Who was this small dark-haired, short-legged child with a Scottish accent living with the mother of my childhood friend ECM? She couldn’t possibly be ECM’s little sister: her mother had been widowed for years. A neighbour (and known fantasist) suggested that ECM’s brother M was the child’s father. This was also nonsensical.
I met ECM in Bath, where she explained to me what had happened. When she was employed by Sunderland Polytechnic there had been a series of redundancies. Two of her former colleagues could no longer afford to keep their daughter. ECM had stepped in and passed the child on to her mother for long-term care.