Opening Shot; Family Etiquette Is a Tricky Business, Says Miranda. Rule 1: Don't Even Think about Criticising Your Man's Mam

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Byline: MIRANDA SAWYER

My family's a small one, so we never really got to do all that dramatic Dallas/Forsyte Saga/ EastEnders/Families At War stuff. I mean, me and my brother used to argue but we tended to settle it by seeing who could throw the other furthest down the stairs. Our feuds could never last because our family wasn't big enough for proper sides. If you were picking your team, you'd go, `OK, I'll have Mum, you have Dad, I'll take Granny and the cat's all yours.' That isn't even five-aside, let alone full-scale inter-familial battle. And we couldn't start poisoning each other or cutting each other out of the will. Take one out and you've reduced your fun by 25%.

So I've always found big families exciting. My boyfriend's is massive (he asked me to put it like that). He's got relatives in Belfast, in Batley, in Botswana (possibly). It's a lot of birthday cards to remember. He compromises by forgetting them all. And within his family, there are feuds. It's just I can never remember who they're between, mostly because there are so many people, generations and countries involved, it's more like studying the history of the Balkans than a family tree. Anyway, the point is, even if I could work out who was what and why, I wouldn't take sides. …