As Christmas is a time of family, I thought I would introduce mine.
My Other HalfI met RR in a gorgeous cafe called The European the day after I'd finished writing a novel about looking for love. (Is that serendipity, or what?) He bought me a G&T, I told him a dirty joke about a Scotsman, and they rest, as they say, is a mystery.
It's a wonder we ever got together, however, since we are as different as Liberal and Labour. He works in government/politics; I am a writer. He likes hunting; I am an animal lover. He loathes planes; I spent a lot of time travelling on them. He loves listening to politics; I loathe it (the result of interviewing a certain Australian prime minister several years ago). And he hates reading, whereas I adore libraries.
Not only that, he likes ACDC, Metallica and a lot of other bands who sing songs I can't understand. I, on the other hand, prefer classic 1970's music: Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison and even Neil Diamond. (Yes, I know, I must be the only girl under 42 who does.) I'm not quite sure how it all works but it does. Probably because he's lovely.
We are not married yet because I am dragging my heels with the reticence of Julia Roberts. We were meant to have married this month but, well, life intervened and I postponed it. We're now aiming for May 2012. It will be an elopement. I will wear my grandmother's pearl ring, my Chanel bracelet, and a home-made suit with whatever fabric I can find in the fabric closet. I've already had a big wedding in my life and the marriage didn't go too well. I don't want to jinx this one.
My ParentsMy parents, Ross and Jenny, are lovely, but they're not like normal parents. They're what you'd call Extreme Adventurers. One journalist wrote that they like to take the Department of Foreign Affairs warnings and create travel itineraries out of them. It's not quite right, but it's not far off the mark. In the last two decades they've travelled through two wars, a tornado and a cyclone, and narrowly missed perishing aboard a sinking ferry on Peru's Lake Titicaca. They've travelled through South America, Patagonia, the Galápagos Islands, Alaska, Africa, the Arctic Circle and the Outback more times than I can count, and have traversed Europe and the US so much they know most of the plane timetables off by heart.
I've had the privilege of travelling with them several times but I can tell you it's not easy. For a start, they're both former school principals, so it's a little like travelling with, well, former school principals. We travelled through the US a few years ago and I felt like I had to write an essay at the end of every day. But I love them. They're smart, funny, witty, kind, and still correct my grammar. How could you not?
Alex, Meg, Gemma, Shae and AbbeyWe have five girls in our family. (Or we thought we did, until two more grandchildren popped up this year that we didn't know about. But that's a story for another day.) We love all of them. It's difficult raising girls in this day and age, but these ones have turned out to be lovely. My sisters-in-law are the true stars. I don't know that I would have been as good at being a mother as they have been.
Cooper and CocoWe tried IVF last year and stopped. It was too demoralising. So these puppies are our substitutes. And boy, do they take just as much work! (Tip: Don't get a Jack Russell. Your life will consist of one long marathon chasing after it.) So far they have chewed through an iPhone, a iPod, an expensive lamp, Christian Louboutin shoes, two vintage picnic baskets, a first edition book, my favourite Panama hat and assorted clothes. Including two much-loved Armani outfits. They will eat anything, even the ugly slugs that drown in the beer traps left out in the garden overnight. They test our patience, and they steal all the space in the bed. But – like the rest of the family – we adore them. Slugs and all
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas this year.
With warmest regards from ours.
With warmest regards from ours.