My brother Chris and I sometimes seem like opposite sides of the same coin. I reacted and left home as soon as I could and he stayed. Except for long cycling holidays and the years when he was in Worcester training to be a teacher he has always lived in the family home and still does. His schooling, like mine, was something of a disaster and straight after his A Levels he began a printing apprenticeship. In his late twenties he handed in his notice and took a job at the local Co-op so that he could repeat his A levels. His results then and at Worcester Teacher Training College were outstanding and he went on to become a brilliant junior teacher, always creative and fully engaged with his classes. Moving back to Earl Shilton and working in schools within cycling distance, his life continued to centre around home…digging the garden, ringing the bells etc, a continuum of our early life.
His life had stability at the centre of a network of neighbours, family and friends, a stability that my life lacked. With one or two unavoidable gaps he has visited Ireland every year since 1974. Chris never married but he has loved and been loved. We have learned not to talk about politics and at times our differences have caused some strife (usually because of my intolerance) but we love one another dearly.