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This is a follow on post from here:- http://mmn.livejournal.com/1367903.html (Friends Only/Protected).
So this is where it all started on Thursday at 10.30am, Platform 15 I made my way to Wokingham, just under 2 hours later I was there. It was quite a surreal experience to start off with, I met Lorraine at the train station and I thought I wouldn't remember her after that long (12 years or so) but I quickly spotted her and she spotted me. We spoke a bit in the car before we got back to hers and at about the same time we rolled up so did me dad (as he booked a very last minute flight). I didn't quite expect him to be down so I was planning to throw myself in the deep end, but when he turned up it kind of lessened the impact (and the likelihood that I would have legged it pretty damn quick out of terror).
When I arrived in I changed my shoes (as I wasn't bombing about Bristol before hand in un-functional shoes) and tried to stuff my bag even more than it was, shortly I heard "where is Kevin?" and at that moment I nearly shat myself. When I walked in to the room it was absolutely full of people I didn't know but who knew a bit about me already.
It went quite well, I spoke with a few people and after about just over an hour the mood changed quite drastically (see linked post why) and it came very surreal. I won't go too much in to it, but it's definitely not something I want to do for a very long time.
Afterwards I made my rounds and me and the old man had a few drinks, I was quite tense about the whole thing for one reason and another, got to know family members and their families a bit more, and also sat panicked in the corner of the room at one stage. But I got over that fairly rapidly.
I learned a number of things about my father, the family in general and that there most certainly is a "Costelloe" look which in some parts is recognised by the Gardai for one reason or another (there are some brilliant tales behind that) and I seem to have it. We then headed off to another family members place where we all continued to chat, drink and all that.
Later that evening there was one or two things that got up my back and nearly re-opened a can of worms that should really stay shut but moved on, had a laugh and had a post evening conversation that changed things for the better. But we'll see how that all goes.
The next morning I woke up early (cheers broken body clock) and managed to pull it off pretty as well, considering my liver was not a happy chap. We were supposed to be back before 10am to see off the group that were heading back to Ireland, but in a true Irish fashion we showed up an hour later (the quote of the day was "We're Irish, nobody's on fire so what's the rush?") and missed them which was a bit of a shame as I didn't get a proper chance to say good bye. But they're on facebook now so I still have me chance :D
After meeting and greeting again, the five of us went off to London in search of pub grub, this is clearly illogical to the normal person, but it was totally a good enough reason to do it. Had a brilliant time walking about, finding the pub pie mecca and then a rough guide to the Underground at peak rush time. My father was pushed out of a tube train so I had to re-iterate the rules of engagement, 1) It's never your fault, so don't apologise and 2) If they're in your way move them with force. I highly recommended forceful removal of commuters from trains if required.
Once we hit the overground services and with little faith in my navigation of the National Rail timetables from the party I got everybody back only mildly harmed and flustered.
It was unfortunate that I had to leave that evening to work the following day, but it was quite productive and in fact without kuzanagi_ and boyzici I wouldn't have had this opportunity and I can't thank them enough.
So everything has changed in a matter of 36 hours. EDIT: I totally forgot one of the pix I took:-