Birthday notes

Birthday cake. I know - i'm not 22 The celebration of another year spent hurtling round a fiery ball of nuclear explosions occurred recently in my life. Quite why I spend the day celebrating when really the hard work and effort was my mothers is unknown, but that is just the way life is.

Looking back upon my birthdays over the years, they have not always been the wild and crazy events that you might think.

My eighteenth birthday, for example, largely seemed taken up by a three hour maths exam. My twenty first also featured an exam, this being four hours of complex computer science that I can barely remember. Many other birthdays between then and now have been spent in various office blocks doing various fairly unexciting tasks.

Notable exceptions obviously include most of my teen birthdays, which were spent on a small desert island. My fourteenth birthday was a serious highlight – where I was given the Me drummingchoice of doing pretty much anything I wanted for a whole week.

I’m not sure what my parents were thinking when they came up with this idea, and I’m told now that my Dad was steeling himself for a week long trip to Disneyland, which for him would pretty much have been hell on earth. Imagine his delight therefore when I decided that a family safari around Kenya was what I wanted to do. Yep, that was a hell of a birthday present.

Since I’ve been travelling, my birthdays have taken on a slightly more varied theme. Last year, for example, I was in Tasmania, where much of the day was taken up with an impromptu drumming session in a tailors shop in Launceston, before a night on the town. This year, I ended up responsible for a forty room holiday park and campground, where if something was capable of going wrong in a twenty four hour period, it did.

Highlights of my birthday therefore included:

  • A fabulous and heated debate with a couple who claimed my service providing abilities were flawed as I had failed to provide them with sufficient information for their stay to be enjoyable. Enquiries as to what information I had failed to provide were met with the response that I had not said how much the laundry machine cost to use. For reference, and anyone else out there thinking of dropping in, the laundry costs three dollars.
  • Ongoing battles with the hot water system in the mens shower which failed to provide hot water on at least three separate occasions. My ability to bleed the air out of hot water pipes is now much improved, as is my ability to swear at aging plumbing.
  • An expedition to Mount Doom in a Ford Transit van which decided to lose most of its engine oil during the 20km journey. Cue much black smoke and a fairly awful smell when I rocked up, followed by inexpert pokings around an engine, much sucking of teeth, and no idea of what had gone wrong. I got back to the park safely. I have no idea what happened to the Transit van and passengers, which drove off in a pile of smoke.
  • The misplacement of the master key ring holding every key to every door in the park, followed by the revelation that it was most likely to be inside the (obviously locked) laundry room. I am now much better at removing doors from their hinges than I was before. The keys were found somewhere else.
  • Watching England lose magnificently in the final to New Zealand in the rugby sevens. It is clearly my fate to watch England lose to the host nation in pretty much every sporting event I cast my eyes upon. See England vs. Germany in the world cup as a recent example.

Ok, so the last bit was perhaps not holiday park related. But still.

Anyhow, the day wasn’t all tragi-comic tales. In fact, most of it was quite wonderful. I was made French toast in the morning for breakfast, then presented with a hokey pokey flavoured chocolate cake (I had no idea this was possible, I had merely demanded it when asked what flavour cake I wanted) laced in candles and a somewhat optimistic number “22” written on it (the age some Chinese students thought I was a few months back and which I have been sticking to ever since). My parents rang me to pass on their congratulations that I had made it past another milestone largely unscathed and still delighted to be alive.

All in all, it was a splendid celebration of my thirty first birthday. Variety is the key to life, and different experiences are what I’m currently all about: this was certainly a birthday to remember. I have no idea what I’ll be doing for the next one, but I seriously hope to be telling you about it here in a years time, along with whatever else the river of life chooses to splash me with. Cheers.

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