Sixty

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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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But I made up for it by opening more wine…

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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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