Sadly, two of my friends have lost a parent recently, aged early seventies, and yet my lovely stepdad just celebrated his 82nd birthday, he is physically doing pretty well, has had both knees replaced, has survived prostate cancer and he always looks dapper, even when he is just shuffling round the house, I think that is because he is Danish - he never looks untidy. Still, he is now in his third year of vascular dementia, so there is much untidiness of thought. He calls Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spiderman, and he is not joking. I know about dementia, I volunteered for Alzheimer's Scotland for five years in the nineties and my wee aunt got dementia in her forties, a few years ago - the combination of Down's and dementia surely one of Nature's cruellest quirks, she died in July. My stepdad has always had quirky sayings and I'm not sure now whether what he says is a result of his memory being destroyed, or just his own way of saying things: I don't have eyes in my neck (I don't have eyes on the back of my head) and It's on my house (It's on me, I'm paying). It was 'on his house', and we had coffee in Waterstone's and on the way in he asked if they still had my book, so he remembered my book launch from three years ago, I was impressed. But later he fell, missing the last step, not realising the bannister curved in the other direction, I did not see this mishap, my mother was with him, on their way to the toilets, but he assured me 'he had no wounds'. I am so glad he is fictionalised as Nab in my novel, some of his wonderful traits in print forever.