Friday, August 31, 2012

Birthdays come but once a year, and for those of us older people that maybe a blessing! Perhaps there is an age when it is better to shrug off the annual reminder of the slow march to inevitability, and of course for children it is all about presents and cake, but there remains that huge time period between faded excitement and dread of another year's milestone. Some people still seem to get excited about birthdays, usually someone else's, and some use it as an excuse for excess. Some use the excuse for a "knees-up" or family party, and some for reflection. Laudable though some, at least, of these ideals are I'm sure that the vast majority of people have birthdays that simply happen because time passes.

In this family we have a mixture of attitudes from the mildly excited through resignation to indifference, except for notable anniversaries. Just a week-end or two ago we had a family gathering to celebrate a birthday which as birthdays go is nondescript, but was honoured because the celebrant is The Daughter. It has become something of a habit in this family to offer the birthday guy or gal the choice of a meal in celebration and this month's specialty was fish & chips, straight out of the paper! Being clement weather the repast was taken in the garden. There was, of course, cake and strawberries and raspberries and cream and beer!! Wait. I'm not supposed to be the one excited!!!


Of course a happy time was had, I think by everyone. Even the International Space Station put in an appearance around 2130 to join in. We were also accompanied by two stray fire balloons and loud bangs from a neighbour's garden. Wow! Some birthday.

Before all that there was a moment of excitement earlier that morning. The Wife, putting up the window blind in the conservatory, spied what she thought was a grey squirrel on the bird feeder.  However, through the sleep-induced haze she could see a naked tail; it was a brown rat. A magnificent specimen too with fur that looked from that distance, like velvet. The bird feeder is on top of a slender metal spike stuck in the ground, and there is nothing near from which to jump, so he must have climbed. Agile little devils, ain't they?

We've been having some trouble with receiving BBC channels on television. It would be ok for a while, perhaps half an hour or so, and then go off showing "no signal" on the screen. Through Twitter I was able to enlist the help of a BT engineer. After eliminating obvious things like the aerial being unplugged they recommended a system re-boot for BT Vision, and that worked. Jolly handy having BT on Twitter for when you need them. Have you ever tried to get them on the phone?

                                         It's a nightmare!

We are going on holiday on Thursday, so being in need of foreign cash I thought I'd try the internet services. First it was a surprise that there was so much fluctuation in the exchange rates, and second that those rate were so much better than the high street. Anyway, I have ordered the cash and am awaiting its delivery on Wednesday. The anxiety is that I've cut it a bit fine and if Royal Mail let me down with their next-day delivery service I'm screwed! Here's hoping...

Every month a group of The Wife's friends meet for lunch, and the venue changes according to whim. Husbands are included in the invitation and for some time now there have been seven of us, all pensioners, terrifying local hostelries twelve or thirteen times a year. The gathering is convivial and we have a laugh, a drink and lunch. For the last twice one of our "members" has been unwell and unable to attend. Her husband, naturally, has felt unable to leave his sick wife and so we have been reduced to five in number. We wish our friend Pat a speedy return to health and to the monthly gathering.

I'm off to pack now. Excitement grows as the prospect of seeing a new granddaughter for the first time looms, but more of that another time TTFN

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