As I write this on Friday evening I have the entire weekend free to myself. I had one job scheduled for Saturday morning but that had been cancelled and now the day was free. When I returned home earlier in the afternoon I found that E wasn’t feeling very well. She had all the symptoms of a cold coming on and she told me that she wouldn’t be visiting her mum in hospital in the evening as she didn’t wish to spread any infection to those in the hospital. At the time of writing we are neither of us sure about her mum’s present condition though I expect her brother will keep her informed. He lives with her mum in a bungalow a couple of miles from where we live. I haven’t seen nor spoken to either of them since 2002 after my transition. They simply cut me out of their lives. E’s dad died a few years ago but he too didn’t communicate with me. E’s half-sister I do see occasionally and we have spoken. She cannot visit her mum at home apparently because her half-brother, E’s brother, is not on speaking terms with her and there is friction between them. Families eh? Mine is just as bad. I have two brothers and two sisters. Both my sisters live in France and I have never received an invitation to visit them since my transition. One of my brothers basically cut himself off from the rest of the family years ago whilst my youngest brother, also the youngest of us all, is the only one who keeps in contact occasionally and I do see him but only occasionally. Now the free weekend could be spent visiting any or some of them were it not for the divisions between us. It is nice for families to come together now and then and many will be doing just that at Christmas but families being what they are makes it impossible at times. Things could be so different. I used to visit them all at one time years ago but it wasn’t always reciprocated. Much to my dismay I had to give up trying eventually. All I get now are token gestures, a birthday card or Christmas card sent every year but not from them all. I have told them not to send cards as I don’t send any but one or two of them ignore my request. I would rather they stayed in touch all year-round than to send me a meaningless card once a year. They cannot be that interested if they remain silent all year. My free time really is my free time as apart from E I have no-one to share it with. Today, Monday, marks the birthday of my youngest sister. I have no idea what she looks like now on her 64 th birthday or my eldest sister who will be 67 early in January. I am at work today as usual.