My very first memory is age two going into my parents bedroom to see the new baby. I remember she was all red and squealed like a little pig. My brother Simon and I weren’t impressed. At least not at first. But we quickly took a shine to her. You would be hard pressed to find a nicer, kinder, more generous person than my sister Andrea. As a little girl, she had a guilelessness and slightly otherworldly innocence to her. My brother and I were a pair of rowdies forever breaking windows playing football, tag and snooker. In fact we broke so many we were scared to fess up. But there was no hope of subterfuge. One time Andrea perched herself on the couch next to dad and asked matter of factly: ‘How much does a new window cost?’ You could see the steam coming out of his ears when the penny dropped.
We felt sure that when Andrea went to university, she would be eaten alive by the more wiley students. So imagine our shock when she returned home three months later with her hair backcombed like Siouxsie Sioux (of Siouxsie and the Banshees), wearing pirate style 80s New Romantic garb and with a string of handsome young men in tow. She is a bee charmer – animals and humans adore her, and for good reason. Andrea is my best friend. She has been there for me throughout my life. Her door and the door to her heart are always open. Please send her love this weekend. She is having what we hope is a minor operation. I am flying out on monday to spend some time with her as she recuperates. There is nowhere I would rather be than at her side.