For those of us lucky enough to have siblings and doubly lucky to have a brother or sister we get on with, there is always shared joy when they do something great.
I have one brother – Simon. He is the youngest child of three and was born in 1967.
The Beatles were singing All You Need Is Love, The Doors had just released their first album and Sandie Shaw had won the Eurovision Song Contest with Puppet on a String. I was six years old and still remember the excitement of the arrival of a new baby brother – whom I wanted to call Ian as it was the only name at six years old I could spell.
But it was to be Simon – and I have a sneaking suspicion this was heavily influenced by the popularity of Roger Moore as Simon Templar in the Saint at the time!
Over the last 48 years as with all families, many momentous and small, but important, life events have brought us together and underlined for all of us the power of living close by and knowing that there is always someone in your corner.
The last year has been life- changing for Simon. During Christmas 2014 he was in hospital for two weeks, being treated for the effects of a false widow spider bite to the knee. Three operations, skin grafts and a spell on crutches took up most of the first quarter of 2015.
Two days after being admitted to hospital he was also due to move house – so everything had to be rearranged.
The rest of 2015 saw the birth of his first child, Flynn, and the culmination of 10 years of work and research as his book The Pomegranate Ring went to print.
The book, the story of the young Achilles, has already been nominated for a people’s prize and will be officially launched at Waterstones in The Frenchgate this Saturday, when Simon will be signing copies of his work.
It has been a labour of love for my brother – Simon Brian Cartlidge – a teacher at The Hayfield School, who lives in Sprotbrough.
Achilles will be a familiar name and character to anyone who knows their Greek mythology, or has heard of the siege of Troy. It is a fine book. As a proud sister I am perhaps a little biased.
My hope is that a few people take the time to read it. A book, or any written work doesn’t really come to life until it’s read, discussed, absorbed.
In the film Shadowlands about the great CS Lewis, one of the characters quotes his father who had said to him, ‘We read to know we are not alone’.
Books are powerful things – so individual, sometimes abstract – but always speaking to our shared humanity. This one is no different.
You can visit www.simonbriancartlidge.co.uk to find out more about the book and the launch.