Cousin Jo

Brudenelle, Aldeburgh, sea bass on black rice, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and opposite, cousin Jo.  Somehow she made my disappointment at lack of materialisation of aspiration acceptable. That you have a dream, she said, when so many don’t, it will keep you driven with vision. Our life parallels, (single, independent, bought up by mother with absent fathers, loved our Aunt Clare), is about to find one more: she will get a puppy dog. Her first question how restricting will she find it? Ah we have this in common too, a fear of being restrained. Is that what has kept us from marriage, kept us self employed, precarious, desirous of change, and an inability to be still for too long?

Some jig saw pieces of our family. Her father, my mothers brother, Eric, a ships chandler, supplier of all material stuff necessary to keep the Hull merchant boats afloat. Although she remembers eating survival biscuits from the stock on the life boats in his Hull office, she has little memory of him being a father. My mother, her god mother, had a somewhat exotic aura. Having escaped the narrow lanes of Cottingham, she always gave unusual gifts for her god daughter. And once made a gingerbred house for Jo. We shared a dislike of our grandmother, she with more cause. Grandfather, evidently a merry and funny man, mostly deaf, was a converted catholic.

Monica, the last of that generation, is now 90, and we hatch a plan to spend time with her this spring, asking the pieces of jigsaw, giving company.



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