The Patrick Family
Libby Patrick, née Elizabeth Fleming, daughter of Jane and Keith. Thirty-something, married to Oliver since 2006, mother to Jack (4), and twins George and Beth (born April 2012). Reluctant owner of Fergus, a slobbering dog of dubious descent. Born and bred in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK, has lived in Juniper Street, Woodhaven, Massachusetts since summer 2011. Has been inaccurately described as "Tinker Bell without the attitude problem." (Looks like Tinker Bell on a bad hair day, but still has an attitude problem.)
People usually regard Libby as a pushover, a bit of a soft touch.
If you are one of these people -- beware.
Husband of Libby, father of Jack, George and Beth, over-beloved son of Sandra Patrick/Lacroix. With no father role model in his youth, and a mother who is bordering on clinically insane, Oliver always intends well, but -- not surprisingly -- doesn't understand women. His emotional constipation means Libby doesn't always know where she stands.
Jack, George, and Beth
Jack -- the eldest of the Little Patricks. Doesn't talk much, but makes a lot of noise anyway. Obsessed with all things Pixar Cars, with a special place in his heart reserved for Lightning McQueen.
George and Beth (Elizabeth) -- born on St. George's Day 2012, hence the rather regal names. They make more noise than Jack.
Fergus the dog
A misguided gift from Oliver's mum, Fergus is a slobbery dog of dubious pedigree. He adores Oliver, but ignores the person who feeds him and takes him for walks. (Libby.) His days are numbered as a member of the Patrick household, especially now the twins, George and Beth, have arrived.
Sandra Patrick (Lacroix)
Oliver's mum, the proverbial mutton dressed as lamb, or grandmother dressed as Lady Gaga. Has a predilection for vodka, with Valium chasers. Sees nothing wrong in feeding her toddler grandson Red Bull, or giving him a tarantula for his third birthday. She has been single ever since her husband ran off with a librarian when Oliver was five.
Or at least -- that's what she tells everyone.
Libby's mother. Devoted wife and doormat.
To misquote Edmund Blackadder: "To you, Jane, Women's Lib was just something that happened to 'other people', wasn't it?"
Libby herself says of her mother: "God knows what she was doing in the 1970s while other women were burning their bras. Out shopping for whalebone corsets, I imagine."
Libby's father. Husband of Jane and devoted member of Rotary Club. Thinks the rot all started with Emmeline Pankhurst.
Oliver's long lost half-sister, whom Libby contacted via a family tree website.
Both Libby and Oliver wish she'd stayed lost for much longer.
Header image: "Fence And Grass" by twobee/freedigitalphotos.net