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…

The Houdini Twins

I’m writing this post in our lounge on Thursday afternoon after being out with Debbie walking the dogs & my legs are aching.  I am exhausted and relieved as believe it or not both dogs decided on following the exploits of Houndini and escaped our clutches separately today…

First we took Molly halfway up Sugar Loaf mountain, then followed up by taking her and her older brother Hamish (who’s eleventh birthday it was) on the long circuit of the Llanfoist canal walk.

The first walk with Molly went smoothly initially and I can remember telling Debs that this was probably my favourite walk and I thought Molly’s too as she was free to run up and down the mountain without getting lost unlike our Deri debacle.

Unfortunately no sooner had I said that she disappeared into some bracken and started chasing a sheep with her not so young lamb.  I immediately sprang to action with her lead and shouted “Molly” at the top of my voice but to no avail as she was hurtling into the distance playing with her quarry which to her eyes must have looked like a pair of Hamish lookalikes.

Debbie although shocked had more presence of mind and shouted “gravy bone” which provoked an immediate response in the mother sheep which immediately started hurtling down a track towards me!  Fortunately there was no collision but as Molly passed me I grabbed her collar and we were reunited!

Lesson learnt she spend the rest of the walk firmly on the lead…

If only you had mint sauce dad…
Clever girl (I mean Debbie)
Trees in blossom on Sugar loaf
Bluebells in the heather

Arriving safely back home albeit a little chastened Debbie extracted Hamish from james who had stayed behind on his day off and proceeded to put him into the back of the Land Rover when his collar slipped!  Like Steve McQueen in “The Great Escape” our Westie scarpered down the road only pausing when SWMBO uttered “gravy bone” again and I managed to grab him and dog handle him into the 4×4.

Shattered we drove the short way to the car park and headed up Blorenge to the canal where I gave Hamish a stern look that didn’t last long, after all it was his birthday! 🙂

Hamish 7 Molly laughing at their “master”
The Houdini Twins