. Because I like her. I don't like the idea of her moving out of her and grandad's home if she honestly wants to be there. Just as I also understand that it might be somewhere she doesn't want to be. But it all depends on how she recovers over the coming summer.

Why did I end up on this moany/ranty/thingy? Probably cos this stuff has been floating around my head for a *long* time... *years* some of it... and it only really touchs down and gets actively *thought* about when I see some of them.... that's why, I guess...

<yawns *big*>

Hmm, I think I might be tireder than I was earlier. I'm gonna poke a few bits of software into life, cos I have some stuff to do quickly, then go to sleep.

Night all