Sibling affection …

Today was my birthday, yet another in a series which seem to repeat with remarkable frequency. Among the amusing cards these were my favourites – the one on the left from one of my golfing buddies (so he speaks with authority) and the one on the right from my sister:


So now I know exactly what she was thinking – as she correctly points out, maybe it is just as well that eBay had yet to be invented back then.  We love each other enormously but that was not always the case – as she well knows, as a pre-teen boy, I would have enthusiastically sold her into slavery 🙂  Not so long after our first encounter:


I know the exact spot where this photograph was taken and thanks to the power of Google Earth, here it is – the window in the background is highlighted in red:




It all started so well.  The photo-book I ordered for my big sister’s birthday arrived just as we were setting off on a 600 mile round trip to her party.  We arrived in good time for the big event at Waddesdon Manor and the slideshow ran faultlessly until the screensaver kicked-in due to lack of any keyboard depressions – the Rothschilds obviously don’t do PowerPoint.  It was strange because I was mostly surrounded by people I had either never met or had not seen in over thirty years – “should I know you”  is not a good opening gambit.

Then about ten minutes before ‘carriages’ (up t’north, we call it the last bus home) it got stranger still – I took a very unpleasant turn for the worse – not through over-indulgence I hasten to add.  This was the start of something that continued for the next seven hours – I was then semi-comatose for the next twenty-four. My stomach muscles still ache.

Big sister had a great time though which was entirely the point of the exercise.  I take no credit for any of the photos in the slideshow only the many hours spent re-editing in Photoshop CC, OnOne and PowerPoint – a labour of love. The edits were not always strictly necessary, it is just one of my compulsive habits.  I trust Ray Davies, Guy Garvey et al will forgive me for ‘borrowing’ their music – the second track demands a decent sound system to get the full effect of Elbow’s magical production – something else the Rothschilds don’t do.

This is my favourite image from the slideshow – my sister is about three or four years old which makes it 1947-1948. A friend of the family is on the left, my mum is in the centre and my dad to the right is acting-up in front of the camera – it’s not just me, it’s in my genes. I’m Not There – not even thought about at this stage I imagine.

Manchester - 1947 or 48

Act III, Scene 13
Alexandria. CLEOPATRA’s palace.

Come, Let’s have one other gaudy night: call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more;
Let’s mock the midnight bell.

It is my birth-day: I had thought to have held it poor: but, since my lord
Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.