I have to say that the age gap helped, so I wasn’t forced into that too often. That said, I love my brothers…although back then it was mainly for their usefulness.
We were living in Leicester many moons ago – I will never forget it..the Eyres Monsell area of Saffron Lane. It wasn’t that bad really, but the local borstal was just up the road…anyhoo I digress.
I learned real quick that my brother Kev was a tough nut, always throwing himself everywhere and just getting up and laughing when most kids would be crying…actually, now I come to think of it, Zak is just like that now. I was babysitting once, and decided to play football in the house…of course the ball ended up bouncing up onto the wall unit and breaking something (I forget what – sorry Mum), but Kevs exploits meant that it was plausible. I escaped with a telling off for not keeping an eye on him, instead of being grounded until…well…now I suppose.
He was pretty fearless though, but this got him into trouble from time to time. My Mum had her friend over and they were chatting and drinking wine. After a little while, they notice that the bottle of wine has gone from the kitchen…it was open but untouched. Kev was found drunk and a panicked Mum had to figure out ways to sober up a small child…it was made slightly worse, if I recall, by the fact that he had used a straw…
Younger siblings always tend to copy their elder siblings though, and I caught him stealing a cigarette from me once, so I forced him to chain smoke until he was physically sick. I am actually quite proud of that as (to my knowledge) he has never smoked since.
My brothers have both always had their heads screwed on though, certainly more so than me. They both excelled at whatever sport they turned their hand to and Paul in particular puts us all to shame with his dedication to academia. Through it all, they have managed to be leaders, not followers and noone ever has a bad word to say about them.
Kev is married now and my nephew is 1 and Paul is engaged and about to enter into that most heinous of crimes….living in sin.
It’s strange to say, but we are a very close family…we just don’t feel the need to be in constant contact that most people seem to think being close requires.
My Mum and Dad have always been very supportive of me and my foibles….I was the one that got into all the trouble…smoking, drinking, wreaking havoc with my friends. My Mum is incredibly forthright and will let you know if she isn’t happy with something…my Dad is a little more subtle, and he has always been the calming influence on my life I suppose. I definitely needed it from time to time.
I remember my Dad and I walking across the base, on the way to the bowling alley. The base was an RAF Officer training camp, so there were a lot of young kids that had rank. We were in street clothes (civvies) as Dad wasn’t at work, and we walked past this snot nosed Officer Cadet. My Dad casually said hello to him as we walked past (you never salute unless you are wearing the uniform yourself). The cadet stopped and started having a go at my Dad.. “You will salute an officer and show some respect”…or something similar. My Dad, simply leaned in and then really quietly, but with no small amount of contempt said “When in uniform, I salute your uniform and respect it and the rank it gives you, I do not however, have to respect the fucking idiot wearing it”. Then he turned, put his arm around me and we went bowling for the night….legend.
My Mum and Dad are also responsible for my knowledge of drinking games, my sense of fun, sense of humour and my morality.
Thanks Mum and Dad