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Reliving The Celebration

September 17, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

To complete my resharing of some of my favourite posts (which I featured in 300 Not Out – A Retrospective) this is A Celebration, originally posted on 16 September 2016. As you will see, this date is my birthday, and having reached the grand old age of 65 yesterday, I am now officially a UK State Pensioner – I’ve applied for my pension but, despite their saying that I would be sent the details in the 14 days before the due date, I’ve yet to hear what untold riches will be coming my way. I guess the government has been too busy screwing the country over Brexit to worry about me!

As before with these posts, I’ll give you the original and then rejoin you at the end for an update. So, here’s the 2016 version:

“Today I awoke – or, more precisely, was awoken by a thunderstorm and torrential rain – to the thought that I am now 63. I’ve never been this old before! But we are told that ‘age is just a number’ so who’s counting? Three years ago today, I retired from a lifetime of work, on my 60th birthday, and to celebrate my milestone my two wonderful daughters arranged a special day out for me in London. I had commuted into the capital to work for more than 35 years, and this marked the beginning of my re-acquaintance with London as a place to enjoy, rather than somewhere I was happy to escape on a daily basis. During a comments ‘chat’ with a fellow blogger a few weeks ago I realised that I had never written about that day out. I would have laid odds that I had but when I checked I found several photographs in my Facebook and Instagram feeds, but no blog posts. I decided that I would write something as part of my celebration of three years’ retirement – so here it is.

Due to their work commitments the girls arranged the day out for the weekend, Saturday 14th to be precise. This had the bonus of there being lighter usage of public transport than on a weekday,img_2695  which made it easier to get into London and get around while we were there. They knew that I had a longstanding desire to take a ride – or ‘flight’, as it is officially known – on the London Eye, so to be honest I wasn’t surprised to be taken to the Southbank Centre, adjacent to the Eye. And yes, that was where my grand day out was beginning, with a flight in one of these:

img_2696And in case you haven’t seen it before, this pod is part of a much bigger structure. This, in fact. I don’t have a head for heights, but didn’t at any time have a problem. The Eye moves very slowly, and the only real sense of movement that you have is the changing scenery around you, as the ground disappears further into the distance!

London has centuries of history and many famous landmarks, most of which are visible from the Eye. Here as an example is the Shard, one of the more modern buildings

img_2693

And this is Elizabeth Tower, previously known as St Stephen’s Tower, until it was renamed in 2012 to mark QE2’s Diamond Jubileeimg_2691

Before anyone corrects me, Big Ben is the name by which the clock goes, not the tower itself. A common misconception, which the pedant in me (I am, after all, a Virgo) takes delight in correcting! The ‘guide book’ to your flight is an iPad, suitably encased in a stand to prevent theft, which is programmed to show you where all the landmarks are as the flight progresses. A nice touch.

Having had a wonderful time, we then went into a nearby bar for a light lunch, before the next part of my treat. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting any more but shortly afterwards we were climbing img_2690onto one of these

Spot the operative word: ‘amphibious.’ Believe it or not, this little bus worked both on land and water. Apparently they were originally designed and built in the Second World War for troop movements, and the actual bus that we travelled in was 70 years old. After a trip around some of the landmarks by road, which covered quite a lot of London’s history, we were driven to the side of the headquarters of MI6 – appropriate, I thought – and down a ramp. Moments later, we were in the Thames

We've fallen in the water!

We’ve fallen in the water!

We then went for a ‘boat trip’ along part of the Thames, which was quite an experience. To prove it, here’s a shot of the Parliament buildings – the Palace of Westminster – as seen from the river. As it was a weekend nothing was happening inside, but I’m reliably informed that on a working day you can see the hot air rising from here

We all bowed in reverence, of course :-)

We all bowed in reverence, of course 🙂

Until that day I’d not been aware of this service, and it really was an unusual experience, which I felt very lucky to have enjoyed. Doubly so a few weeks later when one of the vehicles caught fire while on the river, causing a suspension of the rides until thorough safety checks had been undertaken on the entire fleet! There but for the Grace of God…..

After all of that excitement, we ended the day in a lovely restaurant tucked out of the way in Camden, where to my further surprise I was treated to a cake, and a candlelit rendition of Happy Birthday To You from staff and customers. Truly, a lovely day and a perfect celebration I’ll always remember, made special for me by these two beautiful young women

img_2687

As you may have noticed, I have for some reason I don’t understand been looking back to three years ago quite a lot this week – my Facebook friends have been treated to reminders of my week of songs for the day which I posted in the lead up to my retirement, so count yourselves lucky to have been spared that! I don’t think this means that I have been wallowing in the past, as some might say, and I feel it important that we don’t lose touch with our past. It is, after all, a part of who we are now. I’m intending to do a post or two on linking the past with the future, when I’ve worked out what that means for me. For now, cake is beckoning, so I bid you adieu until the next time.”

And here I am again, back in the now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trawl through some of my earlier posts. This last one is particularly special for me, as it reflects a wonderful day out given to me by two wonderful people, who are the focal point of my world. As you may have noticed from some of my recent posts, they have been joined in my affections by the most recent arrival to our family. Looking back on the good things in your life is great, but the future is there to be enjoyed too. Yesterday my older daughter sent me this to mark my birthday:


Our new focus of special memories will, I’m sure, feature here again at some point. It’s good to have the future, looking forward.

 

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  1. Gill Monk
    September 20, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    It sounds like a fantastic day. Memories are made of this 😉 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 20, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you, Gill, it was! xx

      Like

  2. September 18, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Lovely post is right, Clive. A great day … and a great future ahead, captured in that last picture. And belated happy birthday from a fellow Virgo (probably should be Virgoan, if I am to be properly pedantic, as a Virgo!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Enda, much appreciated. And a happy birthday to you too, whenever it was, is, or will be 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 18, 2018 at 2:41 pm

        September 5th!! Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

      • September 18, 2018 at 2:41 pm

        Hope it was a good one 😊

        Like

  3. September 18, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I enjoyed reading your post Clive, found through Esme’s Salon. Congrats on your special day and its great to share older memories and posts isn’t it? As I’ve just become a grandmother I know all about your thoughts looking to the future, happy days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 18, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Thanks for your kind words, Debbie. I’ve been sharing a good many older posts in the past year or two, as I’ve had many new followers who wouldn’t have seen them before – and it’s easier than writing new ones! Congratulations on becoming a grandmother – a happy time 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 19, 2018 at 1:19 am

        Thanks Clive, I think it’s a great way of introducing newer readers to your content. Yes indeed, happy times are ahead!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. September 18, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Glad you enjoyed your day out in London. We’ve been on the Eye three times over the past 18 years, and enjoyed every ‘flight’. Congrats on grandfatherhood – isn’t it great? We get all the best bits and then hand them back when they’re ratty at the end of the day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Thanks Stevie. I’m hoping to go again one day and take a proper camera this time! And many thanks for your congrats 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. September 17, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Happy birthday Clive, 65 is an age I have yet to reach, so I shall be looking at you for guidance as how one should behave at such a learned age, or do I carry on as I am…?

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

      Hi Michael. Thanks for your good wishes. Advice? Just KBO, it’s too late to change now 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

        Thanks Clive sound and learned advice

        Liked by 1 person

  6. September 17, 2018 at 10:26 am

    What a lovely post Clive. I wish you a belated happy birthday. Here’s to looking ahead to more good times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 17, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Many thanks, Miriam. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for your good wishes 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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