I think one of the oddest things I had to get my head around when I got married was that I was actually going to be part of a new family. Actually, as husband's are long divorced I've married into two, very different, families.
This weekend it was a trip up north to celebrate a big birthday with new family no. 1 - father-in-law and tribe. It was all very civilised, a select gathering, private fully panelled dining room at very posh country hotel/restaurant, silver service... it was all rather beyond the level of luxury that I've experienced before.
We sat near the birthday Auntie and opposite father-in-law and partner. Also sat next to cousin (one of three "boys" of Auntie-in-law). The three boys, now all in their 20s, aren't exactly the most average of cousins-in-law. All intelligent, all had every opportunity they could possibly want, all pretty much drop outs. One at least now seems to have found a long term partner (who didn't say a word, and wasn't introduced to us). The other I think is currently working in a local pub and pretending to write a sit com. Husband and I were sat next to cousin number three.
M fulfils the much missed role of family mad person. I'd always considered him a little eccentric - in the camp, childlike way. Now, having spent an evening sat next to him I realise that he is totally barking mad - luckily in the pleasant way, not the stab you in your sleep way. He spent most of the night making no sense, did not follow any social conventions (like waiting for everyone to be served before eating)... until I checked with Husband that he is always like this I thought he was totally stoned. Apparently he has been like this since childhood - so the great British eccentric (now read nutter) is still alive and well. M is currently doing an MA in Acting at a drama school in Essex.
Anyway, it was a lovely celebration and I feel I have a little more insight into new family no. 1 - what strange beasts families are!