Family parties can be potential dynamite but not the one we attended in Maiden Newton recently. The closest we got to dynamite was the splendid tree candle which Andrew had carefully fashioned as a finale for the party that was held to honour the centenary of Nick’s father’s birthday.
He got the idea from Walter when we were up at Inshriach at Easter. You get a suitable length of tree trunk and split the upper part criss-cross (with a chainsaw ideally) sufficient to stuff a firelighter within. Then you set light to it. Fascinating to watch the progress and pattern of burning.
Maddy’s party, carefully planned, was hugely enjoyed. Some family members endured long journeys in order to converge for the celebration. This was a party for Dick Light’s descendants and their partners. Maddy is the family’s genealogist and archivist and had collated as much as we all could extract from our mementoes and photograph albums. Young and not-so-young took turns at the computer screen whilst Powerpoint scrolled its way through the text and photos that tell Dick’s story. Subsequent Facebook albums will add to that archive.
A Light party would not be complete without some turns of Croquet and a session of ‘Scottish dancing’. Henry had organised an ingenious ‘cache’ hunt in which the children delighted. By the kind offices of Nel and Elisabeth the solitary egg produced by the hens that Saturday was recycled many times to give the children the endless pleasure of retrieving eggs from the straw in the henhouse.
I couldn’t help reflecting that it does not seem a married lifetime ago that I first participated in a Light/Edwards clan gathering. Then, aged 17 or so, I was only 7 years older than my eldest grandson. I thought they were a pretty fun lot and just a bit outré. My flame-haired mother-in-law was awesome and I was always a bit frightened of her. But I was not alone and at her funeral one of her sons remarked that she had been an amazing mother but perhaps less gifted as an ‘in-law’.
Dick by contrast I remember as a quieter, peaceable character who was robbed of most of the years he hoped to have in retirement. But his genetic inheritance was spread about the 40 or so of us who relaxed in the sunshine on his special remembrance day.