Sunday, July 30, 2006

He ain't heavy - he's my brother

In NZ we are over half way through July 30th 2006.

Now I tried to wait for you till I started, but the day was going cold so I'm afraid I just had to tuck in.

Hence I have greedily consumed half of my brother's birthday before his has even arrived.

Such terribly bad manners - but really the time difference makes it all so difficult to maintain etiquette.

(Speaking of etiquette I once saw a programme on it which taught you how to eat a banana with a knife and fork. Very strange.)

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES! It's a bit of a gloomy day here - but I feel confident that the UK heatwave will ensue you have a much warmer starter to yours. (Perhaps a warm stilton salad with walnuts?)

My brother, for those of you who have failed singularly to make his acquaintance - CUH and TSK - is 2 years younger than me. Darker. Taller. Infintesimally better at computer games. And also a better cook. (He taught me how to cook rice - for which I and my pan bottoms are indebted to him).

Now unless I am having some strange memory version of events of our childhood is that we always got on. Hence I've never really understood the whole 'hating your brother' and 'fighting with your brother' thang.

I mean there was the occasion he threw a garden fork at me and it stuck in the back of my leg. And then that time when he and his friends tried to stone me in the garden. But apart from those 2 small incidents we got on famously.

Plus I always ate my portion of sweets much quicker than him and then he would kindly share his with me too. How can you fight with someone who keeps you sugared up like that?

I took a trip down memory lane in Queenstown when Dave and I went into an Olde Englishe Sweetie Shoppe. It was like being transported back in time 20 years. My goodness the amount of sweets we consumed together - bags of sherbert pips, cola cubes, pineapple cubes, cough candy, dolly mixture, jelly babies. It's amazing we have any teeth left. And skin on the roof of our mouths. Good times.

Of course when he was very young, James was the focus of some of my imaginative pranks. I had him fully believing that I had a fairy train under my bed. And that every night I would go off on this train to Fairyland - only to return in the morning.

Mind you my attempts to appear to him as a fairy in the middle of the night (dressed up in floaty gear and with a wand) - failed singularly. Firstly cos I was giggling so much with deceptive glee and secondly, because even he knew I was way too large to be a fairy. Dang it.

A seminal moment in my life was a brief conversation we had on the stairs once at 14 Locksley Drive. I remember it distinctly. I was standing hanging over the bannister and he was coming up the stairs. I made some comment about Top of the Pops. James looked at me - with awe, awe, I tell you - and said "You know so much about pop music!"

I was being admired by my bro -for being knowledgeable and hip. It was a wonderful moment.

And for sure the only time anyone has ever said that to me about Pop Music. As I actually know almost nothing. Except for an awful lot of Stock, Aitken and Waterman lyrics.

I, in turn, admired and admire my brother for many, many things.

When we were growing up he showed a lot of brains in his academic policy. While I was slogging it out with homework every waking hour and tying myself into mental knots to eek out a score a few percentage points higher - James pretty much relied on his native intelligence, chilled out and still got excellent results.

He could also spend 8 hours a day playing a computer game until he had mastered all the levels, found all the 'cheats' and short cuts and bonuses. Whereas I had trouble operating a joystick to make the little dog with the big nose walk forward. And I never actually understood what I was supposed to be doing. He has always had a rapport with computers - from those early Amstrad days. And that tennis game on the TV where you could alter the size of your bat and the speed of the ball. Ahhh them was technological miracles at the time.

Somehow my bro managed to do a History & Politics degree and yet get a fantastic first job as a computer programmer - an ability which he just managed to pick up by osmosis - a bit of charm - and again that native intelligence. Now he is a polyglot - speaking about 6 different computer languages. Each of which he seems to pick up in a matter of days. Oh and he built a computer from scratch. Dang, he's one clever bloke. And did I mention he can cook?

Yes this is the point where I have to remind you single ladies that he is in fact already married - to the delightful and charming Christa - a sign of his impeccable good taste.

He is also a totally inspired gift giver. Clearly the way to my heart - as the sweeties incidents showed early on. Some of my very favourite things have been given to me by my bro. Including a set of coffee mugs from Harvey Nichols which have travelled the world with me, still in their original box.

But I haven't mentioned to you yet that he is funny. Very, very funny. A very dry sense of humour - stolen from my Dad - and much enjoyed by me.

Kind. Generous. Laid-back. Easy-going. My bro also knows how to enjoy life - and whisks Christa away for a surprise visit to a tennis tournament or to Rome...on regular occassions.

Yep, so he may be tall, dark and handsome. Remarkably clever, witty and likeable - but he definitely isn't heavy.

And he is my brother.

I'm proud of you bro. Happy Birthday!



Blogger yojimbo said...

thank you, thank you..

you've missed out one of my childhood memories however, which is when I wanted to sing along to Rockwell's I always feel like someone is watching me on top of the pops, but my sister wouldn't share her smash hits magazine with me (it had the lyrics in).

Mum's solution was that you had to lend me your magazine for 15 minutes so I could copy the words, however at that age (8??), it was like writing out the Britannica Encyclopedia and I got writers cramp ...

9:44 AM  
Blogger weegeemcschuler said...

oooh errr fizzy pips and Cola cubes (once saved my best friend's life by Himelich removering a cola cube that was lodged in her thrat...she wouldn't let me get her GP mother ...cause she wasn't allowed sweets...I sneaked them in and thus was forced to thrust them out!!. Your brother sounds like a smashing bloke Adeller - but how did he not get the Adele hair? or skin...humm, guess like I didn't get Caroline's height...or fantastic natural ability with little people :0) Happy Birthday James. And Adele, I think that fabulous dress must have been worn to the world's most fabulous wedding and story telling event - smooch!

1:53 AM  
Blogger Adele Richards said...

I used to get Smash Hits???

Must have been a temporar foray into trendiness.

These days my fave mag is Oprah....


5:53 AM  

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