Well, made it to 60. Last Thursday was my birthday. By lunchtime my shelf, two tops of chests of drawers and my mantelpiece were full of cards. In the morning the kids of Year 3 in our parish school invited me to share their post-First Holy communion party with them, which was great fun. The whole of Key Stage 2 sang "Happy Birthday" in the playground, and zillions of cards were stuffed into a huge yellow folder. Fantastic. Then I took it easy for the rest of the day, with phone calls coming in at regular intervals.
The main celebration was planned for the next day, Friday. Months ago I had discussed what to do, and I requested a hog roast, as we had had one when I was made a canon, and it had gone down very well. So hog was ordered, sides prepared and everyone prayed for the rain to stay away. Well, I'm glad to say we all had a lovely evening. I think around 200 came - we had asked people to sign up from the parishes. My brother and sister joined us and their other halves, and a few friends too from various aspects of my life. It was all very informal: lots of chat, lovely food, plenty of wine or beer. It was just as I had imagined. Two cakes were needed to feed the multitude, one with the 6 and the other with the 0.
The stream of cards became a flood, reaching I would say over 200. I've got enough wine to last a lifetime, a good supply of various funny mugs, some excellent books, and several beautiful objects, including an original stoneware piece.
I'm very grateful to everyone who helped make it a very special occasion. I have to say I don't feel any older.