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Somehow, despite wartime restrictions, a bottle of whisky had been unearthed from the sideboard in Nell’s front room. A celebratory drink was, she thought, in order as it wasn’t every day that a girl with so many odds stacked against her left school bound for Oxford University.

Standing up Nell waved the bottle triumphantly. “Fetch three glasses, Hilda,” she instructed and received a somewhat quizzical look in return.

“Nell…” Hilda began.

“Hilda”, said Nell firmly, “We have prepared Biddy in nearly every possible way for university. She has books, writing paraphernalia and, miraculously in the current economic climate, some new clothes which are neither brown nor flame coloured. She does, however, need to be fully prepared for student life…and a taste for the best single malt will stand her in good stead.”

Hilda’s mouth twisted into a wry smile. Nell was right of course; she had always been slightly more protective and Nell more robust in their dealings with Biddy. Both approaches had been complementary and borne fruit in a way that had made her brevet aunts rightfully proud.

Biddy looked up, eyes alight with laughter “A real drink for me this time, Aunty Bill?” she queried.

Bill grinned, “I’d drop the aunt thing now, Biddy, and count yourself in as a grown-up, my dear.” She poured out a small measure and handed over the glass. “Mind you, do you remember when you first called me Aunty Bill?” Three pairs of eyes danced and they roared with laughter; this was one of those family stories which are enriched by the telling and retelling

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