Familial communication

Since my parents moved to Ireland six years ago, actual, in the flesh family gatherings have been limited to Christmas and special family occasions – weddings, relatives’ significant birthdays, graduations etc – and I get over to Belfast once or twice a year, but usually separate from my sister (so we can spread the joy of daughter visits a bit further). As a result we’ve developed a cunning variety of tag-team family contact, in which none of us are all together simultaneously, but manage to see pretty much everyone in a short period of time, something both my father and I will be managing in the course of the next week or so.

Tuesday night witnessed the closest my family gets to a four-way conversation these days. My father and I were sat together on a bus, he was on the phone to my mother (in Nottingham) and I was on the phone to my sister (in Tewks). A conversation about a friend’s GCSE results went like this:

Mum to Dad: Does Mim know what Meredith’s results were like? 
Dad to me: Your Mum wants to know if Mim knows Meredith’s results?
Me to Mim: What did Meredith get?
Mim to me: One A*, some As, a couple of Bs and a C
Me to Dad: One A*, some As, a couple of Bs and a C
Dad to Mum: One A*, some As, a couple of Bs and a C
Goodness only knows what the people around us thought about this ridiculous carry on! 
This week my Dad’s been staying with me, having a few days of being a tourist in London. Initially I laughed when I heard that his idea of London fun involved at least two libraries (the British Library and my very own Hogwarts – Dr Williams Library) and a lot of walking. It was only last night, while comparing our library cards, that I realised I really am a chip off the old block. [He’s the first person I rang when I was gifted a three-year ticket to the BL instead of the usual one-year, courtesy of my business card that proved I was indeed a ‘professional’ researcher!]

Our similarity was cemented with his choice of pub. We’d agreed to meet in London Bridge and I had a plan to take him to The George Inn – one of London’s oldest pubs – because I figured he’d appreciate the history and it’s opposite a branch of my favourite Turkish restaurant. When I rang him (in the midst of torrential rain) it turned out he was sheltering in a pub, the The George Inn to be precise – spooky! Those that know me well may also be amused to hear that he’d thought to look up the London Bridge area in the Good Pub Guide while browsing in Waterstones – always a researcher… 

Having said all that, given that he has a beard and bears an uncanny resemblance to Gerry Adams, the similarities end with libraries, pubs and research. 


  1. I absolutely love love love libraries. I’m not a religious person but walking into a library feels to me as I imagine others (with a faith) must feel when walking into a place of worship.

    I don’t know why I didn’t do research – well I did a bit at one point – but why I didn’t pursue it… I’ll never know.

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