D’ya hear yer man

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One more year

I turned 35 on Monday.

I’m not sure why I applied the expression ‘turned’ to my age. It makes me sound like a product in a supermarket that has passed a fixed date by which it becomes no longer fit for sale or display.

I’m no spring chicken it’s true, but I’m not quite ready to comply with the rest of the verses of the ‘One Foot In The Grave’ theme tune.

Despite my extra miles on the clock I managed to take part in a very competitive game of rugby on Saturday afternoon and an equally competitive game of Catchphrase on Sunday evening. I’m pleased to report I survived both games unscathed, though at several points during Catchphrase I thought my sides were going to split from laughing.

The most amusing answer came from Karen, who, after seeing an image of Mr Chips playing a musical instrument in the general direction of a basket of long, green reptiles, yelled ‘snail charmer’. It was good, but it wasn’t right.

I got some great presents from my friends and family and it’s good to see my gifts don’t reflect my advancing years. The presents included a bat and ball set, three Mr Men books, a Rubik’s Cube and the aforementioned Catchphrase board game. I may look and feel my age, but it’ll be a sad day when I start to act it.

One of the best presents I got for my birthday, apart from the vat of red wine stew and heart-shaped chocolate fridge cake made for me by my wonderful wife, was the hug and the kiss I got from Lucy on the morning of my birthday. When I say hug it was more of a grapple and I fear the kiss may have been an attempt at a bite. All the same, she’s only 10 months old so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. It will go into my diary as a hug and a kiss and the historians can argue over the subtleties.

It must be great to be Lucy’s age when simple gestures of love (or possibly hunger) mean so much more than a paid-for gift. For the next four years all Lucy needs to do is smile in lieu of a birthday present.

But the amnesty won’t last forever, as soon as she starts school I’ll be expecting her to toe the line and start marking my birthdays by presenting me with gift-wrapped socks, aftershave and soft rock compilation albums.

On most birthdays people ask me do I feel any different. Normally I say I feel exactly the same as I did the day before, but this year I do feel a tangible difference.

Perhaps it’s because my circumstances have changed so much from what they were when I’d just turned 34.

When I celebrated my 34th birthday I had no children, no car and I didn’t play golf.

Now I have an amazing daughter, a dependable Volkswagen and I still don’t play golf.

C’mon! Seriously? Golf? You didn’t think...? I may be getting old, but golf?! Give me some credit.

Wedding Bells

I was at a wedding last week. Not just any wedding, but the marriage of former Lurgan Mail reporter Jonathan Bell to his beloved Anna.

Anyone who remembers Jonathan (the one who succeeded Diane and predated Ruairi and Carmel) will recall he was prone to the odd blunder.

It’s with a mixture of pleasure and disappointment that I can reveal his wedding passed off incident free. I’m pleased for him, but at the same time he’s left me little to report in this week’s column.

I had half banked on a botched first dance or lost wedding band providing a veritable field day for Yer Man.

Instead the best I can do is wish Jonathan and Anna many happy returns and hope that he’ll come home from his honeymoon and reveal how he got on the wrong plane for Singapore and ended up doing battle with Mola Ram in the Temple of Doom.

Fact of the week

Here’s this week’s lesser known and indisputable fact: Hedgehogs can’t be detected by radar.

Come back next week for a fresh fact.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: a deck of cards is cut and put on a table but never eaten.

Here’s this week’s teaser: Before Mount Everest was discovered what was the tallest mountain in the world?