It was 40 years ago today (around about now), while I was still at the school, that I watched my Da choke to death on his own blood in the toilet of our Edinburgh tenement flat.

It was just the two of us as the caring, sharing NHS had decided that he was well enough to temporarily leave the City Hospital where he was busy dying, to come home for Christmas. Trans: even back then they wanted folk out the hospital so they could have some time off.

He lasted about an hour and as my mother had been expecting to walk the 4 miles to the hospital to see him on Christmas Day there was nothing in the house. So her and her sister, my Auntie Eva, had nipped along to Tollcross to see if there was a cheap capon going. So it was just the two of us.

Happy Christmas.