I knew that it was unconventional to take one’s sibling to a school management meeting, but now that mine worked at the University (albeit in a different department), I thought that I would get away with it.
SS glanced over and clocked JMH. I introduced my sister as a new lecturer in pharmacology. JMH corrected me, explaining that her title was ‘lecturer in life sciences’. SS acknowledged our academic gate-crasher, but did not insist that she leave. Instead she showed me a scrap book in which she had made notes for the meeting. Here were some scribbles made by her children. I also saw my name scored out next to a paragraph of illegible text. I wondered what had been planned for me, and why the plans had changed.
After the meeting my sister and I walked to Holy Island with TPR tagging along behind us. The tide was coming in as we reached the causeway, but that did not deter us. We strode out and walked steadily through the rising water, with a few stops along the way for me to admire the view. I considered taking photos of the red ships in the distance to the north against the brilliant blue of the sea and the sky.
When we finally arrived at my sister’s house I was shocked at the state of the peeling black paintwork on the front door, and the untidy briary bushes that obstructed the path. However, once inside, where we were greeted by my mother, I was open-mouthed at the glorious interior of the enormous wood-panelled rooms decorated with original art work.
How would my sister manage the upkeep of this magnificent mansion in the long-term? Who would ever be rich enough to buy it from her when the time came to sell?