Another Year Older…

Today James is 30 and I’ve reached the lofty peak of 58!  To be honest I don’t feel that different to how I felt 40 years ago aged 18 as I’m still playing with toys, reading science fantasy and dreaming of being an astrophysicist…

Getting up rather early as Emma was excited to hand over her presents to the two of us we had to wait for James to waken from a deep slumber which to be totally honest and transparent is a pattern established over many birthdays and Christmases over the past 28 years!


I have to say that this year I was very pleased with my stash of presents which included a Bluray restored version of my favourite war movie “Dunkirk” from Alex and Emily.  From Emma two books namely the Tom Hanks book “Uncommon Type” and Tim Peake‘s “Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Space“, both of which I’d wanted for quite some time, as well as a keyring made from an “Uncharted” ancient coin!  

The other birthday boy James got me “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson and a rather snazzy LED head torch that will prove very useful when taking the dogs out late on their favourite canal walk.

My dear wife got me Roger Moore‘s last book before he passed away called “À bientôt” which from the brief read I had this morning is full of his self-deprecating humour that really resonates with me (if not most of the senior management of my last employer)!  I’m so glad we went to see him live a few years ago when he was on his UNICEF book tour full of amusing anecdotes.

Lastly, somehow the PS4 game “Call of Duty WWII” crept in last jointly funded by Deb and Emma which crowned off a wonderful haul of goodies for yours truly…

Hamish in the background just checking that nothing edible had dropped on the carpet

I won’t go into detail about James’ swag bag but needless to say he seemed very appreciative and so after an hour or so we decided to head into Merthyr and play a game of ten-pin bowling at Superbowl, a mere snip at £22 for the four of us.  Sadly Emma forgot the noble tradition of letting the birthday boys win and came out top, with at least Debbie having the grace to come last to avoid further masculine humiliation.  Still great fun and one to repeat methinks.

The gallant loser in lane two…


After my narrow loss at bowls we headed over the road to the local Harvester which has actually got good selections of veggie food for Emma and I as well as the salad starter.  Even more promising to this aged Yorkshireman was the welcome admission by the waitress that if I had their “app” on my phone I would qualify for 50% off the main courses at which a huge smile appeared on my face as I tucked into my bean burger feast!

Back home via Asda Brynmawr I stopped off briefly to secure a Mrs Christmas companion resin gnome to the Mr Father Christmas purloined yesterday despite the £30 price tag each this caused a lot of mirth from fellow shoppers (both days) as i wheeled them out individually in a trolley to the Galaxy where Emma had volunteered to hold them safe on the back seat…

Now in the spirit of Christmas surprises I won’t unveil what these gnomic characters look like until December 1st, when I hope to also publish the first sighting of my rather grey coloured full-set beard for the unwary.  Both the gnomes and my emergent beard are pretty horrific looking so you can’t say you haven’t been warned!  🙂

In recompense we are shortly to light our shared birthday cake and for the patient of you I shall shortly update this post with a picture of the illuminated gateaux…

The tall slim candle on the right played a happy birthday tune!

Another Year Older…

It’s All About Time

One of the things I’m beginning to appreciate most of all about retirement is the amount of time I now have to do other things rather than work.  Don’t get me wrong I loved my work, well mostly!  I met some terrific people along the way, but it deprived me of quality time with my family and stopped me doing other things I love, like learning about the universe and losing myself in a good book.


So thanks to an increased amount of free time I now find myself once per week attending aqua-fit with my wife and daughter which translates to a 45 minute intensive workout half submerged with around 20 other ladies of various ages all in swimsuit attire at our local leisure centre.

To be totally transparent there is usually at least one other male, sometimes two, accompanying me in our mutual journey to fitness and health.  I can’t tell you what fun it is to perform rocking horse, frog leaps, ski cross country, running on the spot, races to the side of the pool and other manoeuvres in such company and the benefits accruing in terms of waistlines and general wellbeing.

In terms of learning about the universe I love attending the local astronomy club here in Abergavenny each month although it seems largely about astrophysics rather than amateur observing but that hasn’t stopped me getting a Celestron travel telescope and binoculars to observe the solar system and watching lectures like Stephen Hawking on quantum black holes via youtube!

I still like dabbling with technology and the house is now “flood-wired” with 5 echo dots, an Echo and Echo Plus, numerous smart plugs and wifi enabled LED bulbs controlled by Alexa, my iMac in the den where I write this blog is framed behind with bias lighting on LED strips too!

All this freedom has resulted in me reading again, not just endless repeat reads of John RR Tolkien‘s “Lord of the Rings”, but new adventures with George RR Martin‘s “Game of Thrones” series (strange how they both have middle initials of R. R.) as well as non-fiction astrophysics reading like Carlo Rovelli‘s “Reality Is Not What It Seems” on quantum gravity.  It really is full circle for me now for sure…

A great man once told me “the definition of madness is continuing to do exactly the same things and expecting a different outcome”.  Made me think for sure!  🙂


It’s All About Time