Letters to a Sister : 41

Thanks for your letter. You are very lucky that one of your boys cooks. I wish someone in my family did. I hate cooking dinners, really hate it. It is a pressure every day, trying to decide what to eat in the evening. Part of the problem is that although I hate cooking, I do like eating decent food. So ready-meals just don’t do it for me. None of family really cooks though, unless it’s Mother’s Day or something.

Actually, that’s not quite true. When I was in labour with Son 1, Husband did cook pizza for two year old daughter. I told him he just had to take it out the freezer and put it in the oven. Which he did. Literally. It wasn’t until daughter complained there was “white stuff stuck to it” that we discovered the polystyrene base had also gone straight from oven to freezer. I think that’s the last ‘dinner’ he has ever cooked. I blame his mother.

My sons also aren’t great communicators when they’re at uni. I send them emails and texts, letting them know what’s happening, but they rarely reply. Every so often I send an, “Are you dead?” text. To which they usually reply, “Yes, murdered horribly while in pub.” So I know they’re basically alright.

You can then, imagine my concern a few weeks ago when I arrived home to find a message on the answer phone saying, “please call me,” and a text saying the same and three missed calls on my mobile. Heart in mouth I dialed his mobile, hoping that he would pick up, wondering who I should call if he didn’t. He did.

“Oh, Mum, where have you been?” he said, “I need to know how you make soup.”

We discussed the whole idea of beginning messages with “it’s not an emergency.” Then I told him how to make soup.

You have to read my book when it’s published. It is not optional for sisters. It won’t scare you, you’ll be fine. Actually, I have nearly finished the main part, the bit about the psychopath. Which I’m quite relieved about because she’s not very nice.

I did lots of reading, read some papers by neuro scientists and got some of their books. I also watched some clips on YouTube, so I could try and imitate the speech patterns of how known psychopaths talk. It was all very interesting actually. The thing I found most disturbing was how likeable the psychopaths were. I think of myself as a good judge of character, but these people, who had sometimes murdered dozens of people, came over as very nice people. They were the sort of person you enjoy being with, the people who you invite round for dinner.

They were also very believable. Even though I knew, from my background reading, what the true situation was, when you heard someone telling you that they came from a “loving Christian family” you tended to believe them. It was all very interesting. Husband did get a bit fed up with it though. He would come home from work and I would begin a sentence, “Did you know….” and he would instantly say, “Is this about psychopaths?”

Your writers’ group sounds fun. I would love to be able to talk lots about my book. I wouldn’t want feedback though, that would be way too scary. You can be my writer’s group when you come over. I can talk for many weeks about psychopaths – how long are you staying for?

I might even bake you a cake. I like making cakes, it’s only dinners I find emotionally difficult. I will make it during Lent, then it will count towards one of those ‘random acts of kindness’ that we’re all supposed to be doing every day. I have a feeling that might turn out to be even more stressful than having to cook a dinner every day.

Take care,
Love, Anne xx

PS. Bring your wellies. It hasn’t stopped raining since you were here last time.

PPS. Happy Chinese New Year. It’s the year of the Monkey!

This letter is a reply.
You can read my sister’s letter at:


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