Many moons ago my sister Barbie asked me to write a piece for her. Last month, after I’d sent her a sonnet about a sad incident in my childhood, she wrote to me: “I challenge you to write a happy sonnet about your childhood!” Well, it’s not a sonnet, but it’s a sunny piece, and it’s one for her. It’s also a greeting on her birthday, which is today – so that’s three out of four boxes ticked. The happy sonnet about my childhood will have to come later.

The Belle of Perth

Best wishes on your Birthday,
Barbie (never Barbara Anne!),
who, once the belle of Perth, may
win the Golden Palm at Cannes
so there can be another
lass besides Jane Campion.
According to your brother,
you’ve been more than champion.