So Ad Man’s younger bro and his wife Bee came to stay this weekend..
Little Bro is a couple of years younger than Ad Man, at 32, and married his equally young and pretty wife Bee just last year. We only get to see them twice a year though, and then usually it’s with all the family around, so I still don’t feel I’ve had a chance to get to know Bee that well. Also Ad Man is rubbish providing me with any of the sort of details that I like to know when I meet someone.
“How old is she?” Him: “Um, dunno.”
Where’s she from? Him: “Um Bedford, no, Cornwall – um dunno, really.”
“What’s she into?” Him: “Well, she works part-time in a surf shop”
“A surf shop..but they live in landlocked Coventry??!! Are you sure?” Him: “Um, dunno, I think so.”
He also conveniently forgets that on Friday night he’s at some client event – supposedly “working”, but as the 'do' is at London Zoo, it’s clearly more of a jolly than a tough business meeting. Mmmmm. But there’s nothing I can do about it, so I’m home alone when Little Bro and Bee arrive.
Actually, it’s lovely. They turn up with flowers and beer (good start) and we end up settling into a comfortable evening on the sofa with a bottle of wine, and having a good chin wag. Well, Little Bro and I do, but Bee is a bit more reserved.
Bee’s looking great in pale grey skinny jeans, a t-shirt and a little diamond nose piercing. She is also looking very fresh for a Friday night at 10pm, but then, when you’re 40-something like I am, and had a tough, busy week, EVERYONE looks fresher and younger. Still, when the topic of significant birthdays comes up, I can’t help but take the plunge and ask if it’s her thirtieth this year.
“Ha!” says little Bro, and collapses into giggles, while Bee just smiles: “I’m 26”.
“Christ!” I splutter into my wine. “Really?”
Little Bro nods smugly. The words 'cat' and 'cream' come to mind.
Twenty six? The grim facts slowly began to sink in. That makes her 10 years younger than Ad Man and 20 years younger than me! So, when she was born, I was already in my second year at university.. in fact that makes her only eight years older than my daughter. No wonder she looks fresh – she’s practically just hatched!
“Yes, you’re old enough to be her mother,” Ad Man helpfully points out in bed later, when I fill him in on the evening's events.. I just sigh mournfully. He is completely unfazed by the revelation (bless him) but for me, it puts an entirely new spin on the weekend.
The next morning we head into Winchester, and because they’ve never been there before, we take them on a little tourist trail of its landmarks - such as Arthur’s Round Table, and the water meadows. They seem happy enough, but I’m constantly worried that Bee is bored.
Ad Man has a press discount card for a yummy mummy type of store in the city centre but, even then, my excitement at getting 40% off beautiful floral flocks is somewhat dampened by the way Bee, in her leggings and tunic, looks such a fish out of water surrounded by the tweeds, padded gilets and cotton prints. While I’m prancing around the shop with unbridled enthusiasm, she fingers a few pieces with little interest.
“Don’t worry,” Ad Man reassures me. “She’s fine, really.”
And of course he was right. That night we light up the BBQ. It’s a beautiful evening, the bunting is fluttering above us, and the candles twinkling on the table. We have a couple of beers, and out come the guitars. .
Little Bro is a brilliantly talented guitarist and can immediately pick out any tune, while Ad Man is happy to take the bass line. Before I know it, we are all singing along as Little Bro and Ad Man strum. I’m in my element, and seeing Bee smiling and laughing alongside me, she seems to be too. It's then that I realise that the tunes we are all singing aren’t from this decade, or even the last.. It’s old timers James Taylor and Carole King who are getting us all humming together.
The fact that Taylor and King must be at least sixty-something these days, and substantially older than ANY of us sitting around the table, is completely irrelevant – the harmonies are still beautiful. And of course that’s all that’s important. I somehow feel that Bee and I will be fine after all.