Sunday, July 30, 2006
Here I am in all my faded glory -- with Anne:
Old friend George emerged from his hermit cave to help us celebrate:
My feisty stepson Paul with his accomplished and gorgeous wife:
Gorgeous stepdaughter Yvonne with husband
Gorgeous stepdaughter Susan with Nanna
Kenneth is always interesting to talk to
Ex-wife Jenny and Merlie
Son Joe with girlfriend Sam
TWO lots of Asian eyes??
Below is what I wrote about the occasion on Monday 17th. July, 2006:
Unlike a lot of bloggers, I don't write routinely about my personal life but occasionally I do break out and I thought that a birthday is a reasonable occasion to do so. So here comes a very rambling account of my 63rd birthday celebrations on the weekend just past.
The first birthday-related activity was when Jill -- one of the lovely ladies in my now rather distant past -- gave Anne and me a very fine lunch at her place. I drove my recently-acquired 1963 Humber Super Snipe to the lunch and Jill loved it. She did herself live in England in the 60s and at that time drove both a Hillman and a Bentley so she has a soft spot for old English cars.
I kept the Humber out of the garage when we got back from Jill's in order for Anne and me to take it out out that night as well. That night, we drove in it down to Wynnum, which is a seaside area of Brisbane. We had fish and chips on the esplanade, overlooking Moreton Bay, which was very pleasant, despite a rather cold wind. I know a place at Wynnum that does good fish and chips -- which any Englishman or Australian will tell you is important knowledge to have about where you live.
On Sunday morning, my ex-wife Jenny gave Anne and me brunch, with many good things to eat. My son Joe and his Thai girlfriend also attended. It was only a small occasion as the big family gathering was that night.
On Sunday night I hosted a dinner at a local Indian restaurant for "family" -- with "family" being rather loosely defined. There were 18 of us. The family concerned is unusually cohesive by Anglo-Saxon standards and gets together with considerable frequency for various occasions -- particularly birthdays, "visitors from England" etc., so it was certainly my turn to host something. We have a family "Christmas in July" coming up very soon -- an idea which makes sense only to English people living in Australia who have this odd notion that Christmas should happen in midwinter.
An Australian Christmas is of course in midsummer. My earliest memories of Christmas include seeing heatwaves rise like worms off hot bitumen roads -- in the tropics where I was brought up. That must be pretty incomprehensible to most of my readers, I am sure. It is sort of amazing that people could adapt to such extreme heat but the tropical-adapted population from which I come think nothing of it. We are definitely "white niggers" -- white people who are as at ease in the tropics as any black man -- though we get a lot more skin-cancer than black men do.
Anyway, as usual, the Indian food was good and we all enjoyed the occasion. In good traditional Australian/British style, the men mostly talked to the men and the women to the women but Anne is a great communicator so she talked to the men a fair bit as well. I am a rather silent type in person so I am always happy to have a lady in my life to do the talking. The late Hans Eysenck was the same. He wrote so much that he was at one time the world's most cited living psychologist but on social occasions it was his wife Sybil who did most of the talking.
So despite what may seem like some oddities, I greatly enjoyed my two days of birthday celebrations. I even managed to fit in more blogging than I thought I would. You can't keep a keen blogger down!