Given that my father, his father and my father's brother all died in their mid fifties I was very happy to be still around at the age of 70. My 70th birthday was quite memorable.

Firstly Jackie and I had a voucher for High Tea at Chatsworth House, courtesy of our daughter Lisa. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then I was given an unusual birthday cake:

There was a picture of me aged 10, made from icing. My wife Jackie had secretly organised for it to be presented to me.

On Halloween 31st October 2009 Jackie drove me in her car to the Beijing Restaurant on Bocking Lane.

When we entered the place looked empty but hidden from sight were six friends, some we had not seen for years:

Gerry and Maureen ( Jackie's cousin):

Frank and Sandra our BT friends. Ray Salmon the husband of Barbara in next photo:

Barbara is a good friend Jacqueline met doing her charity shop work. The four of us often go out for meals together.

Then came the shock of our lives. Whilst reading the menu a voice behind me said "More prawn crackers, sir?"

I didn't glance backwards until the man spoke again. My immediate thought was - This waiter's not Chinese and why is he wearing a baseball cap?

When he removed the cap my eyes recognised the person but my brain wouldn't accept it!

Dean, our son, who should have been 3000 miles away in Chicago was standing there. At first I thought that Jackie had arranged the surprise but when I saw her in tears I realised he had come without either of us knowing.

We were so over-joyed we told our guests that they could order anything they wanted off the menu. We all did and had a real banquet.


To see what happened -           CLICK HERE

There was one final birthday surprise left:


Lisa had arranged for me to cross off one of the things on my list of "100 Things To See And Do" 

To see what happened, see item No. 53 in this list or     CLICK HERE