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

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Manager - Alconbury

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for an Engineering M...

Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the old Palace of Westminster; Batman vs Superman; and more Greenery

John Rentoul
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee