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I am generally averse to answering phones. Often when I’m at The Mom’s, if the phone rings, I look at it as though it were an alien. Anybody who knows me, realises the phone is only to be used to extreme circumstances, good or bad, but certainly extreme.

You can imagine my shock, surprise, and trepidation when my phone rang in the very early hours of the morning last week. Heart racing, I fumbled in the dark to answer it.

“Are you okay?” I believe was the first thing I said.

It was Crazy D. “Turn on the internet and look up live snow monkey cam!” He shouted excitedly down the line.


“Wake up! This is happening?”


I am also known for answering the phone in my sleep. This has led to some strange moments. Like making plans with people and not showing up because I have no recollection whatsoever of the phone call.

“Wake up! I’m calling you from Japan. I’m here, with snow monkeys.”


“Are you awake?”

“Sort of.”

I’ve no idea if he thought I was actually awake or not, but he seemed fairly convinced. That or, as he was at work, he realised that a long conversation about how awake I was or was not was probably not the best use of his time.

He waited as I turned my computer on and struggled to get the internet up and running.

“Can you see me?”

“Computer still booting.”

“Okay, text me when you can see me,” he said and hung up.

I lay in bed, in the dark, at about 5am London time, and waited for the internet to get going. My laptop is old and the internet is not strong here.

An anxious text arrived.

Can U C me?

No, I replied.

This carried on for the full five minutes it took me to get everything up and running. And then, then I saw him. My little brother, standing in some kind of zoo-like place, surrounded by snow, Japanese tourists, and snow monkeys.

It was about the best thing ever, and made up for the fact that I was now properly awake and would be very tired all day at work.

After he’d moved out of the shot and I sent a text declaring his job to be the best ever, I closed my laptop and lay back down.

Good thing he didn’t call The Mom, I thought, as there would be no talking her down from that. The initial panic which I suspected would’ve been her thinking that either he or I – L’il Sis was thankfully tucked up in bed at The Mom’s – was in serious trouble, like hospital, jail or deportation trouble.

But when I emailed her later that day to tell her all about it, she replied rather gleefully, that she’d also been on the receiving end of such a call.

It was a brave thing to do, for Crazy D to call The Mom in the middle of the night for reasons that did not involve death or destruction. I have to say, I don’t know if I’d be that brave. I’ve only ever had to do the death and destruction call once in my life. Well, it wasn’t even a phone call because it was back in the days when they weren’t ubiqutious. I’d actually had to come home and go into her room in the middle of the night, wake her up, and describe, in some detail, how I’d smashed her new car to pieces, and that it was now in a shop somewhere awaiting retrieval and for her to do something about it.

I have seen the face The Mom makes under these circumstances. It is not reassuring.

But I suppose it’s actually quite cool that Crazy D summoned the courage to phone. Because it’s rare that we ever see any of our family at work. And when someone has a job that involves flying around the world and looking at or meeting cool new things, I suppose it’s only right that it be shared.

Though, now if my phone rings in the middle of the night again, I’m going to expect something pretty awesome happening on the other end. And by awesome I mean no hospitals, death or destruction.