Last week my sister came to stay with her two children. I haven't lived near my own family for years and years, in fact all my adult life. I left home to go to London for university and never came back. Despite that, I am close to my family and my sister and I have managed to twine our lives together, picking up where we left off when we see each other, sharing the same sense of humour, the same tendency to take on too much, the same taste in clothes and houses and men. Ten years ago she moved back to Devon and now lives near my parents so we often see each other when I go to see them. We tend to whizz in and out: a couple of days' visit, full of people and snatched conversation, lovely but squeezed. So when she suggested she might come and stay for a few days I was delighted.
It was so good to have time to cook together, to eat together, to chat over a glass of wine in the evenings when her teenage children had gone to bed. It was good to spend time with my nephew and niece too, chatting with my niece, playing cards and getting beaten at Scrabble by my nephew who has a scary eye for the huge Scrabble score. We sat up late and talked about my father's illness and my brother after his stroke and I knew, as I think she did, that I was talking to the only other person in the world who felt very much the same as I do. That doesn't mean that our partners and our children and our friends don't care because they do. But only she and I have the shared childhood, the shared experience of loving and being loved by our parents and my brother. We cried but we felt better for crying together and somehow finding something to laugh at and hugging and saying goodnight.
We went to the beach and walked my daughter's dog. We had a day in Chester shopping with my niece while Ian and my nephew stayed home and made bread. And on Thursday we went to the Flint and Denbigh show.
There were bulls and sheep of all persuasions.
and very junior shepherds
There were dancing diggers
It was a great day.