I had the great pleasure of attending my second cousin's twenty-first birthday party last night and a.) getting to bed well before midnight and b.) feeling absolutely perfectly well in the morning after just one celebratory glass of wine.
This is not as I remember twenty-firsts. Not at all.
I could blame the fact I drove the 40 minutes to her family's country house and was the responsible driver for the evening. But the real reason has more to do with the fact I am exactly double my lovely second-cousin's age and my hot date was my eighty-year old Aunt, who also happens to be the birthday girl's grandmother.
I sat on the fringes with several silvered dames and had loads of fun, savoured the dinner and remembered it the next day, and found myself comfortably passe as troops of twenty-somethings filed through the sitting room and living room en route to... well, I don't know exactly.
We had a bit of a giggle about some of the boys, who were seriously out of their depth with the bevy of sophisticated beauties that barely concealed their disdain for said boys' ill-chosen quips. They were trying so hard to be COOL and the girls were merciless.
There were some interesting moments when my cousin, the birthday girl's father, introduced me as his niece, and the birthday girl introduced me to another as her aunt.
I wonder, does my cousin think I'm immature? Does my second cousin find me ancient? What happened to 'cousin'? Is the whole cousins thing really so fraught they both shied away from it, even though first and second cousins are relatively easy to identify, surely? It's the extended mess of third and fourth cousins, and beyond, that confounds me.
Does anyone know? Should we care? (I barely know my first cousins!)
Here's the lovely birthday girl as I think of her most, with her beloved horses - Danny above and Zorro below.
I am completely at the mercy of the old nag who walks me around on the very occasional horse-trek, so I find Miss D's horse-riding acumen seriously impressive.
Mr T used to ride, and quite well, but time and opportunity are against him. And then there's the slight problem that he tends to over-excite them unintentionally. He has a similar effect on dog and cats. Now that really doesn't bear thinking about.