By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Sunday, 2 October 2011

A week to weep in

Reader, a truly terrifying thing happened at the beginning of this week. My younger brother went off to uni. Now, this was scary for a number of reasons.

1) He left his room a complete and utter pit. My brother is the sort of teenager who owns t-shirts that can stand up on their own, shoes that even the cat won't rub itself up against, empty casserole dishes that he's used to make a sort of supernoodle-pasta-bake and then never taken out of his dwelling and random receipts for cheese puffs and cigars just thrown everywhere. Since he left, we've been in a fit of cleaning, which has taken a whole week and still leaves a lot to be desired.

2) To my knowledge, when he left he'd never a) cooked himself a meal with veggies that weren't previously frozen and b) had yet to work out how to use the washing machine and tumble drier. However, somehow, the day he got there, he helped his new housemates make a veggie curry. Which he ate. He has also never eaten anything I've ever made with veggies in. And when mum called earlier he couldn't talk because he 'had a wash on'. OMFG,

3) For a Lahndahn lad, he's not very streetwise. He went out jogging at 2am once and got pelted with eggs. Yeah. I know.

4) He has never had to properly budget before, apart from 'what shall I spend my Christmas money on? Games? But which games? Ah the decisions!'

5) He's not the most organised lad in the world. He famously once got kicked off a train in Bristol, and had his ticket taken off him because he didn't think he needed his young person's railcard as proof. He's also lost so many oyster cards, we were pretty sure somewhere, someone was taking full advantage of his student discount (of course, we then found all 3 cards in his room while cleaning it...)

6) The scariest thing of all though, was that I thought I'd be massively cool with him going. 'Peace and quiet!' I thought. 'Heaven!' I was looking forward to coming home to a clean house, no one interrupting my TOWIE watching time, and nicking any treats I got myself from the fridge. I was pretty sure I'd be waving him off with a skip in my step and a song in my heart. But the second I hugged him goodbye, I started welling up. After all, he may be 6'2 and built like a boxer, but he's still my baby brother and the thought of him having to be a grown up was pretty devastating. I managed to hold myself together until he got into the car, then flood of tears set in. The Lad, cruelly, thought it would help the little bro to see that I was sad to see him go, so picked me up (in my dressing gown might I add) and dragged me into the road. Tosser. I'm dealing with it a lot better now, especially since we've had frequent calls from the brother telling us what a fab time he's having and how much he loves uni and his housemates. Plus, he's coming back this friday, which I think probably means he needs money.

After all the stress, it was lucky that my mother, my nan and I had planned to go to a health spa. It was largely for my gran's birthday (but also somewhat of a treat for me and mum, let's face it) and woah. Pure awesome. We had three days of being pampered in the luxurious surroundings of Ragdale Hall, where we were massaged, moisturised, sauna'd and steamed within an inch of our lives. We literally didn't have to lift a single finger for the duration of our stay (apart from to ask for more butter for our home made bread at dinner). While we were there, it was proved, yet again, what a hilarious lady my Grandmother is. She's an Irish lady, and while I'm not at liberty to disclose her age, just be advised that she looks fantastic for her years. And she's hysterical. She came out with some complete classics during the stay, so for your reading pleasure, here are a few of them.

1) On the way there, we stopped off in a rest stop for lunch and some magazines. My nan went 'Oh, Ash, I'll get you some sweets', Me: 'Don't worry about it nan, I'm fine, really', 'Oh no, I'll get you some, just a couple', 'Really Nan, I'm fine, I don't want to pile on weight while we're there', 'I'm getting them now!' When we got to the room, she told us that she didn't want any, and made us take big handfuls, before popping them in her bedside cabinet. Then, as soon as the lights went out for bed, we heard a rustling noise. She was only dipping into them when she thought we wouldn't notice! Well, I know where I get that from now.

2) On the first night, we popped on the telly. The first thing on was a sort of 'accident and emergency' reality show/documentary and at that moment there was a bloke on who'd 'fallen' onto a loo brush. Bristles first. Just as the nurse was saying how cringe it all was, my nan piped up with 'Was it as part of a game?'. I could only reply with 'Yes Nan. Well, sort of.'

3) My nan is a very generous woman, and as the car was being loaded up, she was in the gift shop trying to find a pressie for my little cousin Daisy. I went to fetch her and she said 'Oh, good, I was just trying to find you a little bracelet as a present'. Knowing that she's actually on rather a tight income, and noticing that the gift shop was VASTLY over priced, I wouldn't let her get me one, but she was so determined that she started pointing out everything in the shop, going 'Do you want that?'. Including a dummy set (she thought it was a key ring), a pair of men's slippers and at one point, an ornamental statue that wasn't for sale. Bless her.

4) She's also a woman who knows the brilliance of good luggage. When she opened up her (three!) bags, she showed us the many other bags inside them she'd decanted all of her things into as a form of organisation. My nan loves a good bag. This resulted in much hilarity. On the first day, she lost a bag in between all the other bags. On the next, she got worried that the cleaning lady would sit on her bags, or move them, so she made a sort of bag mountain behind the table. On the last day, she realised that she somehow had one extra plastic bag, so she spent ages deliberating on how to put it to best use, before placing a single water bottle in it and looking immensely pleased with herself. She then proudly put the little plastic bag next to all the luggage for the bellboy to take down, before we told her that it would probably make his life a bit difficult and she grudgingly put it inside one of the main bags.

It was, all in all, a brilliant few days. Which made it especially hard to come back home, especially since the day after the day after we got back, I came down with the most dreadful flu, that had me stuck in bed all day, surrounded by kleenex and day nurse. Luckily, it was only a 24 hour thing and now I only have a bad case of the sniffles. Helped along by a lot of banana loaf and a day of board games with The Lad and two of our wonderful friends from university.

Ok Chaps, that's all for now!
Hope you're enjoying this mad October sun we're having!

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