Anyway, the thing that sparked this conversation off was a recollection of one of the greatest achievements in Big Bro's life. At the age of four, you see, Sparky Nan entered him into a competition to draw an Easter card. So Sparky Ma duly set him down with a piece of paper and some paints, and told him to paint something … Eastery.
And, as she watched, he did. He painted a lovely, very well-proportioned Easter egg; he painted a lovely colourful border; and he painted a beautiful yellow chick. Then he started to paint another beautiful yellow chick on the opposite side, with careful little dabs of yellow paint.
It was at this point that, for some reason, Sparky Ma left him alone for all of about 30 seconds time. And it was at this time that Big Bro decided that the chick needed some legs.
Some legs that were about five times longer than they should've been.
Sparky Ma can still recall the utter horror she experienced upon seeing the mutant chick Big Bro had unleashed, but with the deadline for the competition looming fast, there was no time to get him to paint another picture, so she submitted it regardless. And what do know? The little bugger won. The prize was a £15 gift voucher for Dickens and Jones in Richmond which he swiftly spent on a large green plastic van that provided hours of fun throughout our childhood (and quite possibly slightly inappropriately beyond).
Anyway, so we were chatting about that painting tonight, and Sparky Ma said that she thought she still had it somewhere, before popping upstairs to rummage through her cupboards. Five minutes later she's back with an old plastic bag containing various treasures she's kept from our early years, including, for some reason, a headband decorated with silver milk bottle tops and a big star that I fashioned, aged five, for a school nativity play - the mere sight of which, allied with the overwhelming smell of mouldy 26-year dairy products imbued upon it, brought the memory of the event back with a jolt.
Within a few seconds, the prize-winning artwork was found (how we laughed at that chick's exceedingly long legs!), after which we continued looking through the bag.
And that's when we found an Easter card that I'd made for Sparky Ma and Pa way back in 1982. Now, the only explanation for what was inscribed within is that a) school teachers in the early 80s were sorely lacking in proofreading skills, b) I loved rhyming couplets, or c) Sparky Pa had done something to majorly piss me off.
Because I'd written: Dear Mummy and Dummy. Happy Easter. Love Tim.
It was at that point that I thought I might've outstayed my welcome for the evening and promptly headed home.