Posts Tagged ‘brother’

A letter to my brother

Dear Brother (and Sister-In-Law, actually – you are partly to blame),

Let me describe my last week to you. On Sunday evening, you both came for dinner. In casual conversation after eating, you mentioned Breaking Bad. And, might I add, Modern Family. Now this is where the problem lies. Did you really need to mention them both? How about just one and leave it til the next visit to drop the other one.

“Pfft!” said I, dismissively, in the voice of one who knows better. “What is this Breaking Bad of which everyone speaks? I don’t go in for these big commercial things that are marketed to the masses. Like The Da Vinci Code which, by the way, I never read.”

“Well, it’s about a Chemistry teacher who makes a load of crystal meth to make money quick because he’s ill,” I was told.

Wait a minute, that sounds interesting.

“And this Modern Family thing. It looks a bit silly. But I do remember reading somewhere that Barack Obama liked it.”

“That’s great too. You have to see it,” said Brother and Sister-In-Law. “It’s on Netflix. Have you got a Netflix account?”

And so, before I could say ThereGoesMySocialLife, Danda had set up a Netflix account and we were on episode 2 of Modern Family. It hooked me immediately and we didn’t move from the sofa until after midnight.

I mean, WTF…. why the face? (If you haven’t watched Modern Family, that made no sense. )

The last six days have mainly consisted of late nights and tiredness. But I do have something to show for it, some achievement; most of the 1st series of Modern Family and almost two series of Breaking Bad.

Never mind that this week has also consisted of a few early mornings (on not much sleep) and a terrible cold and sore throat. No! The important thing has been the extremely active Netflix account.

If the Netflix account was a pair of shoes, it would be tattered and torn and letting the rainwater in. Just saying.

Yours sincerely,
Sister

P.S. While I’m at it, you’re also getting the blame for the full washing basket and lack of clean clothes and the fact that I lost my Oyster card last week and can’t be bothered to look for it.

School photos

This week, the Blog Hop subject over at The Waiting and Are You Finished Yet is school photos. Now, I’m not going to lie and pretend I have an awful lot of fascinating/amusing stories to tell you about school photos as I really don’t remember a lot about them. What I do have, though, are a few old school photos that you may or may not enjoy looking at. If you’re lucky, I’ll dredge a few memories up (possibly I’ll throw some fake ones in there too, as a filler) to kind of bind the whole thing together.

Here goes.

Look at this photo.

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Look at little me there, obediently putting my hands on my knees. I’ve obviously been told to do so by the photographer lady who, if I remember rightly, was Elizabeth Pie’s mum. And why, o why, did we never sing ‘Who ate all the pies?’ to Elizabeth Pie?! What a wasted opportunity for entertainment at another child’s expense. And, let’s face it, school was made up of entertainment at the expense of other children. I was never really that child. There was always the buffer zone of a fat friend to absorb the teasing before they got to me.

I do remember it being quite good fun to wait for my older brother to collect me from my class to get a photo together. That was exciting because the other kids looked in wonder at him, like he was the coolest thing thing since sliced bread, simply because he was ten and we were seven.

I remember always sitting on the front row for the photos though, being on the smaller side. I think there’s another photo lingering on here. Let me just run and get it.

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Yeh, I couldn’t find it. But what I did find was a photo of me eating crisps from a bucket. What’s not to love?!

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And a photo of me sitting in a chair, wearing a Hello Kitty tshirt when I was definitely old enough to know better.

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Look at me, full of life and always smiling. She’s so damn cheerful all the time, that’s what everyone used to say about me. Sort of.

And now, having failed to find any school photos apart from that one at the beginning, I shall slink off and admit that this week, I did not do the Blog Hop proud.

Looking through old photo albums

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This one is of my brother and I, when I was about two, I think. I had both my legs in plaster when I was little and had very recently had it off when this photo was taken.

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This is me in earlier mentioned plaster, hence I’m in a wheelchair. I look very uncertain about something….

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I think my brother’s sweatband really brings this photo alive.

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Christmas lunch. That’s me in the orange hat. Everyone else was too cool to wear theirs.

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My friend Naomi and I in our best sporting gear (we didn’t play any sport) and centre partings in our hair.

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I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on in this photo. The curtains hairdo, the Hello Kitty t-shirt, the gold chain thing, the non-smile on my face.

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On the left, in the white jumper, that’s me. Yep, I sported the fringe and bob look then. It wasn’t my best look.

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This is me age 19 on a zipwire thing over the Yellow River in China. Boy, do I look excited!

D is for….

DOG!

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(This is a picture of my friend’s dog, not mine, as you will see.)

I’ve never really been a dog person. You know, they’re just there, being dogs. And I’m just here, being me. And our paths very rarely cross.

One of my first doggy memories is of a little girl racing across the back field at a million miles an hour, closely followed by a barking dog. Behind our back garden was the large back field that she was running across and she was heading in our direction. We opened the gate into our garden and she ran in and we shut the gate so the dog couldn’t follow her. In my mind there are quite a few people there, all watching this little girl being chased across the field by the dog. Now that I’m writing it, it seems like a slightly wierd thing to have happened. I’m not sure of this is an actual memory or a creation of my overactive childhood imagination.

My next experience of dogs was when we, as a family, decided to get a dog. My brother was excited and I did whatever he did so suddenly, without really thinking about whether I really liked dogs, there was one there, in our house, yap-yap-yapping. I was about seven and too nervous to speak up but I was pretty scared of it. It was little and excited and loud. I was horrified at its jumpy-loudness.

My brother played with it and threw it things and what fun he had. I stayed in the hallway and listened to them in the front room. Eventually I decided to go and see the new dog. I went into the front room and it jumped for me. I ran away from it and it chased me. I ran around in a circle panicking and shouting for someone to open the door, which they did, and I made my escape.

I did not approach the dog again that evening. The next day, when I came home from school, it had been returned to the shop.

And that, my good friends, is the sum total of my experiences with dogs.

Well, I lie. We had a dog when I lived in Africa but that was more like looking after a child in a dog’s body. She came and went as she pleased and very often wet herself while sleeping.

The igloo

One snowy day in Liverpool, my brother and I decided we were going to make an igloo. No snowman-based nonsense for us! We were going to build a full-on snow house. I’m not sure how old we were. I was probably about nine or ten and my brother is three years older.

In our back garden, there was a gate in the fence, which led out onto a massive field where football and cricket competitions were played. At the far side is the athletics track where my brother took me with a bike and taught me to ride without stabilisers.

So when it snowed, all the kids with gardens which backed onto this field would be there, rolling massive snow balls and building snowmen and having snowball fights. It was loads of fun.

It was on one of these days that we decided to build the igloo. We used our fence as one wall and got to work on three more walls. It took a looooong time. We brought snow, packed it onto our little walls, getting ever so slightly higher each time.

After a while, we came up with an energy saving scheme where I would be Wall Builder and my brother would be Snow Bringer. We did this for a good while longer, making slow progress. Snow doesn’t actually go that far when squashed down onto a wall. This is what I learned that day.

To become even more efficient, we brought a long board type thing from the garden and put it on the ground, pointing in to the igloo. The plan was that my brother would put his snow on the other end of the board and slide it along to me at the igloo door, thereby saving him the vital energy that he otherwise would have expended in those two steps to the door. We are geniuses.

The funniest moment of the igloo building session came when my brother emerged through the gate from our back garden onto the field. He had scooped the hugest pile of snow from our lawn and was carrying it toward the igloo. It was so big that he couldn’t even see over it. He approached the board, which by this point, was wet and slidy and, you guessed it, couldn’t see where it started.

He stepped on it and a loud squeak announced his error. In a second, he had fallen flat on his back. His pile of snow, however, moved a little slower. He had thrown it in the air so it took another second to come back down to earth… and landed all over him lying on the floor!

It’s probably the funniest thing that I had ever seen up until that point in my life!

After ten minutes of breathless shivery laughter, we got back to work but we had been out for ages by now. After the wall was a little bigger, we balanced our slidy energy-saving board on the top of the walls, to make a roof. We went inside and boiled a kettle of water to melt the snow on the igloo floor.

Once it was habitable, we got inside and lay down, for it was far too small to do anything else.

We had a little chat about what fun it had been, maybe we read books, I’m not sure. What I do know is that it took us about five minutes to get bored of it, get out and go back inside the house to watch television.

How I feel about Christmas

When I was growing up, Christmas was loads of fun. I’d often wake too early and try nudging my brother awake. He’s three years older than me so his excitement levels were slightly lower than mine. He’d grumble a little, turn over and keep sleeping. I’d be hopping about with excitement but didn’t want to go downstairs alone so I’d wait.

Eventually he’d wake up and we’d go downstairs. A long flat parcel with a message from my grandfather and grandmother meant a chocolate selection box and I’d get involved straight away. Usually something like a caramel or a fudge bar would become breakfast. We’d spend a few hours playing with our presents. I think the year I got a karaoke machine and a Christmas karaoke video was probably the most unbearable for my family.

Next on the agenda was Christmas lunch. I’ve got quite a big extended family and we would all (about twenty of us) to go round to my grandparents’ house and my grandmother would cook a huge Christmas dinner. You know the type of thing I mean, where the table is laden with bowls and plates of anything you could ever want. There are huge gravy boats at regular intervals and we’re all trying to get hold of something which is at the opposite end of the table.

Then there was more present giving and, due to seat space, us kids would all sit on the floor and show each other our presents or, if it was my cousin and I, we would be making up dances to Backstreet Boys songs, or sometimes just making up songs about ourselves. One such song went:

Me: My name’s Maimee.
Cousin: And my name’s Maura.
Both: And our motto is – nab, neb, nib, nob, nub.

My goodness, we were lyrical geniuses!

Sometimes there’d be another do in the evening with the even larger extended family of second cousins and aunties once removed and all that. Often it would be on Boxing Day though and Christmas Day evening would consist of more chocolate, more playing with games and sometimes calling my friend, Ruth, to who’s side I was mostly stuck during my childhood. I usually would have been given a book so would have my face in that for a while too.

It was fun. Now it’s fun in a different way. It’s fun to watch the kids doing all that. For me, it’s fun to have time to read a book and have a cup of tea and do nothing. And I love to give presents I know people will like. I’ve got something really good for Danda…. Shhh…. Don’t say anything. Actually, it’s me who mustn’t say anything. I keep on almost giving him the present cause I’m so excited.

Usually I feel quite neutral about Christmas itself. When I was a kid, I was massively excited about the very prospect of Christmas, of putting up the tree, of opening the presents, of being with all my cousins and playing with all our presents. Now, it’s less about Christmas itself and more about giving nice things to people and having time to relax. But I made a promise to myself a few months ago, to be more excited about things. So I am going to embrace it more. I shall wear my Christmas jumper as often as possible and listen to Christmas songs and put some decorations up (just realised what a humbug I am, I don’t own any Christmas decorations at all. Even if I got a tree, I’d have nothing to dress it with…. Shame on me.)

The time I played in a football match

When I was younger, I mostly just wanted to do everything my brother did. I listened to The Fugees at an age where I honestly didn’t know what they were talking about. I sat watching him play computer games and cheering for him for hours. I used to hang around being an annoying little sister while he and his friends played football and I’d go and collect the ball for them if it went off the pitch.

So obviously, I had decided I wanted to play football too. Obviously. I mean, I had bags of talent in the area, with all my experience of watching games and collecting footballs.

I joined the girls’ football team at school and decided I wanted to be in goal, for no other reason than my brother played in goal. Despite my obvious skill, it took a while before I was chosen to play in an actual game against another team. When I was, it was only as back-up and not in goal.

We went in a little minibus to the school we were playing against and for fifteen minutes, I watched from the sidelines, trying to work out what was going on. Midway into the second half, my friend and I were sent on to play. I ran about a bit, shouting to whoever had the ball whilst actually avoiding the ball. I think I kicked it once. I’ve no idea what happened when I kicked it. It probably went straight to the other team.

Anyway, the game finished shortly afterward and I can’t remember if we won or lost. What did strike me, though, was how clean I looked. My brother always looked quite grubby when he came from playing football. The friend who had been sent on with me in the second half came up with a plan. We would kneel down in the mud, pretending to do our shoelaces or something and get our knees muddy. This we did, also rubbing mud on our elbows and making smudges across our football kits.

When we emptied out of the minibus back at school, it was still the lunch hour so the other kids saw our triumphal return and our muddied knees and looked at us in admiration. I felt great.

And that was it. That was my footballing career. I don’t think I played anymore games. Or even went to the football practices.