Tag Archives: Sisters

Never such devoted sisters…

I ♥ my sister more than anything in the whole world, except for the rest of my family. I can’t say to you how I love her more than anyone else in my complicated family tree because it wouldn’t be fair, but it’s her 35th birthday today and I think I’m allowed to make her my favourite today.

Here are my 35 reasons why I love her very much

1. She always has a fridge full of toffee crisps and when she sent me an English food parcel, it had three packs of toffee crisps in it.

2. She knows about the flannel shoes and blowing bubbles through a flannel to make a bubble beard

Handmade dresses

3. She appreciates the patent leather shoe. Or at least she did when she was five.

4. She is a born nurse. She whinges, whines, makes a big deal out of everything and slags everything off all the time is very, very good at looking after people and nothing makes her squeamish except sputum

5. She knows about weasels

6. She has the loveliest hair of anyone I know. I have calf-licks and crazy hair and thin hair, and she has beautiful, thick, luscious hair

7. She takes me to see Take That because she knows I really love them and I don’t care for your opinion of my musical tastes. In fact, she came with me to see Busted at the Smash Hits poll winners party and I’m not ashamed. Much.

We had matching jumpers and Avon necklaces

8. She talked me out of wearing a pair of zip up Kylie-style trousers because she said I looked like a prostitute. She was right.

9. She always worries about her grades and she shouldn’t because she’s my sister and brains are just part of the territory.

My three favourite people in the world. My mum. My sister. My nana

10. She always likes my presents even if they’re hand-made and a bit crap, including my first knitted product of my adult life. Her house has got lots of my home-made stuff in and she never throws it away. Unlike my Nana who threw away a clay model I’d made of my sister’s head when I was 13. I know your secrets, Nana.

11. She makes roast potatoes, gravy and carrots and potato salad that are of the same quality as my Nana’s, and that’s a pretty high quality. I’ve never eaten better.

12. She is just good at cooking. She just is.

13. She’s good at shopping.

14. She’s good to share a room with. I can’t speak for myself, but I’ve had some crappy room-mates in my time. She’s never one of them. In fact, she’s the best.

15. She looks good even when she’s rough.

16. She has very good skin.

We had easter eggs in these cups

17. She always knows how to get me out of a ‘poor me’ one-woman pity party. Mostly this involves asking me if I’d like her to bring over the bleach for a swig.

18. She has excellent taste in boots and clothes and handbags and whilst she might have suffered from my hand-me-downs (okay, from my cousin Sarah…) I am very happy when she sends me her clothes she doesn’t wear any more.

19. She drives just like me. Combination of perfectionist and nutcase.

20. She has good make-up. Not as good as me, but…

21. She is the kind of girl who values her girlfriends. I think it’s important that girls have a lot of girlfriends. If girls don’t, they must be a right set of bitches.

22. She always gets me a take-away when I go to her house

The day we liberated Caen

23. I’ve just about forgiven her for colouring on my Lundy doll’s house when I was six. Bitch. Okay. I’ve not forgiven her.

24. I can go for weeks or months without talking to her and when I do talk to her it’s like that time has never been between us.

25. She understands what I mean when I remind her of the restaurant in Kos where I ate Owl and she had potatoes with cheese

26. She knows what movies I like – and we watch some that make us laugh until we cry and our sides hurt.

27. She always buys the best presents. I don’t know how. She just does.

28. She always has vimto to drink. That’s important in a sister.

29. She does the best face when she gets a present that she thinks is a bit crap. I like that she’s judgmental. I know she might do that at something I buy her, but she will always pretend that she loves it.

This is the 'Oh My God... What the hell kind of present is this? Face'

30. She and I shared bunk beds for a while. I always had the top bunk. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it made us closer, because from me being about 14 and her being about 10, we hated each other. Mainly because she was pretty and good and popular and I was weird and opinionated and bossy. And also because she liked shell suits and I didn’t.

Prep school girl... for a term or so!

31. Honestly, I’m still jealous of her a bit now. Not in a bad way though. In a way that says ‘I wish I was like that’.

32. She’s tall. See. Jealous. I wish I was like that.

33. She has very good posture. You might not think that is important in a sister, but it is. I couldn’t tolerate a sister who stooped.

34. If ever I need a hand decorating, she always helps out.

35. She never reminds me of mistakes I’ve made. I like that, especially when they involve snogging TOTALLY inappropriate people in pubs.

36. She never judges me to my face, even if I do a crap thing. If I said I was running off with my ex-dwarf, she’d let me even though she’d think I was mental and then she’d still pick up the pieces afterwards and never say she told me so.

What I’ve been up to

I’ve been away for a few days. You might have noticed. You might not have. Mostly, I’ve been getting abuse from my family and their respective spouses and friends. Sadly, I’ve quite enjoyed that abuse.

Mossy's birthday kebab

It was Mossy’s birthday. Mossy can mostly be described as: offensive, smelly, unsociable, rude, abusive, windy and silly. He was 40. I don’t know how that happened. He’s kind of a bit like Keith Richards. Nothing can kill him now. According to him, he’s a suave lady-killer who spends his days saving lives and saving the planet. He doesn’t. He takes ‘samples’ and mows lawns. He’d decided we had to go to Galway. Lucky for him, my sister organised it, or else he might have ended up very far away from the destination like the men did when Mossy arranged my bother-in-law’s stag do in Barcelona. Apparently, the airport was in France and they spent more getting to the hotel than they did on the hotel. Not only that, but it transpires that one of the stag party not only had to go solo across Barcelona in an Elvis costume, but he also decided to urinate in said costume rather than remove it, because it was hard to get out of. I don’t know how men would handle jumpsuits or playsuits. Just as an aside, I don’t like ‘playsuits’. What’s the point in them? They look like rubbish pyjamas in the kind of fabric your nan bought off the market for a tenner for 20 yards.

He was upset I spoilt his kebab with candles

The day started in fine spirits with a pint and a breakfast at Manchester Airport (oh, Manchester, so much to answer for…) and the English getting pasted by the French at rugby. I did the decent thing and ordered coffee and an English breakfast. I don’t get much by way of English breakfasts these days. Pete, the bother-in-law, convinced me he was having porridge and a banana. What’s worse is that I believed him. He had a pint in his hand as he told me. I don’t know why I believed him. I did wonder why he’d not ordered something non-alcoholic if his arteries are in trouble. I even believed my sister when she said she was having granola. I’m so gullible.

Bit moist in Manchester
Bit moist in Manc

The plane was one of those tiny 30-seater things. I’ve never been on such a small plane. It was cute. There were only us and a few stragglers on it. Galway airport made Limoges airport look like an international transport hub. There was someone behind a little desk in a shed asking for passports. Having said that, they had a better shop than Limoges airport, and there were plenty of vending machines.

Quay St. Galway, Ireland

We checked in to our accommodation – some student apartments – apparently Galway is a student hub and many of the hotels and apartments were full. And then it was time for the real drinking to commence.

I want a little coat for Tilly. And some boots so her feet don't need washing!

Abi and I tramped round looking for somewhere to change money. Luckily I was prepared for not being able to find an exchange and for the banks being shut, being a French resident and all. The others all went to find a pub. They didn’t get far. The pub was precisely 10 metres from where we left them. Nothing like being picky.

We spent a bit of time in here... a Welsh pub in an Irish town

Mostly, the rest of the weekend was spent in pubs or taxis or the apartments. It was absolutely pissing it down for most of it. That damp rain that soaks you through. I was used to it. I’m from Manchester. One question remains. Why, when Abi and I spent the exact same time in the wet, did she look fine and I looked like a drowned rat? How does that happen?

Lovely little instrument shop

Plus, I realised the downside of wearing my glasses. I’ve gone back to glasses for a month or so. Apparently, this is to give my eyes a break. I don’t know how that works. My eyes hurt more, I feel dizzy and I spend all my time trying blindly to find them because I’ve put them somewhere. I need big Deirdre-style glasses so my vision isn’t restricted. Stupid glasses. Not only that, but my brother has the same pair, virtually. I tried his on. It transpires he doesn’t really need them – no difference whatsoever and I think he’d been ripped off by his optician since they made no difference. Either that or he was trying to make himself look more intelligent. It didn’t work.

The view of the public toilets... not sure why men use public toilets as a landmark when describing where they are

Most of the weekend was spent insulting people (the men) or being nice (the girls) Pete gives out most of the abuse, mainly in Mossy’s direction. To be fair, he deserves it. Mossy is deeply offensive. Every time I spoke, he gestured at me and said ‘IIIINNNNNGGG LIIISH!’ as if I had accidentally slipped into speaking French. I gave him a gallic shrug. He renamed it a garlic shrug. Pickles got some abuse, mainly for being a skinflint and a cradle-snatcher (he isn’t – well, he is a skinflint – but his girlfriend is twenty-seven – twelve year age gap) and most of the insults revolved around him buying meals for Emma from the children’s menu, or having to get her teacher’s permission to take her away on holiday. I’m sure Pete keeps people round as foils for a bit of his comic relief.

Seahorses in the aquarium - Mossy's birthday treat

Galway was lovely. It’s precisely what I wanted Ireland to be when I went to Dublin and I was sadly disappointed. Plus, I’d stopped expecting people to look like Westlife and remembered that Dolores O’Riordan, Sinead O’Conner and Shane McGowan are Irish. In the aquarium (well, in the building, not in the actual aquarium… he wasn’t a fish), there was a man with auburn shoulder-length curly hair who looked all celtic and Irish with his pixie boots and piratey belt and beard. He’s an extreme example, but there were lots of quirky looking celtic people. I loved all the pubs with their wooden snugs and alcoves and open fires. I loved the Guinness. I loved the music and despite the smell, the company wasn’t bad either. I love my sister and brother. They’re lovely. I’m a lucky girl. And Peter, Pickles and Mossy just gave me time to sharpen my wits on them. A little verbal swordplay never did anyone’s wits any harm, although to paraphrase Beatrice in Much Ado, the last time we had a battle of wits, most of their wits went limping off the battlefield and now they’re all left with only a tiny bit of sense left to govern them.

I like quirky signs!