We three children were looking forward to Mother’s birthday, which was December 18th. December was ‘our’ birthday month, Cyril’s on the 20th, mine on the 10th: but the 18th was by far the most important. With a view to deciding what was to be done, we gathered round the schoolroom table, each armed with a statement of his or her financial resources. My assets were contained in an old purse that I kept hidden in a corner of the writing desk. This I emptied on the table. The contents were: one silver sixpence, one silver threepenny bit, and an assortment of coppers – total one shilling and tenpence halfpenny. Cyril was not in a much stronger position, and it remained for Ethel to retrieve the situation, which, I have to admit, she did most nobly. Lucky enough to have a godmother who sent her postal orders she was able to produce nearly ten shillings. Most magnanimously, she suggested that we pool our resources and give Mother one really nice present rather than three inferior ones. Cyril and I volunteered to draw and paint a birthday card between us, and we left it to Ethel to decide on the nature of the present.