On most mornings, that first visit to the front door results in a small handful of disappointing mail: another credit card statement, the water bill, a request for yet more information that you've already given fifteen times to some spotty youth at the benefits agency...
There was something outside of this mildly depressing norm at Millbrooker Towers this morning. A card had been plopped onto the mat by Mrs Postie and it had been sent by everyone's favourite first-cousin-once-removed.
It's been some while since my Auntie Jean visited these shores and I'm certainly looking forward to the next (as yet unannounced) visit; our paths will cross when the time is right, I'm sure.
In the meantime, I'll raise a glass this evening in the traditional Millbrook toast to The Grey Nomad.
Back to the point of this posting. Auntie Jean prides herself on an encyclopedic knowledge of family history and spent much of her last visit making sure I knew about my roots. Fascinating stuff it was, too.
One bit of my roots that I was already aware of was who my maternal grandmother was; she was the only surviving grandparent when I was born and she lived in the same house as mum, dad, sis and me. Indeed, The Wee Hoose (no, that's not a typo - it was called "...Hoose") had belonged to her and Grandad Sid before my parents took the place over.
I'm rambling somewhat now, so it's probably time to get the point...within the card from Auntie Jean was an original photo (in postcard format as was common at the time) taken in 1918 in Aberdare of my Gran and her brother Steven. Gran would have been 14 and is in girl guide uniform. Steven had returned from the war having fought at Ypres and had been awarded the Military Cross.
Steve died in 1957, 6 years before I appeared and so I never knew him. Gran, though, soldiered on and made it to 1990 and the ripe old age of 86.
So, ladies and gentlemen - from 1918, Steven Davis and Elizabeth Ellen Davis (later to become Lacey). This one's about to be framed and will join the small collection of family portraits on the wall in the hall of Milbrooker Towers.