Donald MacInnes: The ups and downs of having very distant relations

FreeView from the editors at i

Share

The best way to illustrate my family is with a spider's web. Not to suggest my family attracts flies, you understand; it's more a way of alluding to its inter-connectivity.

Better still would be a web from that experiment where scientists gave spiders various substances to see how their silky skills were affected. Some were given caffeine, some marijuana, others LSD and so on, producing results which have delighted students ever since. ("Look at the one on acid! He's all over the shop!")

The web which best represents my family would be that produced by the spider wearing the Bob Marley T-shirt (if you get my drift), in that it would be a bit higgledy-piggledy and, well, threadbare. Without wishing to evoke the sound of a distant, tear-stained Romany violin, I should explain that, since my Mum passed away three years ago, my family really only consists of me and my sister, who lives near Miami, so popping round for a cuppa and a Kit-Kat is troublesome.

Regular readers of my Saturday i column will know that I visited my sister in December, but such trips give new meaning to "fleeting".

Since she's been there, I have visited maybe 15 times. And, given that I spend much of each visit swinging on a hammock as she takes the kids to baseball/piano lessons/cheerleading practice, there's little time to build the kind of day-to-day conversational shorthand which my girlfriend enjoys with her large, London-based clan.

But I'm guessing many of you have relatives far from you, so far be it from me to fish for sympathy.

Anyway, I don't really know anything different, so any yearning for a present, bolstering family is never strong. In the same way that I didn't have a father around for most of my childhood (there's that violin again...), I have only really known my sister as a voice on the phone. With a two-second delay. Yes, she was around when we were kids, but siblings fight as regularly as they breathe air, at least until they get old enough to realise how much they need each other. And it was just when this co-dependence was dawning on us that she climbed onto a plane, not to return.

But you have to be philosophical. It is what it is. I spoke to her last night and we laughed like drains, so no sense moaning.

At least spiders in London are smaller than spiders in Florida.

i@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone