Cousin Christine is down visiting us ‘southern’ folk. Crikey she’s been one of those folk to avoid of late and now she’s turned up to ‘visit’ and staying at the towers for the foreseeable. All very disagreeable. It wasn’t always like that though. When we were all ‘ickle’ and lived nearby each other in Gravesend, we got along wonderfully. The best of mates regardless of gender or age. Aaahhh, waves of happy nostalgia are washing over allatsea as he writes.
Then little by little and one by one we started to grow up and apart. This is normal. Yours truly wandered off to be a sailor, bother allatsea also wandered off to be sailor (albeit with that part time lot in the Andrew) and Christine it seems, wandered off and took a profession that, erm, shall we say, catered for sailors. Catering for sailors as in hanging round the docks and keeping them ‘company’. Very often for quite ‘short times’ they say. Well, see no evil and speak no evil, each to his own and, frankly, thank god there are ladies like Christine.
That said, as the years went by, Christine honed her skills and being a bonny looking if foul mouthed kind of bird, ‘moved up the ladder’. A comfortable home, a doting if rather errant chap in tow and a move North followed. And there it might have stayed, a gentle and happy life for her and her bloke. Then as this shite thing called life is wont to do when you think all is swimming along nicely, it all went tits up. Her chap became ill with cancer and died pretty much soon after he was diagnosed. Christine, for all her apparent hardness and resolve took it all rather badly and turned to drink and cheap thrills. Dalliances with terminal arseholes, neer do wells, general scum, even at one point, going with a trade unionist (the shame, the shame) brought her to poverty and homelessness. With no children to offer her a place to stay she took to visiting her long lost cousins. At the towers, we were (readers, our family was large, there are dozens of cousins) about half way along the visiting list, hence our recent ‘arrival’. Reports from previous ‘recipients’ of her visitations have not been glowing in their praise or enthusiastic of the experience. We at the towers were reather hoping that we’d get ‘left’ off the list. No such luck.
So, she’s here. All long legs, prominent tum, a wobbly chest and endless tales of woe. It can put a chap off his breakfast there’s no doubt about that. And his lunch.
What to do folks, what to do?