It ill behoves me, having mentioned in the previous liturgy a bike ride, to not be illustrative of how I got to the place where the bike ride happened. The reason I was on the bike ride in the first place was that I was attending, along with substantial elements of the Greater Large Clan, a joining in matrimony of Lydia (RHB's niece) and Theo (another male who will soon discover what the phrase 'matriarchal' means).
Firstly I should explain the the use of 'Greater Large Clan' to describe the attendees, who included Jane, Sadie (and partner Davide), Niome (and baby Holly and partner Matt), Great Meg, The Legal Eagle Bill, Suzie Woozie, Lil 'Than, myself, John Henry and Phillipa, Malcolm, Ruby and myself . It is true that not all relatives from Blighty are, strictly speaking, derivatives of the 'Large' lineage - for example Suzie Woozie and my man, Lil 'Than, are Steele by origin, while the Legal Eagle, Davide and Matty have not yet been formally assimililated, but if you ever find yourself associated with the GLC, you will come to realise truism behind the Borg's catchphrase "Resistance is useless". Particularly, as Theo will find out (and I suspect he already has), the strong matriarchal nature of the GLC. This extends not only to females who are, by blood, members of the clan, but also to females who male members marry. Thus while Greater Large Clan is geneaologically inaccurate, it is descriptively, in my experience, accurate. This observation is not critical of either gender - it does not imply that the males are emasculated in any way, or that the women are in any way unfeminine, on the contrary. But based on my experience females of the GLC tend to act themselves rather than adopt a role of shrinking violets entirely dependant on their mate: for example, if a pride of lions were encountered by a mixed gender group of GLC members, while the men were discussing options for a valiant defence, the women would have stared the lions down, told them off, and made them apologise for their behaviour before slinking back into the jungle, before the men had sharpened their spears. And the women would have a list of the lions names and addresses in case of future infractions. If Celine was present, there'd also be some really nicely lit photographs as well, while Lorna would have given them all personal organisers so they could plan their huntng more effectively.
In truth, the independence of female GLCers can be very liberating. In my case, it meant that at the end of my degree, the inability of RHB to attend a wedding in Greece of a neice, did not mean that I was unable to attend in case a fuse needed changing at home. RHB, while not happy not to go, was supportive of the idea that I should go to Greece at the end of my degree. As the degree progressed, the idea burgeoned, until I had decided that the wedding event itself, in Nidri, Greece, would be the destination, after some solo travelling, of an exploration of Greece. I finished the final essay, handed it in and jumped on a train to London. Five days later I was on a mountan bike, terrified of snakes.
Tales will follow, including discussions on whether 'toadpoles' is a real word or not, what the inside of Athenian brothels look like, why people shout their business on trains via mobile phones and why the Parthenon sets the tone for Greek architecture, but for today, I will conclude as I noew have to make some bird boxes. When all this will happen, I am unsure, because after completing my degree, I have found myself plunged back into real life, and to my immense suprise, it is rather busy. And there is a backlog of news - my younger nrother is currently on a three month trip through Europe, I am back teaching and plans for the PHD have seen developments, but for today, I have to sign off.