I guess that my mother Doreen must have taken this photograph when I was on holiday with my family in the summer of 1960. At least - I have deduced that it's 1960. It could have been 1959. We have pulled up by the roadside and we have all piled out of the car in order to snap a family picture with Balmoral Castle as the backdrop.
From left to right there's my surviving brother Robin - born in February 1951 so he would have been nine and half years old. Next, that's Simon who died last year. He was born in March, 1956 so he would have been four and a half. Third in the line up is me. I would have been two months short of my seventh birthday. Fourth along, looking towards the castle is my oldest brother Paul who died in 2010. He was born in August 1947 so the picture was taken around the time of his thirteenth birthday. Last of all, it's our father Philip who shared his birthday with Paul. He died in 1979 and was born in 1914 so he would have just turned forty six when mum pressed the camera button.
Our beloved queen Elizabeth the Great died in Balmoral Castle on September 8th last year. For her, the place held many special family memories and it was her preferred summer residence. Balmoral was also much loved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who put many thousands of pounds into developing the estate and extending the castle buildings.
And here's another family photo that I scanned from a colour slide. This time I suspect that it was my brother Paul who squeezed the button. We often went on holiday to Cornwall and that's where I think this picture must have been taken - very probably in the summer of 1961. The three brothers look a little older. Dad is wearing the same holiday shirt and our mum - just turned forty has her essential handbag slung over her arm. It contained essentials like her purse, a notebook and pen, plasters, bank book, nail file, scissors, lipstick and bags of confectionery or salted peanuts. She would have been forty at the time.
We were lucky to have been raised by two such wonderful parents who loved us and never mistreated us. Mum had a penchant about fairness and treating us all equally even though there were big differences between us. How she and Dad too would have loved to meet Phoebe and Margot and Zach, comforted by the realisation that their genes had travelled into a future that was not theirs to grasp.