July 14, 2013

My 70th

John Ray

When I arrived at Paul's Daisy Hill place for the lunchtime party in honour of my 70th birthday , I was immediately grabbed by the 3 year old Sahara and led through the house to where the presents were.  How come?  Was that not a rather ignominious entrance?  How come an old gent was being led around by a 3 year old?  Should I not have been greeting my hosts  and other adults present?

I in fact regarded it as a great honour to be led in by a child.  And those who know me well would not find that surprising.

When I arrived I was met at the door by several people  -- one of whom was Sahara.  In my usual way it was the child I spoke to first.  I said "Well. We've got a pretty little girl here", or something to that effect.  Sahara likes me these days anyway so she took that greeting as her cue, grabbed my hand and towed me through the house.

So it was just a reflection of the way I get on with children. I talk to them and give them attention above all.  Children often have difficulty in getting the ear of their parents but when I was helping to bring up Paul  and the twins, I talked to them a lot.  I discussed things with them.  I would sometimes say silly things in fact.  And they would get great satisfaction correcting me.

I am not very good with the littlest ones  -- though I adore them of course -- but once they can talk we get on well.

I am so in favour with Sahara these days that when I was leaving she also helped to carry my presents out to the car!

Opening my presents with Sahara observing

And, after all, a great teacher once said:  "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matt.: 19:14 NKJV).  Jesus was a good guy

Paul and Susan put on a  great lunch.  Susan is one crafty lady so had decorated the dining room with lots of photos from my life plus various things commenting on the number 70.

She also as usual provided some very good food.  At my request the food was sandwiches but Susan did a variety of American ones that we don't normally see in Australia.

About 30 people turned up, including people I don't often see, Henningham, my brother Christopher, cousin Shirley, Jill & Lewis.

I had a good chat with several people,  mostly about politics.  We were all wondering whether Kevvy will stick to his new conservative line.  Joe found himself among a wholly conservative gathering, which must have been a contrast to university.

I got lots of presents, all of which were good but Vonnie's present of a whole selection of NZ groceries was particularly interesting.  I now have a jar of NZ Marmite! Plus other rarities.

I am really in Sahara's good books lately. Being well regarded by a beautiful blonde 3-year-old is definitely a privilege.

As I was departing, I noted that Henningham is still a devoted customer of the Ford Motor Co. of Detroit.  I arrived in my 1963 Humber Super Snipe.  Detroit iron vs. good taste?

Many thanks to Prof. Henningham for the photos immediately below.

Cutting the cake

Joe with his old father

Blowing out the candles

With Prof. Henningham

With my brother -- looking his most skeptical

Joe, Sahara and the Humber

My short speech

And now for some pix from Susan, the hostess with the mostest:

Cuban sandwiches

The Photo wall

Schwarzwalderkirschentorte -- my ideal birthday cake

Jill with our hostess, Susan

Joe and Nanna with Sahara in her pretty dress which she loves

July 8, 2013

For reasons of convenience, my birthday observances generally stretch out on either side of the actual day.  Since this year is my 70th., people are being extra kind.  Tonight, Jenny put on a Dhansak dinner for me -- always impressive but so much work that she does them rarely.

And Jenny went the full hog tonight, not only offering the Dhansak itself but also Kachumbar (an amazing Parsee salad), Parsee pillau, green chutney and various other accompaniments.  If you think you know chutney you don't until you have had green chutney.

Present were Jenny & Nanna, Paul & family, Von & family.  We  dined in Nanna's granny flat as it was a bit too nippy for our usual rendezvous on the back verandah.

Paul is a bit given to excess on occasions and he suffered for it tonight.  He likes "hot" food so bit into some chillies Jenny had.  But they were REALLY hot so he had a very sore mouth for a while.  He wasn't as talkative as he usually is for a while after that.

In the circumstances a lot of the conversation was about food and I got the impression that both Susan and Simon had some interest in learning how to do a Dhansak.  The one Jenny does is the real thing, not the bland curry you usually get under that name in Indian restaurants.

The Dhansak. It tastes a lot better than it looks

At table

I also of course had at a later date a 1-on-1 celebratory dinner with Anne, featuring our usual celebratory food -- lamb cutlets plus Sydney rock oysters. Sydney rock oysters tend to be a bit small but they are supreme in taste.

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