diamond geezer

 Friday, March 09, 2018

06:04 I was born at four minutes past six. Sometimes I wake up specially early to experience the precise anniversary. This year I'm sleeping through.
06:54 Rouse from epic dreams. Put kettle on for first mug of birthday tea.
07:01 Check to see if the weather forecast has got any better. It has of course got worse.
07:20 I have four birthday cards to open. All were posted second class on Tuesday and arrived yesterday. Everyone who sent one passed the age of 53 last century.
07:36 Thank you, readers, for your birthday greetings. I have also received two birthday greeting text messages, one birthday greeting Twitter DM and one birthday greeting email.

07:51 Pop out to buy a newspaper and withdraw some cash. The cashpoint whirrs and splutters and fails to return my card, then flashes up 'Out of Service' on the screen. I have £11 in my wallet.
07:54 A young man approaches to use the cashpoint, then walks away when he sees it isn't working.
08:00 On the phone to my bank to cancel my card. They can get a new card to me in 5 to 7 working days. Cheers, bank.
08:17 I am listening to a lot of hold music.
08:28 Apparently in the few minutes it took me to walk home from the cashpoint, someone made two £80 withdrawals using my card, then failed to make two further withdrawals, then visited the nearest supermarket and attempted to spend £56 but the card was declined. The fraud team are onto it.
08:43 The cash machine is 'working' again.

09:12 Second mug of birthday tea.
09:15 Checking the list of birthdays in the paper in case any new and interesting people have been added since last year. They haven't. Bill Beaumont is 66, Maggie Aderin-Pocock is 50 and Martin Fry is 60.

09:57 I have been thrust a copy of the last ever printed NME. I can see why it's folding.
10:02 Standing in the queue at my actual bank, clutching Photo ID and a recent statement. I also have a cheque to pay in.
10:23 Today I have been the annoying customer holding up the queue. However, I now have several £10 notes. The cashier laughed at my attempt at an electronic signature.

10:52 On the train to the seaside.
11:11 There is a crying baby in the carriage, as a timely reminder that we were all young once.

11:52 I am at the seaside. The sun is struggling to break through the clouds.
12:00 Seagulls, vaping, the smell of chips, yappy terriers, walking-sticked shoppers, guest houses with No Vacancies, furry hoods, leggings, Union Jacks in windows, people successfully using cashpoints.

12:21 I am at the castle. So are several foreign students.
12:40 The rain has started. There is a murky view from the gun battery. Those foreign students are proving more troublesome that expected.
13:45 I have been walking around underground tunnels for the last hour. Inside some cliffs. This is the way to spend a birthday.
14:11 Enjoying a bag of Golden Wonder pickled onion flavour crisps beside the lighthouse.
14:43 On top of the Great Tower in the drizzle, watching the ferries, while the Germans take selfies. France has disappeared.
15:01 Back underground in the medieval tunnels, pretending to aim the cannon at a sheep, and nibbling a KitKat.
15:16 The drizzle is more convincing now. Bailing.
15:32 Proper seaside chippy chips. A birthday first.

15:54 On the train from the seaside. The view out to sea is a chalky white (appropriately).
16:28 It seems the weather forecast 14 days ago was bang on.
16:50 Stratford station has embraced full-on pre-weekend rush hour mode.
17:03 That cashpoint is working perfectly.

17:09 I have two more birthday cards to open. Both were posted second class on Wednesday, and one has a letter inside.
17:16 Third mug of birthday tea (and a Wagon Wheel).
18:00 Both of the illicit £80 withdrawals made by my nefarious card skimmer this morning have been refunded to my bank account. So that's good.
18:47 Getting togged up to go out for a birthday meal at a Thames-side pub I've always wanted to visit. My outer layer needs to be waterproof.

19:13 The pub in Narrow Street is narrow, and buzzing. Its downstairs clientele seems settled in for the night. The owner, sadly, is not in attendance.
19:41 The upstairs restaurant has two dozen covers, and a view across the river to the dark skyline of Rotherhithe. The tide is high.
21:35 A fine starter, that pate. My steak wasn't quite so enormous as everyone else's lamb shank. But the apple pie (proper, in a proper tin, with proper pastry sides, smothered in a jug of proper custard) proper finished me off.
21:58 Any further socialising for the rest of the evening is postponed in favour of a long lie down.
22:36 I may sleep straight through 06:04 tomorrow morning as well.

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