Despite it’s best efforts, COVID-19 was unable to affix the ruining of my birthday to it’s  mammoth collateral damage rap sheet.

To be clear, when correlating against the utter global devastation sweeping along in coronavirus’ wake, even if lockdown had guided my celebrations down a route to purgatory, I realise the episode wouldn’t warrant mention in despatches.

I’m not insensitive or selfish enough to think the anniversary of my natal day, bears any real significance in or out of situation pandemic. My opening gambit arriving from left field to inform you my beloved reader that, despite this lockdown malarky, I’d a very pleasant birthday.

My daytime events a gratifying amalgam of writing two narratives for my blogging website writesaidfred.org, along with cooking a bacon sarnie fit for a king. Well, a middle-aged northern Englishman intent on celebrating his birthday, anyhow.

My ventures with pan and skillet didn’t end there. Late afternoon yours truly embarked on a return odyssey to the cooking chambre, where (if I say so myself) I created a top drawer roast beef dinner.

Footnote – To clarify, when, with perhaps too much a whiff of the vain-glorious, I’d penned the words ‘top drawer beef dinner’, I’m referring to the cuisine served to my mother and me was of a very high quality. Not that I’d eccentrically cooked the silverside joint in the sliding box where we ordinarily store the cutlery!

I know that’d have been taken as read by most of my readership. After all how would’ve I achieved a consistent heat of 180 degrees in the knife drawer for a period of an hour and twenty minutes? Subsequently, Setting the drawer alight could never’ve been a viable food preparation option!

Call me pedantic, but intentionally causing severe fire damage to the kitchen, with a view to ensuring the meal dished up is edible, is a plateau of idiocy even I couldn’t countenance. Even in my more idiosyncratic of days!!

Consequently, the task of warming a meal to its required temperature will, without exception, be the remit of my oven, grill, hob or microwave…… I included the footnote for completeness!….. As you were folks!!

After consuming several slices of beef, eight roast potatoes, half of a giant Yorkshire pudding, broccoli, cauliflower, all enveloped with a flavoursome gravy, I retired to listen to The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album.

This LP, whose recording coincidentally commenced on the day of my fourth birthday (53 years ago to the day), bearing a kaleidoscopic landscape of Fab Four psychedelic anthems. Some refrains influenced through the bands association with Transcendental Meditation teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Yesterday evenings exposure to these songs whisking me to the 1960’s soundscape of my fledgling years. Regressing to an era I, perhaps through heavily rose tinted gigs, recollect as a utopian mural of events. Carefree times when I’d the existential opulence of parental love, security, shelter, good role models and a positive environment in which to flourish.

A decade where, although I was utterly unaware of it at the time, peoples lives took on a new freedom, technological advance, wonderful new entertainment channels and genres, along with greater prosperity through the burgeoning trade union movement.

Although, a young child at the time, I still feel blessed to have experienced life during that decade. In particular, being able to boast I heard last night’s aural companions the first time around!

I apologise if there’s been an unacceptable level of bragging tarnishing the parchment on which I quill. However to close I wanted to relay a short anecdote borne yesterday evening while yours truly watered the parched garden borders.

From a social distancing compliant yardage, the two kids next door sang me a rousing chorus of happy birthday to me. A lovely gesture for which I thanked them. Moving back towards watering the borders, 8 year old Jake shouted over the fence “How old are you today, Gary?”

Chuckling at this endearing insolence, I responded “How old do you think I am, Jakey?”

“Erm, about 43, Gary!!” he replied with trademark childlike ebullience.

I’ll take that!!