It was nearly fourteen years ago that I flew to Queensland to meet my future in-laws. Hello, my name's Kirsty and I'm going to marry your son in about ten weeks - yes, lovely to meet you too!
G's parents took it all in their stride. When it comes to conversation, they are the King and Queen of diplomacy and tact. I have watched on in awe at G's family Christmas, where voices are rarely raised, issues are discussed and everyone is asked for their thoughts. There is a degree of order and calm. Pretty well the opposite of a meal with my own family.
G and his father are very much alike. Both in personality and looks. Same hair, same shoulders, same legs, same walk, same weirdly long arms. They employ the same mannerism when they speak. I was quite fascinated with G's Dad when we first met, as it was almost like looking through a window into my future, I was talking to a sixty year old G.
And then the doorbell rang and I realized that G's Dad was obviously senile.
"That'll be the cat" he said upon hearing the doorbell.
"I'm sorry?" I'd obviously misheard.
"The doorbell, that'll be the cat"
The rest of family acknowledged the arrival of the cat and continued on. It wasn't just him, they were all obviously crazy.
And off he went to open the door.
I had seen the doorbell, I knew it was an apparatus that had to be pushed. I knew it was at human height. I knew there was no way a cat could push that button.
And then the cat walked in.
The cat was one of those big fat don't mess with me British Blues. As it wandered by I'm sure I heard it say "what are you looking at new girl".
No-one said a word.
"That's amazing!" I was astounded by the cats obvious brilliance of being able to not only jump high enough, but to then push the button to let everyone know it was ready to come in.
I was now the crazy one.
Someone politely explained that the neighbours enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the cat and "borrowed" it each day. Every night, at dinner time they would ring the doorbell and drop the cat home.
Moving right along.
The beagle would love to have a relationship with our neighbours, mostly because she would like to eat their cats. It is for this reason that she is always kept on a leash when she's walked. The beagle spends a lot of her day working on an escape plan. She is walked three times a day and treats these walks as reconnaissance trips, gathering information and making mental notes.
Her escapes are usually made in the evenings, and are quickly put to an end when the guards at the gate of the compound ring us and let us know they have her.
Last night as G and I were heading to bed, the phone rang. I glanced at the clock, it was way too late for a social call.
"That'll be the dog" said G.
Family traits? Shared animals? Do you have any?