Dad celebrated his 70th birthday in 2014. To mark the occasion, me and the Little Sis got him a bottle of sparkling wine from New Lodge Vineyard in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire where some of our ancestors lived which we gave to him in a wine box personalised with his name and date of both.
We also gave him an armed forces bear from Great British Teddies in RAF gear, like his father might have worn when he served. The bears are dressed at the Poppy factory in the UK by wounded ex-military personnel, that Great British Teddies employ to get wounded, sick and injured ex-armed forces men and women back to work.
Birthdays were a time for dressing up. We had party dresses made by our mums and my favourite thing to do in mine was to stand in the middle of the lounge floor and spin round and round, watching the skirt flare out around me, until I got dizzy.
We played party games – pin the tail on the donkey, oranges and lemons, ring a ring of roses, pass the parcel, musical chairs and musical statues. There was always lots of party food too – cheese squares and sausages on sticks, chocolate fingers and I remember my mum would make toadstools out of a hard boiled egg and half a tomato which had cottage cheese blobs on top. Then there were the birthday cakes – amazing creations. My favourite, a Hansel and Gretel house made from Battenburg cake.