J&J8It’s 1am in the morning.

It’s cold and raining in Lancashire.  I’m curled beneath the blanket that Ma knitted for me, drinking hot chocolate.

I’m pretty sure the weather in Surrey is much the same.  And I’m also pretty sure that Ma is also awake, curled beneath the blanket that travelled the world with Pa Stitches.  If she has any sense she’s drinking something a little more substantial than cocoa.

We can’t sleep because today would have been Pa’s 71st birthday.

Last year we threw a small surprise birthday party for him.  Even when all the guests had arrived and the platters of food appeared as if magicked from nowhere, he still didn’t quite believe it.  The 70 cupcakes convinced him.

We had such a great time.  We always did at such gatherings.  Family and friends and food and wine.  Then later, the last few around the dining room table with a bottle of Jack (Daniels) and Tales of the Desert (again!) until the wee small hours.

Well, it’s the wee small hours again, but oh so different.

Happy birthday, Pops.