The first thing I can remember something that happened 42 years ago today. I was three years and 6 days old when my father, who normally brought my brother and me a drink od Rosehip syrup first thing in the morning, mistakenly brought us cups of tea instead. We had tea every morning after.
The reason for this confusion was the birth of my sister that very morning..... he was clearly getting better at having kids... on my birthday he'd nearly drowned himself but by the time my sister came along he only mixed up the morning drinks.
And with that the October birthday collection ends...... Well almost.... there was someone I didn't get around to mentioning on Friday. At some time in my sister's childhood she had, perhaps not surprisingly, a Halloween party. Amongst the girls invited was Jay, two years and three days older, from across the road. She took the Witchery much more serious than the younger attendees having brought a self penned spell book with her which he used to dramatic effect on some of the more easily upset young children. Several were almost certain they had been turned into creeping, crawling or even hopping things. Excellent entertainment (if you're a mean older brother).
A few years later Jay became my first girlfriend.... I don't think any spells were used. She's living in France now I believe (what is it with my childhood friends and leaving the country?)
Anyway, happy birthday to my sister for today and belatedly to Jay for last Friday.
Back to normal tomorrow....
This one is a day late.... sorry.
You don't think I wrote all this in advance do you? It's not like I'm on holiday here! I had the idea forgetting that other things might crop up and get in the way. Life, eh! Anyway, thanks to all for the birthday comments, I had an excellent day which ended with a beautiful meal for Mrs.Planarchy and me at our favourite local Italian place. Then yesterday saw nearly the whole day being swallowed up with another visit (all of us this time) to Groombridge Place. More of that later but in the meantime I really must return to October birthday Number 6 as it's already a day late.
For most of my childhood (7 to 16) we lived in a newly built semi-detached house in suburbia. It was a wonderful place to grow up..... the houses were set back from the road with large semi-communal lawns and walkways and then a steep bank before the pavement proper. Add to this the fact that there were fewer cars in those days and that only half of the road was tarmaced and you have a pretty secluded environment. To ice the cake there were many children of a similar age.
Cee was 364 days older than me and lived four doors down. Though we never attended the same school we were inseparable for what seems like most of the time he lived there. The summer holidays were always hot and sunny and the games of Butch and Sundance lasted for day upon day as, on one occasion when we both were confined due to chicken pox, did one particular game of Monopoly. I only remember us falling out seriously on one occasion after I kissed his sister (well, she was playing the Katherine Ross character in the Butch & Sundance game). What actually held our friendship together I have no idea.... neither of us were football fans and it was before we got into music so we were just both there at the right time. At some point Cee's family moved away and we eventually lost touch despite occasional familial journeys back and forth.
Anyway, my sources tell me that Cee moved to Scandiwegia and became a Biochemist (although not necessarily in that order)... not a million miles from my recently dumped career of microbiologist so maybe there were some deeper similarities after all.
Whatever, hope you had a good 46th Cee.
I was due to come into this world on the 25th October 1960. The fact that there was no sign of this happening by said afternoon meant nothing. At Redhill General Hospital in 1960 babies came when they were due. So I was induced. And thus by 10pm I had arrived when the medical staff decided rather than when nature thought correct. This, apparently, explains a lot about me.
I simply wasn't ready.
On the other hand maybe it also explains why I am never late for anything. If I plan to be somewhere at noon then I will invariably be there by ten to at the latest.
As well as the day of my birth it was, so I am told, very nearly the day of my father's death. My parent's didn't have a car, couldn't afford a taxi and there were no buses to enable my father to travel to the hospital to see his first born. He took a short cut in the dark across Earlswood Common and suddenly found himself in more than his own depth of water. Since he couldn't swim this was a pretty dangerous situation. Somehow he found his way to both the bank and indeed to the maternity ward without drowning. How he was greeted we can only imagine.
Obviously I can't remember any of this and actually I don't think I can recall any of my childhood birthdays specifically at all. I vaguely remember one where we used the drinks' straws as bazookas for cocktail sticks which apparently was the last children's party my mother entertained. Then again there was a teenage party which ended like any teenage party should and meant that there was never one for either my brother or sister. Some time in the early 70's there must have been one where I received a guitar but I don't remember which one it was. There was also one where my mother booked a dental appointment..... "I knew the date sounded familiar," was her only comment.
I do remember my 21st though. I went to see the Clash at the Lyceum with a friend we shall, by this Blog's tradition, call Tee. He bought me a Tee shirt which I still have. It was an excellent concert also. Above you see a shot of me (by Tee) wearing the tee shirt at some point in the late '80's.
Then I think we have to fast-forward 19 years to get to the next one I can remember. Mrs.Planarchy flew me off to Barcelona for the weekend of my 40th. That was a good one too.
And this one? Well so far pretty good... 45 eh?
Peas, like most of the Legume family don't care for having their roots disturbed (who does?). One solution we came across was planting the seeds in a length of gutter. Once they've germinated and formed a couple of sets of leaves the whole length is then slid into a shallow drill up t'allotment with minimal root disturbance. Well that was the theory anyway. The peas had clearly become most attached to their gutteral home (looking at the stars I'm sure) and had to broken into four lengths. Whether this was really less disturbing than removing from pots I don't know..... we didn't plant a control series in pots. The cloche is now on and they should be ready for eating sometime next spring. In the meantime they seem very happy in their new home.
So, as we approach the really big one it is apt that today's OctoberBirf is that of my father. Seventy-three years young today. According to a collectors card that came with Shredded Wheat in my youth this means he was born in the same year as the three Apollo 11 astronauts. However, more recent research suggests the Lunar three were actually born two years earlier.
Shredded Wheat you have let me down.
Anyway, my father never went to the moon. Or if he did he never told us. He did travel parts of Africa whilst on National Service. Where he tells us he spent rather a lot of time being locked up for not obeying orders. Planarchists you see... we're not good with authority.
Actually I've cancelled October Birthday Number 3 as I decided it was probably potentially too libelous. So instead here's all my Russian/Soviet Political dolls from Yeltsin down to Peter the Great (the leetle one..... ha ha, eh?). Nice though aren't they? Mrs.Planarchy bought them back from Moscow for me years ago in the days that she used to go there on business.
Full(-ish) listing: Yeltsin, Gorbachev, Brezhnev, Krushchev, Stalin, Mystery Man, Lenin, Czar Nicholas, Rasputin, Peter the Great.
A short break from the October Birthdays today as I need your help.
Who is this Soviet/Russian doll supposed to be? He is placed between Lenin and Stalin in my set of Soviet/Russian leaders which is a bit confusing. I have two possible names in the frame at the moment, one of which I'd never even heard of until I showed the set to my other year of the Rat work colleague a few years ago. She was Polish and knew a thing or three about Soviet politics. Anyway, any suggestions welcome.
The birthday list will return tomorrow as strangely it seems to be generating tangential comments which I had never guessed at. Which is good. That's what I like about this stuff...
Number two is a young lady we shall call Are.
She used to work for me at GlobalFoodCorps. For a long time. She came to work there straight out of University and lasted for nearly ten years before my constant badgering of "If you stay ten years you're stuck for life" finally helped goad her into finding somewhere else to work. A shame as we had a good working relationship by then and also, more importantly, the Planarchy household had become reliant on the wonderful free range eggs she provided every week from her parent's farm. It took several months to find a supply even half as good. In the mean time I began pondering on whether my taunting of never escaping from GlobalFoodCorps had perhaps really been my own thoughts of being trapped struggling to be made heard. I think I'd have left anyway but I'm sure her departure played a catalytic role if nothing else.
As well as sharing an October birthday with me, young Are was also a Rat. In the Chinese horoscope that is. Like me. And one of my other reportees. Three rats on a sinking ship. None of us are there anymore.
Anyway hope you had a good one Are.
Today is Teen Dee's fifteenth birthday. And for the first time she didn't put down a horse on her present wish list. Typical.... beaucoup de glue! Also not on her list was a PC of her own. But she seems to be enjoying having one nevertheless. This evening her choice of meal is a takeaway curry. I don't remember my fifteenth birthday at all but I'm sure we didn't have takeaway curry.
Yesterday found us enjoying ourselves at a party for the October Planarchy birthdays (Teen Dee, my father, my sister and me, myself, I) at my parent's house. There should have been 175 candles on the cake but we settled for Dee's 15.
I suppose this plethora of October birthdays is what started me "collecting" October birthdays. There was a time, I think, when I knew someone with a birthday on each day from the 15th through to the 31st. I suppose many must have been school friends but I have absolutely no recall of who most of them were. I know the first was Jay, a childhood friend who lived across the road and always used to be Spock when we played Star Trek. But as for the 16th, well nope.... sorry whoever you are I've completely forgotten. I don't think we were ever that close though, were we?
Tomorrow's I do remember... you can't wait can you?
No it's not a chicken. It's Helga the English Bald Eagle.
We last saw her about four and a half years ago where, as a young, but even then pretty big, eagle she took a dislike to young Dee's blue denim hat. She also did quite a good mean vulture impression back then, did she not? She's now gained her lovely white cap plumage and seems to like soaring high above the flying field at Groombridge Place. Wonderful to see... absolutely wonderful.
Helga lives at Groombridge with various other Raptors at the Raptor Centre, a sanctuary for birds of prey where three times a day the birds get to fly free. Helga has yet to venture all the way to her antecedents' home continent of America but did, on one occasion, get as far as Croydon. Well worth a visit if you're in the area (Groombridge Place that is, not Croydon).
I really think this will be the last Dragonfly round-up of the year. But the last few days have seen some lovely october sunshine on East London and the last few dragons are still determined to get their pictures taken. The Darter above was so keen he landed on the bench beside me and sat there for several minutes. The Hawkers (Southern & Migrant)are somewhat harder to capture. They have a charming habit of flying right up close to investigate and then hovering just not quite long enough for one to focus and take the picture. The efforts are thus somewhat less sharper than we might like. Still something to improve on next year.
OK, well still in France but without, I hope, any of the perceived smut this time. A garden that I walked past every morning on the way to buy the croissants..... I liked their juxtaposition of neat rows of lettuce and cabbage with the tip-like installation (I'm sure it is an installation and not just their rubbish!).
Whilst wandering around Hollow Ponds yesterday searching for an eclipse (seen briefly but not photographed) I came across the usual collection of males young and old sitting fishing on their own. It took me back to our holiday in France this summer where I couldn't help but notice the large number of couples sitting happily together chatting whilst fishing. This pair were, as far as I could ascertain, discussing her copy of Paris Match whilst he occasionally jerked his rod.
Vive la différence?