i remember lying ill in bed on my fifth birthday. i was lying in my parents' big double bed in our bungalow in Thornhill and the party celebrations were going-on without me. It was a large double bed that took-up most of the room. i think a fire had been lit in the grate. It was very cold. February was always very cold...icicles from gutters etcetera. The bedroom door had been left open and i could see the light from the dining-room opposite. There was a lot of noise and the party was going-on without me. On reflection, there would only have been my parents, my older brother, Christopher and Uncle Dennis. Uncle Dennis brought me a small black-and-white panda. And i was somewhat comforted to have it nestled beside me in bed. i cannot remember any other gifts. i remember a cake had been made, and doubtless other things, but i was very hot and poorly and consumed neither food nor drink. It was impossible to eat or even sit-up. i cannot remember anyone fussing over me. The party was going-on without me. It is the only birthday party of mine i have any recollection of. And it is 60 years since then. It is a little after midnight and my 66th year is dawning. Maybe i will stay awake the whole 24 hours of my 65th birthday - (february 1st). In case there is a party, i would not want to miss it and have it go-on without me. But i will endeavour to attend to this present, wonderful moment and not miss a bite of what may be on offer...without expectation.