I spent Christmas at Home with my family in 2012, for the first time in about five or six years. It was an absolute joy being amongst people so like-minded, whom you have that connection with which will never fade. That wonderful level of understanding. Having an impromptu holiday of two weeks is just wonderful, and I didn’t even succumb to the temptation to do work while I was there. To keep that at bay, I did do a little exercise in procrastination. I give you, 25 things about my family:
1. My mum was an editor of a TEFL magazine, and a TEFL teacher. She tried going back to teaching English in the last several years, but the updated training was quite dragged-out. I think what topped it off was her placement in the local secondary school. The place where my year 5 induction day saw chips and doughnuts for lunch, and a group of us being shut in the sandpit. (Who has a sandpit at a secondary school anyway?)
2. My great grandmother was Thai. My mum went on a sort of month-long pilgrimage to Thailand to see what it was all about a few years ago, and I’d like to do the same one day.
3. I think my brother is the best man I’ve ever met. Not the baby one, he hasn’t proved himself yet, but the only-slightly-younger one. I tend to measure people (men, at least) against him. Sense of humour, spirituality, maturity. We’re in tune.
4. My brothers’ names lend themselves very well to Winnie The Pooh shortenings; Reuben = Roo, Tiernan (meaning ‘Tiger man’, apparently) = Tigger. I suppose that makes me Eyeore.
5. Every one of us (except my brother) seems to have a kind of inferiority complex and a slight bitterness about being working class.
6. Every one of us has been cheated on.
7. My dad, predictably, hates my tattoo.
8. My brother talks to me when he’s serious about love. I appreciate it.
9. My mum believes in fairies and the Catholic Saints. To this day, Saint Anthony works for me for finding lost things.
10. My dad’s worst habit is saying, “Um…” as you’re leaving the room, and then making you wait once you’ve come back, before he finishes the sentence.
11. My brother has a Forest of Dean accent, while my parents and I have pretty non-regional ones.
12. My auntie apparently practices a form of witchcraft.
13. My other auntie was adopted. She and her husband dine with Charles and Camilla.
14. My mum has written hundreds of poems, which she has never shown to many, if any, people.
15. My step-mum’s cousins are The Magic Numbers.
16. My mum uses text slang. It makes me feel sick.
17. My parents were always older than of all my friends’ parents, but people always commented on how young they looked.
18. One year, we all stood in my grandparents’ back garden, along with quite a gathering of their friends, in Cradley Heath, to watch two blocks of flats get blown up. I think someone even filmed it.
19. To my knowledge, I am the first one interested in theatre, or the arts at all as a career.
20. I was supposed to be a Clark. Both my parents changed their names when marrying, and took the name of my grandmother’s maiden name, because they liked it.
21. My maternal grandmother wrote, and published under a pseudonym which was her real name spelt backwards. She consequently got fan mail addressed to, “Our little Indian writer, Duam Semaj”.
22. My dad always grew vegetables, in London and in the Forest, and cooked with his homegrown produce, which was always delicious.
23. My parents ran an alternative health practise together in London. Ben Elton came and interviewed them once, and made fun of it.
24. My mum’s sister is the head of what I deem a perfect family unit.
25. My mum’s first heard words were apparently, “Oh botheration with you!” Up till that moment she had stayed silent in front of her parents, but had been coming home and teaching her younger sister what she had been taught in school each day. This was in response to my auntie not understanding the current lesson.