Written late last week.
While Oldest Niece is contentedly home with her baby and toddler, her older brother, Fire Fighting Nephew, is swanning around New York with his partner and her mother. They are in a nice hotel in Manhattan on the western side of Central Park, but will move to Brooklyn and then return to a different hotel in Manhattan. I have no idea why.
Fire Fighting Niece ended her Contiki tour in Amsterdam and spent some time with her friend who lives there and they spent a few days in Rotterdam. Her earlier plans of meeting a friend of her older brother and attending a music festival in England fell through and after she felt she had seen enough of The Netherlands, she decided she would go to the north of England a couple of days early to spend time with R's family. While they had planned for her visit, I am sure they had not planned for her early arrival. R's oldest sister and her husband now only have a one bedroom unit, so she will be couch sleeping for her visit.
R received a Face Book message from her asking for contact details for his sister. R was cross. We made sure she all the contact details she needed before she left home. R asked me, you know on Sunday how Oldest Niece called her sister on her tablet and we all had a chat? Was that Skype or???? I didn't know. Then R said, I think it was using Face Book. Here is her name and there is a çall button' (my keyboard had become a little European. If I put an inverted comma before a c, it makes one of those French pronunciations marks. Not sure if it will show in the post). He touched the call button and lo and behold, her phone was ringing, but no answer. We tried again later and she did answer and of course we could see her on the screen too. I believe it is called Face Time.
She was sitting in a cafe in Rotterdam eating chips. She did have the contact details but wasn't sure how to call England from The Netherlands. She had at least decided how to get to the north of England, by travelling on the overnight ferry. The price seemed a bit expensive to me, over €200 had been quoted but I don't think she would have paid that much. The next time we heard anything was a photo of her on FB the next day eating breakfast in R's middle sister's cafe in Newcastle. Relief, she made it and R's family will look after her. Judging by subsequent photos, they are looking after her very well, with the latest photos showing her in the arms of a drag queen in a Newcastle nightclub in the company of two of R's nieces and their friends.
But her arrival at Newcastle did not go smoothly and there was an incident, as R's oldest sister explained on the phone to R. While she has many admirable traits and we love her dearly, being organised is not one of her strengths. She partied on the overnight ferry as she crossed the North Sea and I expect was a little grumpy when she arrived at Newcastle's port in North Shields. To quote her, 'this customs chick didn't like me'. She was detained for an hour at Her Majesty's pleasure and interviewed as she was being very vague about her plans in England. Fortunately R's Sister and her husband were outside waiting for her and immigration interviewed them. What is her job? They didn't know. How do you know her? She is the niece of my brother's partner. Have you met her before? Yes, a few times when we were twice in Australia. Where will she stay? With us for most of the time but we believe she may visit Scotland and Ireland. An hour later she was deemed not to be at risk to the population and security of mighty Great Britain and was allowed to join R's family.
We await the next installment, via Face Book photos.
Later: It is probably two or so weeks since Fire Fighting Niece was in Nice and walked the Promenade des Anglais. Scary, hey.