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  • Growing up I had a neighbour whose garden backed on to ours. My family and I all called her 'Aunty May'.

    Isn't that a marvellous thing? Calling a neighbour 'Aunty'. I love the idea of choosing family. I would still choose her.

    As a child I would run between the gardens, enjoying the way the border was marked by a handful of trees, one of which was an old apple tree. The apples never got eaten or turned into pie. They just grew and fell. Grew and fell.

    One time I picked one off the ground and split it open. It was riddled with holes. It didn't matter. It was the apple tree which welcomed us into her garden. It was her Wardrobe, I suppose, and beyond it lay a land of tea parties and stories. She shared stories of her childhood with us and poetry written by her brother. And tea. Lots of tea with biscuits.

    Then Aunty May died. She stopped telling stories and serving us tea in fine china cups. But she left me £50.

    I still have the £50. I kept it with the intention of buying my own apple tree and planting it my own garden.

    This was some years ago. I can't bring myself to buy the tree. What happens if I move house, I ask myself? Could I lose her again?

    But maybe I'll never move house. Maybe this is where I'll always be. And whilst an apple tree can grow and stories spread, a fifty pound note only gathers dust.
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