In the kitchen, Tiger-Lily was rummaging in a box of old photos while her mother was tossing some dried porcini into a pasta sauce.
Mum, how did you meet Dad?
Oh, it’s a long story.
Tell me anyway. I need to know the details for my combined History and Increased Self-Awareness project.
Carissima sighed. Well, in 1990 I was eighteen and I met your father that Autumn in Leeds, when I was looking for student accommodation. He was my landlord. He was working for a brewery. His father had left him some property and so he took in students.
Tiger stared hard at a coloured wedding photo which was fading. Hah! Look at Dad’s hair. He had a lot more then. Hey! He was wearing a kilt!
She stared at the image. They must have married in rainy Glasgow, as mum’s bridesmaid, Aunt Victoria, was holding an umbrella over her and the bride was wearing white wellies!
Did Grandma Morag mind you going out with an older man? He must have been only about ten years younger than she was.
Carrie’s glasses were steaming up as she stirred the linguine. No, remember that she had known Grandma Brewer-Mead since she and Great-Grandma had worked together in Glasgow in the ice cream parlours and fish and chip shops. Ginevra- I mean Grandma Brewer-Mead- had even looked after Grandma Morag when she was little and the shops had been busy. They’d all kept in touch with Christmas cards and so on ever since, so dad and I meeting was a bit of a coincidence, but a happy one. He was a known quantity, so to speak.
Che sera sera, sang Tiger. It was the only Italian that she knew, unfortunately- a bit like Gregory in the film Gregory’s Girl, who said that he knew a couple of words in Italian and, when his teacher asked him to demonstrate his knowledge, he had sheepishly said bella and eh…bella. Maybe she could take it up as a supplementary AS?
The only thing that Grandma Pomodoro insisted on was that I should finish my degree. We were married in 1995, in Glasgow, and then we moved to Weetwood.
That’s a funny name.
Oh, it was very close to where Alan Bennett- you know the man who wrote those monologues you have been studying in Theatre Studies- lived when he was a boy.
Our teacher said his father had owned a butcher’s shop. Tiger was good at remembering details.
Yes, it had been close to Weetwood Lane, in Far Headingley, but we had moved to Suttonford by the time you arrived. Grandma Brewer-Mead, Ginevra, moved to be with us, as Grandpa Brewer-Mead had left her on her own.
Did he run away from her? Tiger thought it might have been a good idea and she might have done so in his position.
No, he died in 1996, so she was lonely. When Aunt Victoria moved to France, she only had your father.
I suppose that’s when she started drinking all that gin.
Carrie gave her daughter a warning look.
Where did you go on honeymoon, mum?
Tiger! This sauce is going to be overcooked if you ask any more questions. She turned the gas down to what would be described as a peep in Glasgow..
We went to Lucca, to see the village that the Pomodoros had originated from, but there was nothing left. It was a bit like that island which was on the news- Sandy Island- it was on the map but it did not exist.
But it had existed at one time, whereas Sandy Island had never existed, corrected Tiger. There was no getting away from it: the girl was smart. Have you heard of Stone Tape theory, mum? Places and objects absorb energy forces. Sonia told me all about it. A psi field can have memories attached to it and people can pick up on the auras and if they hallucinate, they might think they have seen a ghost.
Did Sonia tell you that last part?
No, I worked it out. So, it was just like a dwarf planet?
Carrie was now draining the linguine. A dwarf planet? What are you on about?
Oh, Cosmo says they have no atmosphere.
Right! Go and call your father and brothers to the table, Tiger, or this meal is going to be cold.
Tiger ran into the hall. Her project was going to be an A* for definite- especially if she scanned in the photo of her dad in a kilt. It was going to be-like-a-ma-zing! She was sure to get a higher grade than Scheherezade Percival! Che sera sera!