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A bridge too far

While driving down the M1 the other day I noticed a bedraggled bedsheet hanging over a motorway bridge which appeared to be advertising the fact that Jim or possibly Jean had just turned 50 or maybe it was 60.

I don’t see the point in broadcasting birthdays by this means. Not only is it irrelevant to 99.9% of the people who drive past it, but even those who are ‘in the know’ will do well to decipher the message being conveyed by the makeshift banner.

Wind and rain are pretty much guaranteed on the hour every hour in this country which will inevitably whip the sheet out of shape and cause the lettering on it to blot into an indistinguishable smear. After a few hours in the elements it looks more like a dirty protest than a celebratory gesture.

When did this unnecessary appendage find its way onto the birthday checklist? Perhaps it unfolded something like this...

“Michael, I need you to get some candles. Joe, can you pick up a cake and some balloons? Fiona, three bags of party poppers and some paper plates is what I need from you. So that just leaves you, Gary - what are you going to do for your dad’s 50th?”

“Well, mum - I was actually thinking of hanging a soiled rag from a motorway bridge, what do you reckon?”

“Excellent idea, son - you always were your daddy’s favourite.”

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Anyone who read last week’s column will no doubt be seeking an update on the progress of my moustache.

The not so long and very short of it is my unofficial moustache growing project never got off the ground. On the evening of day 10 I removed the offending item from my upper lip.

I’m not too proud to admit that my plan to grow a ‘mo’ in coincidence with, but not in conjunction with, Movember was a woeful one. I thought it would provide comic irony whereas all it did was repel my nearest and dearest. Lucy was giving me funny looks, Karen was rejecting all my advances (nothing new there) and my mum seemed genuinely scared when she first laid eyes on it.

I’d commented last week that I had little faith in my ability to sprout facial hair and the pathetic excuse for a moustache backed up my pessimism. If it had been a fully formed moustache I might have got away with it, but such was the patchiness and wispy quality of my whiskers that I looked like a lab experiment to splice the DNA of humans and hairbrushes.

I suppose I was lucky that I wasn’t tied into a charitable cause therefore I could opt out at any time. Because I had so little attachment to my whiskers (besides from the physical one) it was no skin off my nose to remove it. And only a little skin off my top lip as I scythed through my facial fuzz with a razor when a wet facecloth would probably have had the same effect.

I doubt it, but if I ever decide to do Movember in the future I’ll be giving myself a head start - I reckon June or July would give me enough time to catch up with the rest of the adult male population.

Stepping out

Lucy took her first steps last Friday. I was as proud as a dad could be to watch her take three tiny steps then fall into my waiting arms. The irony of it is, we’d been careful not to allow her onto the tiled kitchen floor in her sock soles in case she slipped. As you’ve probably guessed it was in her sock soles on the kitchen floor that she made her first steps.

As well as taking her first steps Lucy has also come on really well at feeding herself. Such are her table manners that Karen has asked her if she’ll impart some of her knowledge and bring me up to speed.

It’s Lucy’s first birthday next Saturday and her mum and I can’t wait for the big day. One thing’s for sure, to celebrate this milestone birthday I will not be hanging a bedsheet from a motorway bridge.

Weekly teaser

The answer to week’s teaser was: postbox is the seven-letter word that has hundreds of letters in it.

Here’s this week’s teaser: You’re riding a horse. To the right of you is a sharp drop and in front of you is an elephant moving at the same pace so you can’t overtake it. To the left of you is a hippo going at the same speed as your horse and a lion is chasing you. How do you get to safety?