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As the last grains fell Bessie scooped out, cupped and cosied three eggs, while scanning for the postie. Surely this was Mattie’s birthday. It had to come this year.

Bessie, dipping into her third century, headed the family home. Brother Bertie, life obliterated by war, grew vegetables. The youngest, Mattie, had never thrived and now she was visibly withering.

Bessie gently took Mattie’s doily hand and led her to the breakfast table sighing. She treasured her three, Bertie had two but why could there be no Queen’s birthday card for Mattie? Did she not exist in the outside world?

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