Damn the Babylonians. Their astronomy was a bit primitive but they figured out that the stellar patterns returned to the same place roughly every 360 days. It took us about two thousand years, but we now know the actual figure is 365.25 days for planet Earth to haul its carcass around the sun. All this to say that one more notch was added to my bedpost yesterday and the admittedly vague spectre of the Grim Reaper is a little bit closer to the horizon. Some take the addition of a new number to life’s clock better than others. I felt a little like W B Yeats, a gloomy sort of chap who at dinner with H G Wells in the 1930s bemoaned the fact that that all his friends were dead. “But, you’re not”, H G replied. “I’ll have the steak.”
Which is rather how I’d quite like to look at it.
I had a lovely time on my birthday, pampered by cinema tickets and dinner with cake worthy of Pouchkine in Paris, so much so that I almost imagined myself to be four again when I was sick at my birthday party through gross and unfettered indulgence. I’d’ve liked to have posted a picture, of the cake, not me being sick, of course, but it all got eaten, thus the picture above, second-rate as it is, will have to do.
Three or four years ago, my beautiful, talented and exceptionally competent daughter left her electric toothbrush at my house. Despite the fleeting thought that she privately considered my dental practices to be woefully inefficient and the article was left as a dark reminder to do better, I used it faithfully, having changed the head for reasons both aesthetic and hygienic. It had a rechargeable battery which could not be reached, changed or interfered with unless one was an expert with a soldering iron, a degree in electrical engineering and endless patience. It reminded me with a little red light if I was pressing too hard, had a timer that momentarily slowed it every fifteen seconds so that the requisite two or even three minutes’ industrious lathering could be counted off and a little battery light to tell me it when it needed recharging. In recent days, however, like the gloomy W B, and perhaps myself, it had reached its geriatric years and needed now to be confined to the place of repose where all toothbrushes go when they die. I other words, I chucked it away. Having replaced it at the supermarket the other day, the new but somewhat inferior item was busily recharging when she-who-must-be-obeyed walked in. Her face fell when she saw my new brush. I wondered guiltily if I had been remiss in some way, like not replacing the loo roll. She then produced a gift, beautifully wrapped in silver paper. In childish haste, I tore it open and nestling therein was a beautiful, top-of-the-range electric toothbrush, complete with carrying case. This was a Van Gogh compared to the fingerpainting I had bought.
I laughed so hard I almost split my hernia stitches, since now I have two toothbrushes, one for the mountains and one for here. She saw the funny side. Eventually. After hitting me on the head a few times with a Tupperware box containing feta cheese (OK, I lied about that last bit but there was a homicidal gleam in her eye…)
I’d like it placed on record that I enjoyed the best birthday I have had in a while. Thanks too to all the Facebook crowd who took the trouble to send good wishes and in some cases, kisses, all of which were gratefully appreciated.