My brother and sister called my parents from Kathmandu this morning. My mother was delighted to hear that her ewe lamb had arrived safely in the Nepalese capital. He asked whether she had got their email and she said no. He began to double check that she had followed all the correct procedures for downloading when my sister snatched the mobile from him, muttering indignantly about the expense of giving this kind of advice on an Indian mobile from Nepal. There’s a good joke there about call centres; fill in the blanks yourselves please.
When my brother headed off to visit my sister in India, I had the following conversation with my mother:
Her: So, he’s off to India this week.
Me: I’m sure he’ll have a great time.
Her: He’s been really fantastic since your father has been ill.
Me: Yes, he has been very good.
Her: To be honest, I’m a little worried about him going.
Me: I can imagine, but Daddy’s on the mend now.
Her: Oh no, not because of me and Daddy but you know, India, it’s so far away and so different.
Me: But, but, your youngest daughter lives there.
Her (defensively): Well, it’s different for your brother, he might get ill.
Me: But, but, she was ill all the time.
Her: Well, your brother is very delicate.
Me: Gasp of outrage.
In conclusion, it is true what they say about Irish mothers and their sons and, apparently, sibling rivalry never really dies.