THIS WEEK I passed halfway to 110 years of age and celebrated in traditional fashion.
In our house, birthdays are regarded as an affair worthy of serious celebration, so we allow the recipient of new ageing wrinkles an entire weekend of festivities.
At the risk of sounding like a miserable old sod, I'd be reasonably happy with a gin and tonic, a pair of socks and some undies, and a game of golf with the boys on the Sunday but unfortunately that doesn't cut the mustard for my girls.
I'm pretty sure the reason they go all-out is so they can claim reciprocal rights when their big day arrives. No simple socks and undies for those two, I can tell you. Anyway.
My big weekend began with a gin and tonic as planned and was followed by an invitation to dinner at the home of the Boomerang Child and Builder Boy.
Mrs P and I dutifully trotted over and sat down to a delicious-looking salmon main course to be followed by delicious lemon meringue pie.
Now salmon is one of those dishes fans will have an opinion on as to how it should be cooked. Personally, I like it cooked long and hard so the skin is crispy and the meat a little dry. I never order it at a restaurant. That's because Mrs P has completely nailed the way I like it done.
I doubt anybody could replicate it — I'm sure Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay would turn in their graves, er, if they were dead, at what my beloved does to a salmon — so why take a chance and have my dreams shattered?
So when I sat down at the table of our second youngest I figured Mrs P would have passed down the secrets of her special salmon cooking skills.
Wrong. The salmon was cold.
I've got the shudders just thinking about how it tasted.
Naturally it would have been impolite to refuse, especially as Boomerang Child had spent the GDP equivalent of a small African country on it, so I wolfed it down and hoped it stayed down as I tried not to gag on the slippery, slimy bits I detest.
Next came the lemon meringue pie.
"Your favourite," beamed the Boomerang Child as she brought it to the table.
Almost. I love lemon tart. I hate lemon meringue. It makes me sick.
Again I did the good dad thing, under the stern gaze of Mrs P. You know the one.
It's that stare that suggests your private parts will be unceremoniously sliced off with a bread knife (and kept in a jar by the door as a reminder) if you say anything.
Naturally I didn't.
Next morning Mrs P brought me a cuppa in bed and thanked me for my silence.
She also brought me a new T-shirt.
I groaned, inwardly of course, the memory of the Kitchen Knife Stare still burned in my brain.
It was size XL. I'm more BFB (Big Fat Bugger). We would need to change it.
As we drove into town she said she was sure she had got the right size. I know from previous purchases hers tend to be more about what she would like me to be rather than what I am so I wasn't expecting us to be able to find a replacement.
We weren't and took the money back instead.
"Well I've got to get you something," she wailed, no doubt seeing her own chance of a weekend of return spoiling disappearing over the horizon.
Naturally I wanted the guilt trip and moaning to cease and looked round for a quick fix.
Luckily we were outside a bike shop and a short while later we were outside it again with me in proud possession of a new pair of mountain bike gloves and a newfound intention to get back into biking. Sound familiar.
So convincing was my interest in the gloves and all things biking the woman behind the counter told me of an easy new trail I simply had to try.
"Perfect for someone like yourself getting back into it," she said.
And 10 minutes after getting home Mrs P was on my case. I should go give the new trail a try while she prepared dinner.
By that stage I was over my birthday and just felt like riding off into the sunset so I didn't argue. Big mistake. The trail was anything but easy. Uphill. Steep descents. All my new gloves did was stop me grazing my hands when I fell off.
Eventually I got home, battered and bruised, had a nice tea and went to bed.
And as I drifted off I decided things would be different for my birthday next year. Socks and undies would do me just fine.
Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to firstname.lastname@example.org