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  • Dougie

A short and simple tale. Two brothers meet.

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

My younger brother provides my verifiable first memory. In a taxi. In the rain. In Aberdeen.

I was -- what? -- three and a half years old (so that's not yesterday). Joe was maybe two or three days old.

My father, who did not drive a car, took us with him in a taxi to pick up our new baby brother and my mum from the hospital. Me and my older brother waited in the taxi -- cos we were 3 and 6 and it was a different era. When mum, dad and (as far as we knew) our nameless baby brother returned to sit in the taxi, we were introduced.

We've been friends ever since.

Joe is now older. He received an MBE from Her Maj not long ago for decades of good work with alienated youth and troubled kids. He and Stephanie (they've been married like forever) took early retirement. Some time before that they bought a Trullo in southern Italy with 90 olive trees and all kinds of fruit trees: orange, lemon, quince, fig, pomegranate, plums, damson, and cherry. They split their time between Scotland and their plot of peace and tranquility about 10 minutes drive outside a small town in Puglia called Francavilla Fontana.

The land has no postal address and very bad Wifi. How good is that?

We've not seen one another for six years.

So this morning Spike and I boarded yet another Frecciarossa 1000 very fast train at Roma Termini. Seven hours later -- after an uneventful but very fast trip -- we got off the train in Brindisi on Italy's south east coast.

Joe was late because it's the country and time is a wee bit elastic there. I went off to look for him and while I was looking in the wrong place he showed up where Spike expected him.

Brothers. We can be that way.

Joe drove us to the Trullo with no postal address.

As we drove up a track through someone else's olive grove and saw their home in Puglia I almost stopped breathing. I fell in love immediately. Some places do that. People can too.

Spike and Joe hauled me out of the car and we were reunited with Stephanie for the first time in six years also. There were hugs and kisses and laughter and relief. Scottish men did not weep for joy.

It had been a long day.

We dined. They drank wine. I drank tea. We blethered endlessly.

Night fell late but quickly, as it does in southern Italy. But before all light was gone I remembered the obligatory photograph. Joe, Stephanie, Spike and a two cone Trullo.

Tomorrow we'll be given a tour of 'the farm'. It will not take long. You can see the whole property by spinning ever so slowly on the spot without pausing to breathe.

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