Today has been quite a soggy 33rd birthday for me. The depression group organised an outing to Somes Island. When I poked my head outside this morning I was sure it would be called off. I texted the organiser who assured me it was still on, so I boarded the 10am ferry with the six others who hadn't totally given up on the day. The rain eased off a bit and we spent an interesting 2½ hours on the island. Most of the wildlife we'd been promised didn't materialise - I think the weather had a hand in that - but the island had more of a history than I'd imagined. Heavy anti-aircraft guns were installed during World War Two. Thankfully they were never fired. Perhaps I'm easily impressed, but building guns all those years ago that could reach and hit planes flying at 30,000-plus feet sounds impressive to me. I suppose so many resources were poured into that sort of technology back then that it advanced at a rate of knots. We had a good look around the rather creepy animal quarantine station which was still in use as recently as 1995; we thought it would be a good setting for a horror movie. Just before we left the island it started tipping it down; it's continued to do so since then with no end in sight. Still, we're overdue a good downpour after a very dry summer and early autumn.
Not many people know it's my birthday. I did tell people at work, and of course I was asked what I had planned for my big day. The last time I had anything approaching a party was eleven years ago (I can't believe it's that long) when I was in the middle of studying for my final exams at Birmingham. Like today my birthday fell on a Saturday and we ended up at some god-awful bar where you could only communicate via hand signals. Eleven years before that, on yet another Saturday, I played in a tennis tournament in Bedford. I've experienced the whole gamut of birthday weather and on that day we got light snow. If memory serves I somehow played four matches that day in between the wintry showers (while Mum sat in the car - I didn't like her watching), winning two and losing two. Eleven years before that was a Sunday, and I don't remember anything of that day at all, which is just as well.
Continuing the "old people" theme on this blog, the world's oldest living man (from Japan) turned 116 yesterday. When I shook hands with that 102-year-old chap at Julie's rest home it felt like I was shaking hands with history. Add another fourteen years and just, wow. He's also the oldest living person (it's rare that a man holds that title), the first ever man to reach 116, and the only living man to be born in 18-something. Seeing him on the news tonight he's starting to look his age, although it's hard to say what someone of that age should look like.