Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Friends and Relations

When I was a child, I didn't really treat friendships very seriously. I was revoltingly fickle, in fact, if the truth be known. The reason was, I think, (excuses, excuses), that I had heaps of cousins. Every holiday, we would be packed off to stay with one or other lot of them, and it seemed to me that my bonds with them were infinitely more enduring and authentic than my schoolyard friendships, which were usually based on flimsy pretexts such as needing someone else to hold the end of the skipping rope.

Cousins, it seems to me, are also the best of all family - or, to use the term my anthropologist friends are fond of, 'kinship' - relations. They are not so close that there are no holds barred when fights break out, but still permanent, tied by blood, known since birth, part of one's life through thick and thin.

What prompted this apparently pointless meander through my unoriginal views on the value of this particular kind of relation (and, of course, there's nothing particular about cousins - indeed, everyone in the world is probably ultimately a very distant cousin of everyone else) was the visit I've just made to some of my favourite cousins. They live in a lovely part of Devon, and while I was there I went for a short walk:


  1. Couldn't agree more with Chris. Those photos are beautiful. I especially like the photo of the jumble of dead branches. Looks like a dinosaur graveyard, somehow.

  2. How lovely. And now I wish I had more cousons

  3. Having been blessed with neither cousins nor siblings no aunts and only one lousy uncle, I am forced to resort to cats. Devon's lovely, isn't it.

  4. Thanks, Chris, Genius, Nurse and Gadjo. Devon is lovely, but for some reason the part of England I especially love is East Anglia. It may be because one of the few summers we didn't spend with cousins was spent in Suffolk, where I would bicycle down to the post office and buy sweets and then spend the rest of the day lying on the ground reading books and sucking sherbet lemons, completely undisturbed.