Today (the eighth of March 2017) is my sixty-ninth birthday. I’m still getting my head around that fact. Anyone, friend or acquaintance, who says I look older will be shot at dawn every day for a week, metaphorically speaking! That means you Chris the Story Reading Ape and any other smarty pants out there! 😉
I share the same birth year (1948) with two good friends and fellow writers. We were born within weeks of one another. Strictly in the order of seniority, I give you that man Seumas Gallacher, Scottish by birth. I’m not exactly sure where he was born but I have a feeling it might have been Glasgow. The second member of this exclusive trio is Robert Bauval who was born in Alexandria in Egypt. I bring up the rear as the youngest, being born in the market town of Beccles in the English county of Suffolk, where I still live.
Something not many people may know about me is that if it hadn’t been for my grandmothers believing the incorrect medical advice given in a letter by the British Foreign Office to my father late in 1947, I would have been born in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia instead of Beccles hospital. Back then the still colonial British establishment’s attitude towards other races, let alone their medical facilities, was at best condescending and very definitely racist.
At the time my father desperately wanted to become the manager of the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s vast estates in the hills above Addis, seeing it as a stepping stone in his social standing. I’m glad for the sake of the ordinary Ethiopians working in the estates that the job fell through. Dad was typical of the Edwardian born middle class generation, a social climbing snob and a martinet who relished the idea of bossing around non white people.
He always insisted that my grandmother’s intervention in my imminent arrival spoiled his chances – god only knows why? More than likely the powers that be finally saw through him. At any rate, not getting what he wanted does account for his frosty attitude towards me until the day he died. Luckily I take after my down to earth loving cockney mother, not him.
I’ve often wondered what an idylic childhood I might have had growing up in Ethiopia. As it was I grew up in New Zealand. Both of my grandmothers were dead against us immigrating there in 1958, convinced we would be eaten by the Maori.
Obviously we weren’t…
My good friend Seumas Gallacher
My other good friend Robert Bauval
Seumas is the oldest of the three of us by a few weeks. I’m not exactly sure of his date of birth, but it was in February – I think. Don’t quote me on that! Next is Robert whose birthday was on Sunday last, then myself today. The three of us have a milestone birthday to celebrate next year when we turn seventy, God willing.
Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday dear Seumas, Robert and me, happy birthday to us…