My sister Lynn

I’m the eldest of three girls which gives me  bossing rights over the other two. Today’s my sister Lynn’s birthday and as it’s a landmark birthday her husband asked me to write a short piece about her. He was going to create a bound book chock full of memories  for her to treasure and has been rifling through everyone’s photo albums to find photos to illustrate the book. This is what I wrote.

To be honest it’s hard to know where to start: devoted and loving daughter, long-suffering wife, successful business woman, supportive and loyal friend, promising golfer, generous sister, canny blackjack player, gold-medal winning shopper and sun bather, ideal holiday companion, hostess with the mostest. The list just runs and runs………. Maybe, I should just start at the beginning.

Frankly, I was none too pleased to be getting a playmate. I hadn’t asked for one and I certainly didn’t need one. Having been “Numero Uno” for some years now, I was not keen to share the limelight with anyone. Attempts to soften me up with a replica pram to push my dollies spectacularly failed when I used it as a wheelbarrow.

She was a tiny thing, with a shock of dark hair and big bright blue-green eyes. My first tactic was to frighten her to death. As a consequence, she developed nervous alopecia and all her hair fell out. I next tried squeezing her feet as I simultaneously rocked her in her pram. So, Sis you can thank me for those dainty feet which allow you to pick up spectacular bargains in shoe sales.

An early attempt to drown her in Saguaro, Spain, was foiled by an eagle eyed Mum. Undeterred, I tried ignoring her. I would shut myself in my tent with my toys, marooning her on the outside. She fought back by breaking Tramp, my fluffy corgi dog. This was war!

I recently revisited Laiguealia, the scene of our first family holiday in Italy and where I attempted to push Lynn out to sea in our red and white plastic kayak. Little did I know that the tide had turned, she kept coming back. I tried that tactic the following year in Torquay, with the same result. I am nothing if not persistent.

I remember rounding on her angrily in Stratford-Upon-Avon one day when her antics had curtailed what would have been a pleasant day out culminating in afternoon tea at The Welcome. I recall saying that life hadn’t been fun since she turned up. You have to understand, Lynn was not a pleasure to take out. She would scream all the way to our destination and then promptly fall asleep on arrival. In restaurants, she would bang on her high chair table and demand her lunch. She was a faddy eater wanting only fish and chips, ham salad, or more correctly ham and beetroot, or Spaghetti Bolognese. She even pined when Mum and Dad went on holiday to Switzerland and they had to cut short their vacation to return.

As soon as we had separate bedrooms, I put a lock and chain on my wardrobe to stop her “borrowing” stuff. Frankly, if she got her hands on anything, you would never want to use it again, even if you could. I didn’t like sharing then and I don’t even today. When I went to university, the lock and chain were passed on to my youngest sister.

Given our rocky start, it’s a wonder she even speaks to me let alone spends time in my company. But time and distance lend perspective. We’re now good friends and I truly appreciate the support both she and her husband give to Mum and Dad, indeed to all our family. She once bought me a cushion which said “Happiness is having a large, loving family in another city”. I’m very lucky to have a sister who understands me.

Mission accomplished

You may recall that my modest ambition for La Ronde was to be lapped fewer times than last year.  The circuit starts and finishes with a climb which takes in three left hand turns, two at roundabouts.  I was dropped by the peloton just before the finish line on the first of nine circuits, again an improvement on last year.

Unfortunately, this year it was both hotter and windier, so being able to stay in the peloton would have been a big advantage, if only for a few circuits. Nonetheless, I ploughed on alone, only pulling over when being overtaken, so as not to hinder any of the faster riders ie everyone else.  But they only overtook me TWICE.

To keep myself amused while riding on my own I tried to recall all 37 hit tunes from the Abba greatest hits album which my better half had played over and over again the previous day. I managed all 37, but then I do have an elephantine memory.

Of course, one advantage of riding on one’s own is that you get loads of encouragement from your clubmates, course officials and general spectators. The president elect (and my partner from The Gentleman)  used the megaphone to encourage me every time I approached the finish line.  I even heard one small spectator tell his Dad that it was just like watching The Tour!

La Ronde winners
La Ronde winners

After the race, I doubled up as a podium girl. I’m at an age where I never pass up an opportunity to kiss a few fit, young guys. I even muscled in on the winners photo which was published in our local newspaper. For information, the gentleman clutching my hand is a team mate who’s kindly helping me with my fund raising.