The Birthday Boy

  • By merrick angle

How's things with you?

A few weeks ago my friend Richard turned 40. From my viewpoint (39 two thirds and counting) turning forty seems to be a bit of a big deal. It’s unlike previous birthdays, gone are the endless, nebulous possibilities of people’s potential futures. People now have kids, ageing parents, and established careers that they may or may not like. Forty is the ‘you-are-really-in-this-and-this-is-really-is-your-life’ birthday and consequently, how you celebrate it can be problematic. You can’t necessarily go for the full on Oliver Reed style shenanigans that you might have done in your twenties. Do you go big? Go small? Go family orientated? This sort of think can speak volumes about how you see yourself and how you want to be seen by your loved ones.  

Richard is above all things a classy bastard, so he rents a house in a walled garden in a wilderness reserve in Suffolk. Invites his friends and their families for the weekend. Oh, and when you get home he sends you a heartfelt thank you note for coming.

See, classy bastard.
View of the house in the walled garden featuring my new friend, Russell.
The confusing chandelier - This is what my Geordie grandmother would call "a bugger's muddle".
We met a big dog.
Alice laughing at me eating fish and chips in the FREEZING cold.
This is how the photo looked in my mind.
The birthday boy
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous - A diary of the last two months of WW2 was never going to be a beach read, and while being tough (the multiple rapes by Red Army soldiers on German women made this book controversial at the time of it’s publication), this is an extraordinary little book. There are beautifully written passages filled with amazing insight into human behaviour, fascinating everyday detail, meditations on defeat and ultimately a very female resilience.

Heavyweight podcast #15 Dina - This series is new to me, so new in fact, that I have only listened to the one episode. It follows journalist Jonathan Goldstein as he goes home to visit his parents with his wife and five month old son in tow. It’s about trying to unearth a family secret but that really takes second place to the comic asides that will be familiar to anyone with slightly bizarre parents (and yes mum, I know you read this newsletter).

Lots of love,


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