In an almost unheard of break with our family’s long-standing tradition of avoiding one another, my parents are currently staying with my Aunt Poodle-Perm and her husband Under-The-Thumb.

This, I cannot help but feel, will be a precursor to some pressure to invite them to our wedding. An invitation that will be issued over my stiffening corpse.

Why? Well, put simply because I love pearls and therefore I loathe my aunt. The two are causally connected; bear with me.

I love pearls because they make me marvel. Really, how extraordinary it is that a creature as completely unprepossessing as an oyster can create a thing of such iridescent beauty out of an irritant. To make a pearl from a grain of sand by patiently wrapping it again and again in layers of the best of itself. I love that.

I loathe the aunt in question for both general and specific reasons. Let’s start with the general: she is, to put it in the vernacular, a right cow.

More particularly, she made off with my Grandmother’s pearl necklace out of spite when she died. It was expressly intended to be passed to me, and that is, I suspect, what pissed her off (she could never understand the bond between her mother and her niece) so she just ignored her mother’s wishes and kept the necklace.

The pearls are not intrinsically very valuable but my Grandmother wore them every day, even though she ran a farm. She was like that – she was a strong, pragmatic woman with a real sense of understated style who did not compromise her standards and was always well turned-out and I admired her immensely. The necklace was an engagement present, and she is wearing them in pretty much every photograph I have of her, including the one I keep by my bedside which was taken the day she first met me. I am a tiny baby, no more than a few days old, and she is holding me and looking as tender and delighted as any woman who has just been handed her first grandchild. I should very much like to have worn those pearls myself and, hopefully, passed them to my own grand-daughter one day. The fact that they now presumably adorn the fat neck of Aunt Poodle-Perm does not endear her to me.

So, when I’m asked if we’ll be inviting this aunt, her drippy husband and her daughters, my cousins, to our wedding the answer is no. I have nothing against my cousins – I wouldn’t recognise either of them if they passed me in the street, having not seen them in 20 years, though I’m sure they’re lovely people – but The Cow is not welcome at our wedding. I simply don’t have it in me to dissemble enough to her face to achieve anything like politeness, let alone familial warmth.

I cannot imagine what my parents are doing there. My father cannot stand his sister any better than the rest of us.

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19 Responses to Unforgivable

  1. modestypress says:

    Much to the despair of my wife, I will say almost anything to almost anybody. (I do draw the line at people who are pointing weapons at me, though I once removed a gun from the hand of an elderly white man who was pointing it at a young black boy the senior thought was about to mug him).

    Anyway, it you want me to inform your parents that they are not invited, or to tell the Cow to hand over the pearls, let me know. You can then say I am a wanted international terrorist and you are not responsible.

    • Woo says:

      oh believe me, I have no problem saying almost anything to almost anybody either 🙂 However, if I need an international hitman to take out The Cow, I will call you… stand by…

  2. azahar says:

    One wedding invitation in exchange for the wedding gift of your choice…

  3. bigbadjohnnyp says:

    Why do people do that I wonder – and why isn’t it discussed?

    My mother, having always been “promised” a Complete Works of Shakespeare of her grandmothers, had emigrated to New Zealand when her grandmother died. So her younger sister had it. A cause of non-discussed tension between them for years.

  4. Colm says:

    Incredible. Well, not incredible actually. Every family seems to have someone who is fuelled by bitterness and a sense that everyone owes them something. It gets my goat.

  5. sledpress says:

    This makes me happier than ever to have, for all practical purposes, no family at all. But if you are prepared to say almost anything to almost anybody, it sounds like the time to ask your parents what they are doing there.

    • Woo says:

      Oh I did. But my parents have a real talent for ignoring questions they don’t wish to answer, especially on a slightly dodgy phone line with a slight time-delay…

  6. I’ve officially banned my wicked auntie (and therefore) her flock from the wedding. She has been a bitter and twisted nightmare-ish hag forever, caustic at all occasions, finally out-doing herself in wickedness with some downright disgraceful in-familial money robbery over the warm grave of my granny. I was close to buckling, and inviting them to the engagement party, but then backed off when I got a note from her saying how she’d like to be in touch and wasn’t it a shame we’d fallen out of touch (I wouldn’t and it wasn’t). My brothers had said nothing, but I got the nod of approval from one of them when staying last weekend… “I heard you banned [named hag].”… “Yup”… “It’s the right thing to do”… end of topic.

  7. no one’s wedding should be marred by greedy cows and horrible cows. I’m sure yours will be wonderful.

  8. It seems that weddings, for better or worse, bring family together. Don’t be afraid to hire a bouncer. Or to be one yourself.

  9. LazyBuddhist says:

    Wow! I guess it has been way too long since I’ve stopped by your blog. Last I touched base you were a single girl in search of Mr. Right. Seems you’ve found him. I’m delighted for you. Hope you and the Mr. have a wonderful and love-filled 2012.

  10. OmbudsBen says:

    I’m with Azahar. Where are you?

    Not out diving for new pearls, I suspect …

  11. azahar says:


    hello? anybody home?

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