Tallahassee fire ants and a nice chilli by Dawn

My brother Ian is visiting us from the USA presently. He lives in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida. Ian owns a lovely plantation house which we have visited twice before and we're going for the third time soon. Unfortunately, it will be for the last time because he is selling up and plans to move to Italy or Greece to start a business there.

[advert:mpu] Of course, the boys love it in Tallahassee as Ian lets them do whatever they like. He says, "It's my house, so they can have and do what ever they want." As you can imagine they are more than up to the task and subsequently are spoiled rotten at every turn. Alas, when we return to England I have to undo Ian's handiwork! They are not at all bad, really, and usually by the time we get home they are far too jetlagged to misbehave anyway…

Ian is lucky enough to have a swimming pool and tennis court set in acres of land which the boys are free to roam around in safely. The only downside is that Florida has an indigenous insects known as fire ants which really burn the skin when they bite you. When Raenie was there he stood in a nest of them. Chaos ensued and everyone was screaming, trying to help get the ants off of his body.

Typically, Raenie was oblivious to the pain. He has a very high pain threshold which is a common trait of Aspergers Syndrome. 

Raenie used to like nothing better than to take off his clothes and just roam around indoors or in the garden. He once cut his penis while in the garden. Raymond (my husband) could hear him calling "Can somebody help me, please" He was bleeding and quite sore, but not crying or upset. Another time he fell and put his teeth through his bottom lip, but again, he didn’t cry.

Anyway, with the ants swarming all over him, we had to put him in the pool to try and wash them off. They clung to his legs tenaciously, but eventually fell off. Raenie had a rash for a short while, but suffered no ill effects.

Whilst Ian is staying, I decided to ask my niece, her husband and four children over for a family dinner. Of course, there are usually nine of us anyway, so I thought I'd just make a simple meal of jacket potatoes with different fillings - chilli, curry, cheese, beans, tuna, etc. I also had extra French bread, salad, corn-on-the-cob; a general spread that everyone could pick at.

15 people turned into sixteen when MiMi, Nick's girlfriend came along. My other brother Kevin, nephew Lee, his partner and two children where also in the neighbourhood, so a smallish gathering turned into dinner for twenty four. It’s good job I tend to overestimate when it comes to food, as everyone had more than enough to eat and we all had lovely evening.

It was great to see everyone. The children all got on well together. Raenie crashed out on Josh's bed quite early, but the rest of the children had immense stamina (I let them stay up late as it was a family gathering). The night finally came to end at about 1 o'clock in the morning with everyone saying how much they enjoyed the evening. Why are the impromptu parties always so much better than the planned ones?

So, after finishing the last of the washing up with Ian, I finally crawled into bed at around two. AAhhhhhhhhh, sleep at last!

Speak to you soon!

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