A few days after we returned to England my birthday cropped up. Seems to do that very frequently these days - as soon as the 78th passes than the 79th arrives, with the 80th hot on its heels ... while we were away annoying our Gambian friends my daughter had been plotting a surprise for me. Plotting and scheming so that when I obeyed the instruction to 'Just get in the car, Dad' I was delivered to the Fir Grove Hotel and welcomed by a crowd of friends, neighbours, writers and more family! Brilliant! Just for surviving 29,220 days! (Or thereabouts!).
I love being 80. Waking up for the first time in my 80th year, eating cake for the first time, hugging friends, climbing the stairs at Gladstone's library, writing the first words of a new book, all the things I can do for the first time in my 80th year ... magic, pure magic.
I love you all, people!
Well, all very well, you might say: but what's all this got to do with GOES? Quite a lot. It emphasises the fact that I'm still alive and fairly healthy and if I'm fit to carry on I can continue to help all my friends, known and as yet unknown, 3,000 miles away.