Three greatly admired authors share this date as their birthday. A A Milne (born 1882) the celebrated creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, Arthur Ransome (1884) whose Swallows and Amazon stories are loved the world over and famed illustrator and story-teller, Raymond Briggs (1934) who created that perennial Christmas favourite, The Snowman.
I'm happy to record that Raymond Briggs, who turns eighty today, is still very much with us and his many books, which include When the Wind Blows, Fungus the Bogeyman, The Bear and, of course, The Snowman, are still selling well.
Some years ago, Raymond and his partner Liz stayed at a holiday cottage owned by my wife, and he proved to be something of a practical joker.
Jane never returned to the cottage following Raymond's tenure without finding a comical note from her tenant propped up on the mantlepiece.
On one occasion she discovered a mysterious, prickly plant growing in her rock garden. This turned out to be a deceased hedgehog with a small gardening label attached which read, Hedgeous Hoggeus Spiniculatum.
On this, your 80th Birthday, Many Happy Returns, Raymond Briggs: author, illustrator and HORTICULTURALIST.