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I recently spoke to my sister about various things, but mostly the trouble with our parents and their general unsociable natures. (Avid readers will recall that when I was between homes a coupla years ago I noted that they never went out and never had anyone over. This has been confirmed to be the norm.) I assumed that I was the only one of us not on the receiving end of their phone calls. Turns out Claire is in the same boat. I've been surveying people and I haven't come across anyone who speaks to their parents less than me. Can you do better/worse?

So it's with this sociability in mind that Claire has invited me up to spend Christmas with her in Castlemaine. This is great news! I won't be spending Christmas day with four old people! My parents, grandmother and uncle will have to entertain themselves without me!

I'm sure there's some kind of lesson in this for them. :)

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Your sister is in Castlemaine? Cool place, and really near me :)

My mother never calls unless she wants something and that is maybe one every couple of years. I used to call all the time but got tired of doing the hard yards and just stopped. I never relished the thought of parental interference, but it would be nice to exchange a few words before we're all to old to be able to.

My father, once I sought him out at age thirty-ish, actually rings a couple of times a year if I don't call him. That's actually quite cool seeing how we didn't knoiw each other at all.

My stepfather I grew up with? My sister has a hard enough time getting in touch and he's her father. Goodness me, people.

I don't know whether some old people think its up to the young ones to do the calling? Or worry they are intruding? Or maybe like my mother they have reinvented their lives based around what they have under their noses, and forgotten about the wider world. Who knows.

Yeah, I wonder if they think I should be calling them too. Sometimes when I call they might say "Oh, I was just thinking of calling you", but I don't think holding off would get me that call.

My mother lives 5 minutes from me, complains to others that she never sees her grandchildren, yet she never phones us, doesn't visit and never invites us over for meals.

"Others" probably know that your mother is putting in absolutely no effort and are too polite to tell her.

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