The other day, I celebrated my birthday for the umpteenth time. My wife gave me some nice presents and also took me out for a meal in the evening. I was so stuffed afterwards I could barely walk home. I didn't bother with breakfast the next morning as it seemed ridiculous to go eating after all the stuff I'd consumed the night before. As I'd also had about three quarters of a bottle of wine (white), I woke up convinced a rat had crawled into my mouth in the night and died! Thankfully, I had the perfect antidote which is plenty of large mugs of of hot sweet tea - lovely!
I suppose when you reach another year mile-stone on life's arduous journey its probably a good moment to look back over the past year, take stock, see what you have achieved (if anything) and try and reinforce or regain (if you've lost it) a sense of direction for the coming year. So - what have I achieved over the past year??? Not a lot really - it would be easier to list what I haven't achieved! Even so, I think I did pretty well to start this blog and actually keep it going for as long as I have. It's become quite a significant part of my life over the past few months, and I enjoy writing it as well as reading other people's blogs. I think I've got a bit wiser at work as every day is pretty much a learning experience. I've taken a lot of photographs over the past year and added several hundred to my photo library. I've managed to lose just over half a stone off my weight and am determined not to put it back on again. I've been to Rhodes - somewhere I'd never been before and I've been able to donate more to charity - although I'm very pickie about who I give money to! I've also walked the West Highland Way.
Of course, being a year older also means you have that much less to live - not a very pleasant thought, but true nonetheless. I fight against the aging process by watching my diet and keeping myself fit. I also don't smoke, and apart from the odd exception like the other night, drink very little. Of course, I know that time and entropy will have its way eventually and I will have no choice but to succumb to the inevitable. Given this perspective, it makes it all the more important to live your life to the full, as none of us know how many birthdays we will have. Every one could, and one day will, be your last! Such a cheerful soul aren't I?? So what would I like to achieve in the coming years? Well, thinking boldly, I think I would like to go into space. When Richard Branson finally gets Spaceship Two off the runway, I would like to think that I might find the money for a flight. It would be nice to be able to do it without selling the house, or selling my wife into slavery, there's always the premium bonds - but then an awful lot of things would be nice! Another thing I would like to do - and this is a lot more affordable - is a bungee jump. I used to leap out of aeroplanes, and I still crave the occasional adrenaline rush, and this fits the bill very nicely. Also, I would like to travel as much of the world as possible. I love travelling, and it is the perfect activity for one such as myself who takes photographs and (now) writes about his exploits. Of course, travelling a lot is not really terribly politically correct because of global warming. I will now digress for a moment. Sir Patrick Moore, the astronomer, a hero of mine, believes that global warming is not caused by us at all - but by the sun, and only the sun! Apparently, there is global warming occurring on Mars, but there's nobody there creating a "carbon footprint"! I suppose the sun must go through phases and cycles and vary its heat output over time, so maybe he has a point.
One aspect of this last birthday which gave me a warm feeling were the wonderful sentiments I received from my family members. I got a card from my eldest son which said "Happy birthday you old bastard" and my brother emailed me a birthday greeting which said "Happy birthday git". Well, that's it for another year, I'll get back to just growing older.....