I‘m thinking about making a new will; pandemics do that to you. Father of course has to get in on the act; dead for 30 years, but I just have to close my eyes for a rest and there he is. In this dream, he’s actually just died and, with my brother being deceased too, I’m left sole beneficiary in his will. Mr Wishart, the family solicitor, is giving me a solo reading. It transpires that I’ve inherited a house, savings at a moderately life-transforming level, an armour-plated SUV, a gun cabinet, a useful address book and his favourite scythe. Plus a modest number of feuds.

Guns? Scythe? Feuds? He hands me an envelope. Inside there’s a list of family vendette, with an account of their origins and ensuing collateral damage. A few decades down, my brother is on the damage list. This is all news to me. I say, am I on the front foot or the back foot with these? Wishart says, good question. With some it’s your turn to go strong, with others I’d advise the bunker and bodyguards strategy. Opportunity, threat, don’t worry, you’ll know what to do; after all, it’s in the blood. I do hope you’ll enjoy your new life for the longest time. Remember to keep that scythe sharp and oiled. And just one more thing: have you considered remaking your will?

father’s footsteps
but look at
the state of his shoes

Alasdair Paterson


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