My family is not like your family.
Trust me, while your family was mingling, merging and developing the DNA that finally culminated in the spectacular human that is you, my family took a different road.
Eschewing Darwin's principles for a parallel path, my antecedents were happy to lay fallow for epoch after epoch whilst the rest of humanity developed. We didn’t follow you out of the sea when crawled ashore and gulped in your first breath of sulphurous air. We hung back and goggled at you with large, uncurious eyes.
When you climbed trees, we hid under rocks and burrowed holes in the shale.
When you stood upright, we curled into foetal balls in the undergrowth and licked our bottoms.
You led and we followed, very, very slowly.
Until eventually, in the soot and smoky splume of the industrial revolution we finally found our place in the species. In the mills and work houses and the steam and cherry red glow of industry, in the monotony and the back breaking labour, we caught you up, even overtook you – because we were dim witted, and we’d do anything for a turnip and a glass of beer.
Meet my great, great, great "Aunt" Gunther. Who arrived on a schooner from St Petersburg, coincidentally at precisely the same time as news of Arch Duke Ferdinand's murder broke in Great Britain. My uncle Ginge (short for Gingivitis) was immediately taken by her monocle and moustache, although as you can see from the photo she lost these when they settled down to a life of domestic propriety in Salford.
On the left is another great, great, great Aunt, Dyptheria (right), and her friend, Mrs Mildew.
They were never seen without their coats and hats. Dyptheria was sewn into her underwear on her fifteenth birthday and never left it until the day she died. Apparently Aunt Dyptheria and Mrs Mildew were very much like a crusading army, in as much as you could smell them coming for three miles.
It's a little known fact but Aunt Mildew was instrumental in women being granted the right to vote in the UK. Contrary to popular belief Emily Davison did not selflessly throw herself before the Queen's horse in the that fateful Derby in 1913. She was in fact hurled bodily out of the crowd by Aunt Dyptheria who had bet a large sum on the second favourite. She was heard to mutter "suffrage my arse" as poor Emily was trampled to death.
My mother was kidnapped and held captive with a troupe of circus monkeys in a caravan in Wales until she agreed to marry my father. My mother is the rather obvious human in the photograph.
This is my mother, who was undeniably the most beautiful woman of her generation, in body and spirit.
With my brother, who was born a chubby, cissy, bastard (and I'm using that word as it is described in the Oxford English Dictionary).
And this is the consequence of the havoc wreaked on that that chubby child by scarlet fever, measles, rickets, whooping cough, cholera, dysentry and poor dental care.
My father (third from the left), is seen here regaling his army chums with tales of our magnificent house in the country, the stables, lands and servants....
But not about our bath time antics.
My mother would always hold my hand when we crossed the road.....but often she would leave me in the middle.
One poor man ran me over three times, (how we laughed!) but I always got nice presents when I was in hospital.
And we could afford nice new clothes with the insurance money.