My grandmother was reading Les Miserables when my auntie was born that’s why she’s called Cosetta, or ‘little thing”, its perfect as she is so tiny, I used to say that she was only half an aunt.

She recounts how certain smells trigger her memory; when they were children her brother and sister had whooping cough…the doctor used the medicine that they had…then in the hall there was a large enamel bowl filled with disinfectant it was kept constantly boiling on a little gas ring and it filled the house with that smell…her sister had to repeat the year at school, there was only 16 months between them…hearing these stories I realize what made these sisters close growing up together, during the war years, their mutual love of the theatre, neither married and sharing a house all their lives, and the pain of one o losing the other…

>  STILL Notebooks (excerpt)