A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog enthusing about the energy, creativity and sheer joie de vivre of my three sisters, Gill, Ginge (who’s really called Christine and who’s never been Ginger but that’s what we call her), and the youngest, Lesley. I wrote of their extensive charity work and the way they manage to enjoy nearly everything they do. I also wrote about the cake Lesley, the youngest one, made for my birthday and, last weekend, she repeated the exercise for Gill.
I won’t bore you by describing the evening itself, spent in the rooms of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club overlooking Plymouth Sound and dancing to a terrific band. It was boozy and happy, but you had to be there. On the other hand, once again, the cake deserves to be acknowledged, summarising as it does the essence of Gill’s pleasures, pastimes and interests. The picture doesn’t do it justice so I’ll just give a few details. The figure lying in her beloved garden with its palm trees and other plants, each of which represents a specific anecdote or memory, is Gill. She’s reading a tiny book through even tinier glasses, both made, as is everything else in the picture, by Lesley. The book has readable text in it, as does the card on the table beside her and the choir book on the nearby hammock (the 3 sisters sing in a choir). She likes cricket, hence the stumps and ball, but the pièce de résistance is the knitting. Gill is a highly skilled knitter, so Lesley actually knitted a few rows of cotton thread using cocktail sticks as needles. On top of all this, she compiled a terrific photo album chronicling umpteen phases of Gill’s life and still had time to get all the family to record themselves in various guises and locations miming to songs from South Pacific. She then edited the footage into a compilation video which was unveiled during the party.
And, just to give you an idea of how much work that editing entailed, the family consists of 6 adults and 3 spouses (or should that be spice?), 14 children and 9 spice, and 15 grandchildren – a grand total of 47, all but 14 of whom sent videos to Lesley. The evening was a joy for Gill and a triumph for Lesley. It also managed somehow to raise £543 for charity.
And Lesley was rewarded just a few days later by tripping, crushing a bone and being taken to hospital. Walking is now very painful and she may have to miss a planned trip to China. God must have been looking after a golfer, a footballer, or a Republican candidate at the time.