At age 98, a month before his 99th year, Poppy went to heaven. A tower of strength and a tower of wisdom and wit, the patriarch of the family, the godfather.
Always with the funny quip, always with the kind word, always the enquiry after your own, right up until the end. That's the markof a true gentleman, a rarity in a a world in which everyone else talks about themselves.
Three days before Christmas, and a day after attending two Christmas parties and being showered with gifts by all the other seniors, especially the ladies.
So Christmas was subdued but a time for memories, all good. None bad.
And for the first time in many years, no special passenger accompanied me on my car trip to the family Christmas lunch. Just five Christmases ago it was two special passengers, this year none.
So no chicken, no curry, no salad, no ham, no plum pudding, no cake, no shortbread, no wine, no coffee. No after dinner witticism about being 'hors de combat'.
And no ride home after dinner.
Farewell Poppy. You went to God accompanied by a thousand million beautiful Christmas hymns sung by the world's children.