I think of my childhood as being the time before my parents divorced, when I was 9.
My dad was a long distance lorry driver, and worked away a lot during the week. Occasionally he would come home as we were eating tea in the evening, but he was always gone before we woke up.
One year my birthday fell on a rare day my dad was at home, I suppose it must have been a Saturday. I don’t remember any presents I was given at all. All I remember is that my dad was there. We went shopping in a different town; looking back, this was because my sister had weird-shaped feet, and we had to go to a special shop with an electronic foot-measuring device or something, but for me it was a special birthday to be shopping somewhere out of the ordinary.
I pestered my parents to let me have some nail varnish from a discount shop, and eventually they gave in; we compromised and I got a pearl coloured one. I felt so grown up!
In the evening, after tea, my parents were outside in the garden; they both smoked, but didn’t smoke in the house, and my dad liked to keep the garden looking reasonably tidy, so they were in the garden a lot in the evenings. I remember walking across the patio to where they were watering the plants, and starting to cry because tomorrow it wouldn’t be my birthday any more, and I knew this one had been a special one.
My dad gave me a big cuddle and told me it was bad luck to cry on my birthday, and not to worry because next year would be just as good…