I can’t really believe it, but it seems that I turned 60 last Saturday.

Of course, there were signs and portents, such as the herd of deer that thundered past my study window on the day – a sight that I’d never seen before.


But, more prosaically, there was the calendar, and the fact that Martin had been having whispered telephone conversations and sending off emails for weeks (months?) beforehand. At 16:30, I was ordered out of the house and told to get in the car and open the first of a series of envelopes that he thrust into my hand. The contents of that first envelope instructed me to drive to a nearby town and collect my birthday cake from a baker’s shop.

The first mission accomplished, and I was instructed to drive to a friend’s house where I was told to take a photo of the aforementioned cake.

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Well, of course, I was pleased…


And then I was told to cut the cake (using a cheese slice for traditional Dutch cheeses) and serve slices for the assembled friends.

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After coffee and cake, it became time to open the third envelope…

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This instructed me to return home at 19:00 hours and be prepared for the worst – I mean, the next stage of the celebrations.

So, I duly drove home, accompanied by Len, a friend from London who I have known since the early 1970s. Entering the house I was greeted by a roomful of friends and presented with a bucketful of sixty roses to mark the occasion…

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I’ve often said about Martin that “I can’t take him anywhere”, because his Dutch directness has a habit of getting me into embarrassing situations. He’d prepared for that for this evening by wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed “I apologise in advance for my behaviour tonight”.

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In the event, he had (almost) nothing to apologise for. He’d engaged Bob Schoemaker, from Willy Schoemaker, the wine merchant, to lead us through an evening of wine-tasting.

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As I said, he had almost nothing to apologise for. But that was before we had the tribute to Abba…


Still, it was great fun, and we all had a ball, even though our dog, Kai, was beginning to wonder who the dominant species on the planet earth might be…

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Of course, I had to give a speech…


But I made up for it by opening more wine…


All in all, it was a great evening, and thanks must go to Martin, Bob Schoemaker and all our friends for making it so memorable.

Onwards and upwards…

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Sixty

  1. Alex says:

    Looks a fantastic day! And you do deserve it my man, you really do!

  2. Geoff says:

    Alex, thank you, Squire. It was a great day. even though I was only firing on one cylinder the following day. Mind you, Martin and Len stayed up the whole night dishing the dirt on me, so when I got up at 8:30 on Sunday, they were just going to bed…

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