64: just another step on life’s path

Grey Matter expected to awaken on Saturday and find himself just a wee bit more grey. Another year had been added to his not-so-slender frame. It is a long time since the joyous cry went up: “21 today, 21 today”.

Nae, on June 6 it was only a slightly audible, a veritable whisper: “64 today”. And just once. But no, a glance in the bathroom mirror revealed that much was the same as when GM had retired to his slumber, six or seven hours earlier. Just to be certain the mirror was turned and a glance made into the side that magnifies. GM was still a contented soul, a happy chappie.

Truth be known, Grey Matter stopped counting a few years ago. Age is really just a number. A stepping stone on the path of life. Stones and a path that have only one certain ending. One day you’ll fall off.

But life is for living. This is not a dress rehearsal. Fail to embrace and enjoy it and you won’t get a second chance.

But let’s not be philosophical or even morbid. Birthdays have come and gone and, fingers crossed, they will come and go again.

I was a D-Day baby – not 1944 I hasten to add. But the arithmetical among you would have already worked that out.

One of my nieces living across the water in Dunoon imparted the news that she was having a baby and her due date was June 6. That gave me a buzz.

But babies, like women, can be fickle, and Orla decided to enter the world two weeks early. Mum, dad and baby are well, and that’s really all that matters.

I like Dunoon. In truth it has seen better days, but there is something about it that just makes you like it.

There’s the wonderful Cowal Games, just for starters. And some fantastic views and fine coffee houses. And it was in Dunoon that I bowed to temptation and submitted to the needle for my one-and-only tattoo. And, strangely, this came about at birthday time as well – my 59th.

The shop was a recent addition to the town and doubled as a ladies’ hairdressers. I popped in and told the tattoo merchant what I wanted – a quill, with an ink blob and the words ‘The pen is mighter than the sword’. He didn’t have one and promised if I returned the next day he would have found a suitable design.

And he was true to his word. I spent about 80 minutes in the chair before my left arm was covered in gell and wrapped in something akin to Clingfilm.

I haven’t done much at birthdays since, except a welcome surprise 60th organised by my son. Next up is 65 – and I have a hankering for riding the Braw Lads’ Gathering and one other festival for the first time. I’ll keep you posted.