Last weekend Jamie and I drove all the way to Hastings for the second time in a month.
It was for a very special reason.
To meet my Dads, new, older sister- Maureen.
My Dad is 70 next year (I'm sure he doesn't mind me telling everyone his age) and for his whole life he thought he was the oldest and only had one brother - my uncle Colin.
Until A couple of months ago, when out of the blue he had a phone call from a Lady called Tracy who was trying to get in touch with a Colin Gilchrist.
She was told that Colin didn't live at the house she had rung, but that his brother Michael does.
She then told my dad her mothers story.
Maureen was born during the war to an unmarried teenage woman, she was taken into care and adopted into a loving family. She grew up happily and had a family of her own. A couple if years ago her children who are all adults themselves convinced her to try to find out about her mother and to see if she had any other family.
They contacted a social worker and to cut a long story short they found out my Uncles name and roughly where he lives and started ringing every Gilchrist in the phone book looking for him.
My Dad found it all hard to believe until he told my sister who looked on one of those ancestor sites who give you access to birth certificates etc. and they found Maureen's birth certificate and saw that her mother was definitely my Grandmother.
Dad, my Mum and My sister Carol went and met Maureen a few weeks later and the similarities between her, my dad and my Grandmother (I never met my Grandmother but my Dad says they have the same mannerisms) dispelled any lingering doubts that my Dad has a new, older sister.
We had a lovely weekend, not only did we meet maureen, Tracy and her two children; all of my family were all in one place. (there are loads of us and we only get together once a year or less)
A group of us went to the beach and swam in the sea (have I ever mentioned how much I love the sea?)
This is my lovely Nephew Lewis...
We had a legendary Gilchrist barbeque- we really know how to cook meat outside.
Robert my youngest Brother did some of the cooking...
(so did Keith my oldest Brother but i didn't et a good photo of him)
Ofcourse we had to have a group photo!