After work Friday and don't think I wasn't sulking about having to go in Friday I made the trip up to see my niece and her parents. This was done with my e-mailing ahead to check that it was all right, of course. It was also done in a way meant to make sure I wasn't imposing: I legitimately had to go to the university near them as one of the books I had out had been recalled, so, I had to be there anyway and if I could drop in, great; if I couldn't, that's all right, it wouldn't be wasted driving time.
But when I got there, after an hour of stop-and-go driving on a route that Google Maps insists every time is about a half-hour of normal-speed traffic (and there honestly isn't a quicker route) and knocked on the door and there was ... no response. I waited a minute and knocked again, and ... no response. Another couple minutes and knocking again and ... well, this was getting a bit silly. I couldn't see any lights on inside, and I started to suspect that my sister-in-law had driven to the train station to pick my brother up from work. So, I resigned myself to having just missed them by coming at that wrong moment, and drove off.
While approaching a red light I heard the strange, unfamiliar tones of my cell phone, and better, found it. My brother was calling to ask when I'd get there. I said I'd been there, knocked a couple minutes, nobody seemed to be there so I went on. He said his wife had been there for hours. Apparently I knock with stunning incompetence. Actually, it turned out my niece was napping, and her mother was upstairs watching, and since I was being quiet they didn't hear and I didn't see.
We went out to dinner, although I didn't quite mean to make such a big production out of dropping in, and I think I did pretty well in re-establishing my credentials as the relentlessly silly uncle (more on this anon). And as these things will, the night carried on a little longer than I expected with my niece showing off various iPad games she loves to play, and my brother showing some of the bootleg Cop Rock copies they'd got for some reason.
Trivia: The Babylonian Zodiac sign corresponding to the Latin Leo was the Lion. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards. (This isn't my best running-theme subject. Sorry. Next month gets a bit better.)
Currently Reading: The Twilight Years: The Paradox Of Britain Between The Wars, Richard Overy.