Hazy, Crazy, Almost Fonzie-less Days

Circa 1980 - I'm the blonde girl... and so is Barry. (He's on the right in the Fonzie T Shirt).

I’d like to dedicate this week’s blog to my big brother Barry, who made me cry yesterday – and not in the same way as when he inadvertently smacked me in the head with a bat in a playground game of cricket almost thirty years ago. These were tears of joy, not, “I wonder if I’ll ever see another episode of Happy Days again?” tears.

If you have been following my blog you will know about my recent war with www.dhgate.com over a monstrosity of a dress they sold me that I wouldn’t wear for weeding, never mind my forthcoming wedding. You will also know that my brother chipped in with a final hour loan to help me get a 2nd hand and gorgeously perfect replacement.

In recent months, my intended and I have sold Granny and her furniture to make our small and simple ceremony in the Highlands go ahead as planned. There has been some tearing out of hair, wobbles, tears and hiccups abound; who needs a hen night?

And today, with just three weeks of planning and budgeting left, this was the simple text from my brother which reduced me to tears:

“So, would you like to keep the money I lent you for a wedding present or would you prefer a toaster?”

The tears began after I read it out to the family and my 15 year old son quipped,

“Well, we do need a new toaster…”

Then, after we’d all stopped giggling and the kids carried on their debate about who among them has the biggest head, (yes, Question Time in our house is rather different to the BBC version), I gulped. Wow. Was this the same person that introduced me to fear of certain death at the age of eleven, by telling me a packet of Maltesers I had just eaten that had holes in had been injected with poison? Tee hee Barry, that was funny (not). And my first experience of a 24 hour panic attack. The second being after my eldest daughter told me she was “getting Spanx” for a family party. Well, I never watch Trinny and Susannah…

A family holiday snap, circa 1989

I’ve always looked up to my brother; granted because I’m just 5ft and he has a few respectable inches more (steady!) and not forgetting my two other, equally great brothers – one of whom is a taxi driver in my local town and regularly drives me around with the clock switched off. Which is great, except I never know what time I’m arriving 😉 The other is one of the funniest guys I know but whatever you do, don’t tell him. He really isn’t physically fit enough to carry around a bigger head than the one he’s got!

Like myself, Barry gave up his secure job to follow his passion, which in his case is videography, in a partnership with his lovely wife, Tracey. So in the true spirit of family and thanks, it is only apt to offer a mention to their wonderful and thriving business here: http://midway-media.com/

And yes, whilst Barry is giving me away, Tracey will be filming my wedding.

In truth, Barry has always been there to pull me out of a fix, from our childhood days when I decided to test the depth of the dark bit when paddling in the river, to the night my eldest discovered alcohol and decided a shoeless street wander would be fun.   Not to mention the days I badly wanted to be a ‘popstar,’ when he attended all my gigs with a local band and his encouragement with my current drop-everything-and-go-for-it writing attempts.  It was Barry who recently gave me back a long lost book I wrote for children a few years ago, that I myself had binned after it was rejected by around eight publishers.  Yes, back then I gave up after just eight 🙂  He had it saved on his computer and sent it back to me, perfectly reserved, when I had a whim to rework it and try again.

Families are full of individual characters that may have grown and gone their own way into families of their own, and although you couldn’t possibly see eye to eye with all of them all of the time, these are the people in your life that remain the same, when everything around you is constantly changing. The folks that can not only make you remember where you came from, but how you got to where you are today, and who’s coat you stole to keep warm on the way.  (Avoid that last lot at ALL costs…)  For the lucky ones, this can bring home happy memories from time to time. I like to imagine that no matter what your circumstances, if you dig deep enough, you can find these.

80's Pop me. One half of a pair of backing vocalists singing in Pepsi & Shirley stylee

I recall a night on a family holiday that Barry will have long forgotten, when, in the midst of our childhood period of endless squabbles – that led our Mum to the conclusion that we couldn’t be in the same room together – he hung his arm over the top bunk to me in the bottom bunk, which must have hurt, and held my hand when I was scared and couldn’t sleep.

As an adult, I never thought he would do that again.

He did yesterday.



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