Being born just before Christmas meant that I rarely had birthday parties as a child. Although I can understand now why they weren't very high on the parental agenda I was deeply resentful at the time (and for about twenty years afterwards...)
One year Nan decides to throw me an impromptu party. I tell Nan about a party I had been to where there had been a magician; not to be out done she promises me some party entertainment. Her niece is coming to visit, bringing her four daughters - all under ten - they will do as party guests. As a family they are very odd (to my mind), they look identical; just at different stages of development: they even dress alike - including the mother). They sound alike and are loud and boisterous except for the middle girl. She is extremely nervous, never speaks voluntarily, every time she has to go into another room the nervous girl looks anxiously around the door before moving. Even the cats make her flinch.
It was inevitable that she does not respond positively to Uncle's jolly game where he pretends to wrench the nose off your face and then poking his thumb through his first and second fingers, shouts, 'I've got your nose!' This is followed by him wrestling you to the ground - I find this most entertaining, but it is possibly a little full-on for the uninitiated.
Nan disappears upstairs to get herself ready for the entertainment while we eat sandwiches, jelly and ice cream (standard party fare before the advent of sushi and tapas for the under-sevens). We wait with anticipation as she can be heard coming downstairs.
Leaping into the room Nan is wearing a black cloak, a tall black hat and a hideous witch's mask.
She shrieks, 'I am a witch and I've come to eat your brains and then to suck out your eyeballs!'
There was lots of excited screaming; although the photograph taken at the time shows me calmly eating crisps.
But then the nervous girl falls off her stool and has a fit brought on by fright (she had never had one before or since). An ambulance is called and Nan's career as party entertainer is over.