and finally, Reason #100:

without mum,
our cousins in Westcliff-On-Sea
would just be dad’s sister’s boys;
though seen in photographs,
nothing more than a passing reference
when somebody mentioned

- and because of mum’s influence –
our lives were intertwined,
a join at the hip 
from birth
that still stretches the length of the M4 corridor.

The only difference
is that we’ve become closer: 
a reunion proves again
the glow, the warmth – the whatever;
the kind of calm familiarity
that comes from having grown up together.

(the final two lines were taken from Gail Tsukiyama’s The Samurai’s Garden)

18 July 1992: the four cousins together. From left to right: Steven, Paul, James (my brother) and me.


  1. I know it well - my brother lived in Leigh-on-Sea. We are indebted to the past and the receivers of its legacy.

  2. It is such a great privilege to have grown up alongside them. Without them, I would be much duller in spirit, I'm sure.


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