Keeping up with the Rowlands …
Welcome to your interim updates on the Oxfordshire Rowlands family from my amazingly popular trilogy of books about them.
While you wait for Book Number 2 – Heightened Emotions, An Oxfordshire Wedding – you will want to keep up to date with what’s happening in their family and extended family in the meantime. Here’s your chance…
And the best part? You can influence what they do and how they do it.
In this series of blogs, I explore the ups and downs of life that Susie Rowlands and her vibrant family experience alongside the main issues you learn about in the books.
But unlike most fictional stories, in this blog section you can input your own ideas about what the Rowlands should do, choose, eat, drink and even … well, let’s not go there just now.
Thanks to modern technology on the internet, we can expand and develop the story of the Rowlands as we want to. What a fabulous opportunity! See below to find out how you can contribute…
So let’s catch up with the Rowlands during Christmas…
Keeping up with the Rowlands
Keeping up with the Rowlands Part Two: Christmas at the Rowlands
Well, the bonfire party was a great success. Even Annabelle braved the cold and went outside to enjoy the delicious food she had prepared, ably assisted by David, who had turned out to be a dab hand with a barbecue.
Christmas was fast approaching and discussions were taking place as to who would be doing what and where everyone would be.
"Well, I won't be cooking, that's for sure," said Susie. "First of all I can't, and secondly our cottage isn't big enough for us all. I expect you'll be doing it, won't you, Mummy?"
"What do you normally do, David?" enquired Annabelle. "I'm sure that you usually go to your parents, just as Susie and James have always come here. You too, Greg? Do you go to London?"
David replied that they had always had a family Christmas in Great Rollright, whereas Greg said that his parents had come to him the previous year, but, although he had no problem in cooking for everyone, like Susie, he just didn't have the room.
"It's the first year you kids have been in serious relationships," Annabelle went on, "so I guess things will be different. You might not want to spend the time with us."
Peter surfaced from under The Telegraph. "I know it would be a lot of work for you, Belle, darling, but could we accommodate everyone here? By that I mean David's parents and sister and Greg's parents too."
"At a push of course we could," replied his wife. "As you know, Peter, entertaining has never been a problem for me, but it doesn't seem to have entered your head that I might like to do something different for a change. It really depends on what everyone else would like to do. The young lovebirds might prefer to be on their own for their first Christmases together. The Somervilles, whom we've never met, may not want to spend Christmas with a house full of strangers. Julia and David could well have their own plans. By the way, you've entirely overlooked my parents. They always come here. How could you?"
Peter grunted and returned to the newspaper. Privately he couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. It was only the beginning of December!
Each person had their own thoughts.
Susie knew that she wanted to be with David - wherever that might be, although preferably Moulsford as she had always spent Christmas with Mummy and Daddy. However, trying to be fair she had to recognise that David would probably want to spend at least some of Christmas Day with his parents and sister.
David wanted to spend Christmas with his fiancée and was feeling that it could be very romantic for the two of them to go away somewhere, with the added bonus that then they couldn't be seen to be favouring either set of parents.
James was looking forward to his first Christmas with Greg, but hadn't really thought about where that might be and wasn't unduly concerned. It would be strange not to be at Moulsford with his parents, but as long as he was with Greg all would be well in his world.
Greg thought a Moulsford Christmas with the Rowlands family would be fun, but saw no need at all to invite his parents.
Annabelle was feeling a tad resentful. Peter did sometimes take her very much for granted. She was an excellent cook and homemaker, but didn't really feel that she wanted to cook for the
Somervilles and Timminses as well as for her own family. She was miffed by the fact that Peter had ignored her parents. She was also thinking that if the children did their own thing, it would just be the four of them - her parents and Peter. If that were the case, perhaps they should go out for Christmas lunch? It would make a change.
"Come out from behind that paper, Peter, and tell me more about what you mean by having everyone here. Do you expect me to cook for all three days?" Annabelle asked, somewhat irritably. "Much as I enjoy entertaining, has it not entered your head that perhaps I would like someone to do something for me occasionally?"
Her words stopped everyone in their tracks. Annabelle was normally so calm and here she was, sounding very annoyed.
With a resigned expression on his face, Peter put down The Telegraph for the second time that afternoon. "Whatever's the matter, darling?" he asked. "I thought entertaining and having people around you was right up your street and that you would enjoy an extra big family Christmas. It appears that I was wrong. And no, I wasn't expecting you to cook for the whole three days. I thought perhaps you could produce Christmas lunch and then anyone who was still here at lunchtime could eat up leftovers. We could certainly eat out on Christmas Eve. Some people might not even be here until Christmas morning."
"I'm more than happy to help with the cooking and anything else, should we be here," said Greg.
"You couldn't possibly be expected to do it all by yourself, Annabelle."
David added his support to that, saying he enjoyed cooking, then laughed and said that if he was going to marry Susie, it was a damned good job.
"There you are, Belle," said Peter. "Everyone will muck in and it will be fine." "If that's what everyone wants," replied his wife
Over to you!
Over to you readers - where do you think everyone should spend Christmas?
Put your suggestions on Facebook and see if you can win a signed copy of Heightened Emotions - an Oxfordshire Wedding - which will be available early February. I will publish the best suggestions on my website.
Can’t wait to see your responses over on Facebook.