Back in June my brother and his wife moved to Canada for two years. (apparently for 'work' although I'm not seeing/ hearing much evidence of that...)Although we didn't see a massive amount of them both when they lived in the UK, whenever we did manage a weekend it was usually a lovely one, full of food, wine and chat, usually into the early hours. It is only now that they are gone that I realise how much I miss them.
I think it is safe to say that when we were kids my brother and I were not what you would describe as 'close'. I remember my first day at high school, scared as hell, walking through the playground and seeing my brother walking (sauntering) towards me with his mates. Obviously at the age of 11 I wasn't massively aware of the the fact that it is incredibly 'uncool' to have a little sister when you are a 14 year old lad. So there I was, massive grin plastered to my face purely because there was a familiar face in front of me and.....he ignored me. I do believe his mates spluttered and jabbed him in the ribs etc. I was mortified. I think he was as well. (although no doubt he is reading this with no recollection whatsoever).
My favourite 'poor me' story from that time is when it was snowing one morning. My mum wanted me to wear wellies to school (ouch) for obvious reasons (I know you meant well Mum) and I hated wellies. Especially red ones with white clouds around the tops. My intention was to wear the damn wellies until out of site of the house and to then swap them with my shoes that were in a carrier bag, thus avoiding anyone seeing the tragic footwear. The plan went horribly wrong when Dave decided to grab the shoe bag and run off up the road, cackling gleefully, with me galumphing along behind him, whining and shouting. Git. I did manage to get the bag back, once we were safely on school territory and everyone had had a good gawp, obviously.
I remember fights, really physical fights, with punching and scratching and hair pulling and lots of 'MUUUUUUMMMMMMM, he's KILLING meeeeee' shouts. Grrrr.
We got closer once he left home (that doesn't make sense, does it?!) but I remember being so excited when he asked me to accompany him to his passing out parade at Sandhurst. My Mum came with me to buy a dress, a black, slinky halterneck, (I think I fancied my chances of pulling an army officer) and as a family we drove down to stay in a hotel the night before the big day, had dinner and all went to bed. My stomach was churning with what I thought was nervous excitement. It was food poisoning. I spent all of the next day sat in the car being sick into a plastic bag and sobbing, feeling wretched and incredibly sorry for myself. Needless to say I didn't go to the ball....I have still got the invitation though...
Fortunately I was invited to future army events, black tie dinners, balls etc. and had a great time. We obviously liked each other by now...but then he discovered girlfriends. (I would like to point out at this stage that he had had girlfriends before, but obviously there weren't any at the time he liked enough to be seen out in public with..heehee) so they then tended to get invited along to the shindigs instead of me.
Some terrible girlfriends followed (don't worry, he knows they were) as well as a couple of nice ones, but they always seemed to feel the need to pat me on the head and talk to me as if I was 12.(please, I must have been at least 14....) but I would like to fast forward a few years to the lovely Nic.
I can remember the first time we met, thinking "Here we go again, about to meet the latest girlfriend who will ignore me or pat me" and in fact thinking she looked absolutely terrified when she walked into the house. (heehee, she was, she told me later) This boded quite well, I thought, and it was a unanimous verdict amongst the Racey clan that she was lovely. Once she stopped shaking. Nic and I have a lot in common (the fact that she is a size 8 and I am errm, not, is not one of them) we seem to think along the same wavelengths, can be horribly bitchy together and equally incredibly compassionate together. ( I have no examples of either) I do not share Nics' domestic skills unfortunately, as she would put Kim and Aggie to shame, but I think she forgives me my slovenly ways with the duster because I can make cakes.
I was so proud of them both when they first met my husband. I had gone to stay with them for a weekend and turned up a bit miserable as Rob and I had been seeing each other a while but as we were keeping it a bit low key I had gone on my own. They weren't actually aware of his existence until halfway down the second bottle of wine I annouced that I was 'seeing someone'. They demanded all the gossip and insisted I ring him there and then. My brother got on the phone to Rob and told him to get in the car and get his arse down to Bracknell. This must have been about 9pm at night, and Rob was two hours away. He came. This went down well in their eyes (as well as mine) and despite being petrified that they would all hate each other (Dave and Rob being as judgemental as I am) they got on like a house on fire, and we all have ever since.
I have a lovely photo of Dave and I sitting on a sofa at my wedding. There is another photo of us together at his wedding. He emailed me yesterday to say hi, and how much he liked the blogs. I think I could talk to him about anything, and hope he feels the same. Thanks brother of mine. I still haven't forgiven you for the wellies though....git.xxx
Dave, Nic, me and Rob on New Years Eve 2006 (note the rosy cheeks and half empty wine glasses...we moved onto home made sloe gin...)