Over 10 days ago I packed a small suitcase and headed down to Brighton for a few days. I am still there... no don't fear, I haven't been kidnapped by pirates off the South Eastern coast - I have been kidnapped by good friends and a continually changing diary that's seen my trip continually extend to the point where I had to do an emergency pants wash today in order to avoid eternal emancipation of the cheeks.
Tomorrow I am finally leaving Brighton, but I'm sadly not heading home... not quite. Tomorrow I embark on a mini trip to Cornwall to delight the people of the West Country with my whimsical not-quite-award-winning brand of hilarity.
After Cornwall my tour moves on to Taunton where I will settle for a night in order to wish my father and brother merry birthdays. Then, and only then, will I return to London.
Today is my brother's 16th birthday. I'm really sad that I'm not there to see the actual day... I know it's not the biggest deal in the world as I will see him on Saturday when he will still be 16. But, 16 is a big day to see your brother be.
Having siblings who are much younger than you is like a little opportunity do all the things that you'd ideally like to do to your kids one day but you can't. I truly believe it's the opportunity to get most of it out of your system so that your own children won't be forced to scoop porridge out of their pillow cases while you cackle maniacally in the wardrobe. I've traditionally been very dedicated to any pranks I embark on. I have filled my sister's bed with nuts before - carefully putting them between the sheet and the mattress so that they would only be discovered once she was in the bed. The same sister also very nearly pooped in the bed when I hid under it a full 15 minutes before she went to bed, then waited a good 5 after she'd got in before commencing my shouting and banging from beneath. Excellent.
My brother has been on the receiving end of a fair bit... especially since he developed the most placid personality you could come across. A few weeks ago I almost reduced him to tears whilst he was filling the dishwasher and I was quietly removing everything and stacking it back on the work top. It was only after he'd been continually loading the dish washer for 15 minutes that he turned round with tears in his eyes and asked "Why do you have to be so difficult?".
There was also the time he took a shower and returned to his bedroom and found I'd removed all the components of his bed. I say this proves he spends twice as long in the shower as the average teenage boy.
In honour of his birthday, we ought to talk about the time I knew I would love him until I died. The day, many many moons ago, when the little critter wasn't feeling so good. He took his churning tummy to the toilet and was gone for some time... we all exchanged worried glances. Then, upon returning to the living room, he waddle over to my older sister and whispered some into her ear...
"...My bum's been sick..."
No scriptwriter in the land could capture the innocence and diarrhoea based naivety of this simple phrase. Every maternal instinct in my body, both of them, leapt into action and built up a dry stone wall of adoration for my Gollumesque nerdling of a brother, which has remained intact to this day. We've bonded over many, many poo based anecdotes (I have to say that I have been responsible for quite a few of them), crocodiles called Roy and a good few comedians that I probably shouldn't have been allowing him to watch.
What can I say, Happy Birthday Bro, look forward to being grown ups together when I catch up.