"Today is a good day all round. This evening I collect my son William and his wife off the Manchester plane from Australia. They are staying with us for three weeks. So if England win tonight, it will be especially good.
Also today is my sister Eileen's birthday. I won't embarrass her by disclosing her age apart from to say that she is still on the far edge of her sixties and approaching the precipice of her seventies.
When we were growing up, of the seven children born to our parents, me, Mary and Eileen were born in Ireland. Indeed, were the same laws to have applied then as apply today, my parents would have undoubtedly been sent to prison for making me, Mary and Eileen share the same bed until I was aged nine in our three bedroomed council house in Liversedge, West Yorkshire. Such a practice was considered common then within large families as was the covering of coats upon the bed to act as covers along with numerous other practices that would undoubtedly be frowned upon today.
I can honestly say as a person having grown up three-in-a-bed that the three eldest in our family grew up happy and well balanced individuals despite any material privations. I am also of the opinion that being so close to each other then probably kept us closer ever since. One particular nightime activity we engaged in was the scratching of each other's backs. We would scratch the back of the person to our right one hundred times and then turn round and scratch the back of the person on our left one hundred times before we went to sleep. Naturally, the suggestion of this practice came from myself as I always slept in the middle.
The most dangerous game we ever played in bed though was seeing who would invoke the wrath of my father by being caught shouting. I would go first and whisper the words 'Stupid dad.' Then our Mary would go next followed by Eileen's turn. The only two rules to this game was that each person who said 'Stupid dad' had to say the words louder than the person before them. Fail to say the words louder than the person before you had said them and you had to say the words an additional time before the challenge was passed on to the next sibling in line. The one that my father 'heard' shout out ,'Stupid dad' was always the one who he clouted when he ran up the stairs to chastise his noisy children.
Unfortunatly, it always seemed to be our Eileen who was caught in the act shouting the loudest and while she got a right whalloping, myself and our Mary would pretend to be asleep as we held tight our fits of laughter which we let out after dad had returned back downstairs.
Poor Eileen. How strange is the difference that a year can make when one is third in line of the family pecking order. Happy birthday little sister. I love you Eileen......I LOVE YOU EILEEN.......I LOVE YOU EILEEN......I LOVE YOU EILEEN.....I LOVE YOU EILEEN...I LOVE YOU EILEEN." William Forde: June 19th, 2014.