For my birthday, my brother and sisters decided to drive me and them on a walk down memory lane to the area where we grew up in Offerton Stockport. In the pouring rain we walked past the house we’d lived in, peeked over the garden fence to note what a paltry affair the garden had become. We walked down Graham Road and saw how most of the corner shops had disappeared. Then we went into Woodbank park. David took us on a wild goose chase down the woods and we followed him. It was only when we were wading in mud that I remembered that this was what he had always done since childhood, led the way indiscriminately. Then we got into Woodlands Park where most of the facilities (tennis courts and outdoor paddling pool) had been replaced by parking spaces. On the way back to the car we stopped off at the Strawberry Gardens pub, where I was happy to pay the round (it’s cheap up north) and where the creamy beer made me wince with pleasure. Back via a local shop for some milk and eggs. David was dawdling with the eggs and the shopwoman said ‘has he had too much Christmas cheer?’ and I said ‘no, he’s always been like that’ and so I got to share a laugh at his expense with a stranger. So it was worth it after all.