My brother

Earlier this month, my brother and his girlfriend came for a visit. It was Jacob’s first time skiing, and I think everyone would agree that he is a natural, going from this…

to this…

…in less than a fortnight.

It meant a lot to me for Jacob to see this valley and I hope that he has some happy memories of it. I certainly have happy memories of him, here; little vignettes that I can call up in my mind when I miss him. Jacob upright in a chair, an open book in one hand while the fingers of the other play with his whisky glass. Jacob with his sleeves rolled up, stirring leeks or drying dishes. (I note that he has been the only one of our male guests to help out at all in the kitchen! In fact, he is a super cook.) Jacob with a wide grin on his face and hair flying back from his forehead as he zooms down piste after piste. Jacob belting out Toto’s Africa at the karaoke bar with our friend Claire.

At Dad’s funeral, Uncle Peter said that theirs’ had been a small family, and it had just got even smaller. Ours’ was a small family, too, and now there are just the two of us, but the truth is that we didn’t see as much of each other as we really should have while we were both living in London and one of the great pleasures of his stay was having the chance to spend time together.

Despite the fun we had on the mountain, I think my favourite part of the day was the evening; hearty meals and red wine would yield to peppermint tea and all of us curled up under blankets, drifting off as we half watched movies.

This is my dream. Jacob and his family at our chalet here, his children learning to ski with their cousins. Mine and Ben’s family at Jacob’s home in the Cotswolds, our children eating the strawberries and broad beans from his garden. Writers, somehow. I think we should consider ourselves lucky that we have both found our corners of the world where we can feel at peace.

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