Saturday, June 23, 2012

Botanics with the Bro

My brother came up from down south last night and we went together to see Mum in hospital both last night and this afternoon. Then he went home again. This morning, however, he and I were together. Mr Life had gone to Perth to visit Son (and a model railway exhibition). Brother and I went to the Botanics. Edinburgh seems to have been one of the few places in the country not under five feet of water at the moment, though you couldn't describe the weather even here as impressively sunny.

It struck me that this is the first time since - oh, I've no idea - that my brother and I have spent more than a few minutes alone together. We don't see each other that often because he lives near London, and when he's here or we're there, our spouses and usually offspring are around too. I tried to think of when we'd spent eight hours with just each other and came to the conclusion that it was probably - never. When we were children, we got on well but had different interests: he's a scientist and I'm much more into the arts. He's also two years eight months older than I am, which seems quite a lot when you're little. So we co-existed amiably but on the whole separately. Then he went to live in America when he was 23 and some years later he moved to England.

It's odd and (to me) sad that brothers and sisters, who share such a lot of their childhood experiences, are often apart for most of the rest of their lives.

Anyway, it was nice to chat and spend time together.

He played my latest piano piece. He's been playing the piano for over fifty years compared to my six months and I was at first pleased that he made a couple of mistakes. "Aha," I thought, "no wonder I find it hard if even Brother doesn't play it perfectly" (though he was sight-reading, and did add twiddly bits that Bach hadn't quite thought of). And then it occurred to me that if Brother couldn't play it perfectly, I with my 20-minutes-a-day of practice have little chance of dazzling my teacher at my lesson on Tuesday.

In fifty years I would be a hundred and eleven. I fancy I shall no longer be playing the piano by then.

13 comments:

Ali Honey said...

The greens in the background of your photos are vivid and delightful. What a shame we didn't get to visit that lovely garden while in your city.
I think what you experienced with your brother is often the case. Last weekend I spent just a short time with my only sister, but there were so many others around we only chatted on a fairly superficial level. I find a phone conversation much better for getting down to detail. Unfortunately she still doesn't use the internet or I am sure she would hear from me much more frequently( and see lots of photos ).
I hope your Mum is improving.

Jennifer said...

You never know.....in fifty years you just might be still playing!

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

While there are many times that siblings get to have lifelong close relationships, not everyone is so lucky. It is great that you got to have that time with your brother! It seems that there is never enough time with those we love.

Have a good weekend!

Poetrysansonions.blogspot.com

the veg artist said...

I cannot think about the younger of my two brothers without feeling emotional. When he was 19 I was barely 12. My sister was 16. Our father died, leaving us orphans, and without my brother and sister I would have had to go into care. They looked after me until I was 18. This was over 40 years ago, but we still have a bond that remains tight, even though we often go for months without seeing each other despite only living 10 miles apart! He is my yardstick.
Sadly, I never knew my elder brother very well. He was much older again - the war years had meant a long gap. He had left home when I was a baby and had a family of his own soon after.
In what many might assume was a very sad upbringing, I remember a sense of security created by a man who was still only a boy himself.

Jane said...

I rarely see my brother - he lives on the other side of the country, is no longer able to drive and his wife doesn't drive long distances. He doesn't use the internet so we depend on phone calls which are often few and far between, and since a stroke he's difficult to talk to. My sister emigrated to Australia when I was 18 and died there there four years ago - I'd seen her twice in 35 years. I feel I've never really know my siblings as adults - there's a big difference (13 and 11 years) in our ages. I'm eternally grateful that my brother did for my parents what we're now doing for husband's mother and sad that I'm not nearer now but somehow we are still united by a common childhood.

persiflage said...

Siblings relationships vary enormously, it seems. My brothers don't take much trouble to keep in touch, while the contact between the five sisters is much closer and more frequent. Geographical proximity is important.

Mac n' Janet said...

I was never particularly close to either of my sisters growing up, one is 16 months older, the other 3 years younger. We got along, just had nothing much in common. But in the last few years my younger sister and i have gotten very close and it feels so good.
Bach doesn't like me, and quite frankly the feeling is mutual, Wolfgang on the other hand is good for my soul.

Thimbleanna said...

Hey, you never know. I heard a radio report that babies that are being born now could live into the 300's. You playing piano 50 years from now seems a little more likely to me.

Peter CS said...

It probably won't help you to know, but 50 years ago your undersigned brother - who started piano lessons just under 60 years ago - probably would have sight-read it perfectly. Since then he's had two cataract operations and wears varifocal specs - and is 50 years older.

Isabelle said...

So that means that I'll master it in 9 and a half years...

magsmcc said...

Well I don't know Pat- you may well still be singing and playing for your supper given the trend towards longevity and pension pittance! My brother is four years younger than me and I thought I could attribute non-closeness to that. He'll be forty on Friday. Gosh. We spent the day today driving round respective (grand)parents. Families are funny things in adulthood. Ties of closeness though do seem tidal? Ebbing at this time, flowing at that.

VioletSky said...

My brother is almost 10 years older and we didn't really get to know each other until we were adults, although I understand he was very close to me for the first few years (which may be unusual to have a boy so fond of his baby sister?). Then, when my parents died we got much closer and enjoyed each others company a lot. Now we rarely get together which makes the visits almost awkward because of the lack of sharing of insignificant tidbits of our daily lives. I find that very sad and difficult.

Gina E. said...

What a variety of anecdotes about siblings. My brothers are 8 and 10 years older than me, and although we all live within a few miles of each other, we don't see each other except at weddings, funerals, and special anniversaries. We get on okay, but don't have much in common. But your post about spending time alone with your brother struck a chord with me, Isabelle. I spent an afternoon alone with my oldest brother last year, and it was wonderful, just chatting about our past, and our respective families.