With Christmas, my tax return and many other things out of the way, I've returned to the archive of letters.

One almost essential thing when writing a history of any kind is a time-line and I've started to create one, starting with birth dates and deaths. With these in mind, I have been working through a batch of letters written to a couple of friends in the USA. (at some point, perhaps when they died, someone had bundled them up and returned them) It was a long friendship so the series provide a good biographical sketch over the period.

I've been struck by how, although my parents slowed a little with age, they were very active until a sudden decline into illness and death over a couple of years many years younger than I am now. It's been a salutary realisation.

On the other hand, I've been reasured by an article on Viktor Frankl who survived Auschwitz and became an eminent psychologist and had exactly the same approach to life's difficulties as I have!

So I press on..

My parents memorial stone in the Quaker burial ground in Arundel Avenue, Liverpool, the months identified by number following the old orthodoxy of avoiding 'heathen names'.