I celebrated my birthday yesterday in grand style, working all day followed by an hour at home and then my psychic circle on the evening time, so not much time with the family, but just enough to spend time having a brief meal with my three lads. My wife doesn't celebrate birthday's or Christmas so birthdays for me are no longer a big deal; as long as the family are around - it's just fine.
"My mother-in-law has been round to our house for Christmas several years running. This year were going to have a change and let her in!"
I bought myself a couple of DVDs on cricket for my birthday, England's victory over the Aussies in the last test in 1981 and the whole of the 2005 England/Australia test series victory, both of which regained us the infamous 'Ashes'. I have had bought for me the complete comedy series from Channel 4 Black Books with the talented Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran and Tasmin Greig and the complete series of Rising Damp from the ITV programme of the 1970s - it ran from 1974 to 1978 - can you believe it - 35 years ago and some of the comedy is as good today as it was then with the much missed Leonard Rossiter, Don Warrington, the late Richard Beckinsale and Frances De La Tour. Lots of nights in exercising the chuckle muscles methinks.
Birthdays and Christmas prezzies are a great time to buy pragmatic presents, things that people will use and enjoy having rather than something that will be put in a cupboard and rot away through neglect and disinterest. We've started to de-clutter, if that's the phrase as cupboards become fewer and fewer and there has been a danger that the house becomes untidy with things lying about because there's nowhere to put them. Those bits we cannot bring ourselves to get rid of are being placed in plastic storage boxes and placed in the garage, our current dumping room (it's never seen a car!) It's been quite exciting emptying some boxes and cupboards, amazed at what you find.
There are old photographs, long lost and almost forgotten which I have enjoyed looking at again even though I'm not a big fan of trawling through old pics just for something to pass the time. I'm going to scan some of the pics for my family history programme and come next winter, I might spend some time on my family history web-site when I will have more quality time to myself.
I've even found a good collection of Christmas cards I bought a couple of years ago in the January sales which I had completely forgotten about. For a long time I've been thinking about making a donation to a charity for what it costs me and letting people know that this will be the last year they'll get a card from me. I spent £60 in cards and stamps for 2008 Christmas which I could give to a good cause, but I can't make my mind up. Receiving a card from friends and relatives is nice and it's a chance to pop a note in for those I send cards to who I haven't seen for years to report on the progress of the family and any other news, but are people bothered? I suspect it's a generational thing.
I just need to buy myself some trainers (which I don't normally wear) for my final birthday gift with a contribution from my mother and father for use on the newly acquired treadmill. A friend suggested a shop in Beverley, a local market town where the owner is an experienced runner (not that I'm going to be running God forbid) but I thought I would look after my feet and back etc., by walking in something more comfortable than I have now.
Finally a note on a new blog I have read run by a Malaysian philosophy student Lulu_Ma, which is very interesting and thoughtful and has some delightful music playing while you read - have a look, you might like it: http://maxiangru.blogspot.com/
And to finish today, here's a bit of more modern philosophy:
To do is to be - Rousseau
To be is to do - Sartre
Dobedobedo - Sinatra