It's sort of hard to write you a letter when I don't know where you are - so this is my 'into the ether' letter to you.
There are times in your life when you love your brother, and times when siblings fight like cat and dog. When young we did have our fall-outs (I still remember the plasticine airplanes with pins in the end, and I'm sure you remember me hitting you over the head with a cricket bat), but mostly - it's having a friend who has shared some of your earliest memories.
We are still living in the same place, so you know where we are. I know you were last in Cornwall, and we did try to find you a couple of times, but without success. I guess I want to talk to you now because when old friends pass away, it does make you nostalgic.
Pam passed away last month at 87! Not bad going, eh? She didn't have a great time the last few years, but Sally regularly went to visit her and stayed in that huge house in Temple Fortune. Pam was born in that house - I know she wanted to die there, but they took her to hospital with a stroke and then after two weeks pneumonia got her. Yet another one who went into that particular hospital in London and never came out. I seem to have quite a collection of friends/relatives who make that their last stop.
She was born in that house, and never moved out though I'm sure lots of people would have rather seen her in a care-environment than struggling with those stairs and that kitchen in her less-mobile years. There is still the huge piano, I guess her cousin, Evelyn, will have to work out what to do with that! It must be in the will somewhere. It was a Bechstein, a lovely huge great thing.
She did play almost up to the end - but when she couldn't play properly any more it upset her so much she stopped.
Quite a few of our senior friends and family have passed away since we last talked - and it's been odd not to have you at the funeral. Angela went into hospital for a heart op (which she didn't come out from)a few years back and on the trolley going into theatre she said 'I could make a nice cocktail dress out of this' whilst looking at her hospital gown. That was SO Angela!
But this isn't a letter about telling you all the folks who have died (there have been plenty, but that's not surprising at our age, the next generation up are slowly filing out).
The kids are growing - in fact I can't call them kids any more. Alex is 19 and off to Uni. He's going to Lampeter where Phoebe went. And Mel is 16, studying for her A Levels at 6th form college.
Life is, as ever, full of changes. Shave the Monkey are doing another reunion next year (just two gigs in February), I'm playing with my music partner in Tu still, and hoping to get together with another guy to add bass to his rockier gigs at some point. If only I can find the time!
Well, time to start work now so I'll add more to this later. Maybe one day - you will actually read this. In which case, hey Phil, I miss you.