Hello! I’m back!
I missed my last week-or-so of posting because I was staying in my grandfather’s house, which has neither an internet connection nor a computer to write on. Shockingly, I did not die due a lack of screens (though I came close).
I love spending time at my grandfather’s house. He lives in a tiny little village in Somerset, on the farm he owns with my uncle. My uncle lives with his family in a house attached to my grandfather’s house, which used to be a mill.
My uncle has two daughters, Izzy and George. These are the cousins I grew up with, so I’m as close with them as I am with my mother and sister. However, because for the past few years I have only seen them for a week every couple of months, they seem to be growing up with the sped-up quality of a stop-motion animation. One minute, they’re begging a 12-year-old Tabitha not to turn into a grumpy teenager like her sister did (a phase she has now passed through and come out the other side of, thank heavens). The next minute George, the younger of the two, is about to turn 13 herself.
Despite being 12 years old, George is more similar to me than anyone I have ever met (though I hope that she is not too much like me – to see her develop mental health issues like I have over the years is just about the worst thing I could possibly imagine. Because of this, I may be slightly overprotective of her.) A regular mini-me, she loves rock music, sci-fi and horror movies, reading, camping, pretty much everything I love. I’m thrilled to call her my cousin.
George and another girl that lives in the village are at that odd age of both knowing and not-knowing when it comes to the facts of life. This means that at every given opportunity, they make giggling remarks like “that sounds dirty!” before arguing over whether or not it did sound dirty, and if so how it sounded dirty, and if not how it could be changed to make it sound dirty. More often than not, the things that they decide do sound dirty do not sound dirty at all, but I don’t really bother telling them that. Whatever makes them happy, right? It also means that my baby cousin, who is six years younger than me, has had more boyfriends than I have. That’s just depressing.
The downside of this fascination is, of course, when they get things right. On several occasions, they have appalled me with real dirty jokes. In some instances, they seem to have more knowledge on these subjects than I do (which I guess is unsurprising – “sex ed” in a tiny school in the middle of the Irish countryside is never going to be all-inclusive). It’s scary how these young girls can so quickly switch between making these references and pretending to teach their stuffed toys about multiplication and division.
(I’m taking a break here to go to Tesco to buy my student supper of baked beans and bread. Unimportant information, but there you have it.)
Izzy, on the other hand, is 15 years old and I have finally accepted that she is a teenager. It only took two years (well, almost 3)! She’s finally got through her early-teenage phase of obsessing over sex and “hot” boys, and has settled down into just being her. It’s great, because she’s one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. She jokes that she and her friends are all dreadfully immature, just running about and being silly rather than talking about boys and makeup and all of that stuff, but really I think that she’s very mature. Certainly, her mental age is higher than my own.
I can’t wait to go and visit them as soon as possible (though it could possibly be as late as July). The pair of them are growing up so quickly, I sometimes worry that they’ll soon be older than me. But through all the jokes and the boys and the worries that this and that and the other might be “dirty”, I can’t help but see them as the kids that I grew up with.