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This was a wonderfully momentous year for the Brand family. Alison married Howie Watkins in Neath Register Office and a week later in the Oxford University Church. In the very same month Sylvia’s solicitor sent her parents a warning letter about trying to contact any of her friends or husband’s relations.

In February Amy Carys Pipistrelle Watkins was born and Page two changed from ‘The Daisymede Diary’ to ‘Amy’s page.’

At the Thame Hospital Day Centre Norman rose from volunteer driver to committee member to note taker to trustee.

He was made a ranger on the Phoenix Trail and even became Chief Ranger for a while but stepped down in the face of the excessive dumping of old fridges.

They  bought a new blue carpet and some very expensive loose covers for the sitting room.

A heron breakfasted on their goldfish, Jean was visited by her third cousin Gordon Townsend, similarly afflicted by ancestor hunting, and the Brands went on holiday to Sidmouth again.


             Those of you riven by anxiety about Jean’s failure to find a layette knitting pattern can now relax. For the first time in three years she approached the Thame  market stall selling wool and found catalogues of patterns for every occasion and a huge supply of suitable wool.  

There’s a downside to everything, however. No longer during the Brands’ evening Quality Time, as they sit convivially before the television, is Norman allowed to utter his usual perceptive TV commentary: “Have we missed an episode? Who’s that then? Isn’t that one of the Harker girls? What time does this finish?”

Now any word is silenced by a wifely hiss: “Shush I’m counting .Knit one. Purl one. Knit two together .”