WELL, that's it. One to go before the big 5-O. Friday marked my glorious 49th year on this planet and the usual suspects were up for the party. Had some really great presents from Wren, including a set of knives which, knowing my track record, could represent a serious handicap in my ability to keep my digits intact over the next few months.
So Friday night started with a few bevvies in Zero Degrees with one of our marketing gurus Mr Jonathan "show me the" Munnery, who was out with some of his acquantainces and clients on the basis it was his birthday the day before.
Having knocked down a few swifties we then departed for the new old O'Neills, rather than the old new O'Neills which the Fugitive always gets confused about (God knows why!). And as the drinks flowed Smashy led us in a rendition of what is fast becoming our signature tune "Are we drinkiiing... or are we f***ing drinking".
Wren joined us and after that it was a trip to the City Arms where, shock of shocks, my own personal DJ had gone awol. I had to asked the barman where he was. "Jase, he's just a lazy b***tard," was the reply. How inconvenient.
Anyway, next stop was the New Model Army Inn where the Karaoke was going great guns. The Wonderful One, who has on numerous occasions remarked about how he HATED karaoke and would NEVER get involved, was desperately trying to persuade me to go up on stage. "Go on, we can do Senses Working Overtime, he said. I agreed, thinking there was no way they would have the track. Unfortunately they did. The good luck, though, was that there were so many people in the queue in front of it that we never did get on stage.
By that time I had drunk enough, anyway. And the evidence hit me the next morning when my body felt it was loosely held together with string while a woodpecker banged on my head in a bid to crack it open.
It took a while to come around, yet there were important things to be done... like drag Wren to watch the Gas play Colchester.
What a birthday thriller. Nil-bloody-nil. Still, better than a loss I suppose. The surprise of the day came later.
I used to doubt Wren's credentials as a true blue Rovers fan, thinking she just went along to please me. But at the final whistle she dragged me into the shop and bought a lovely hoodie sweatshirt for herself with the name of the illustrious Bristol Rovers stamped across the front. She knows the way to a man's heart.
She was obviously pleased with her day because she told me afterwards: "It was great that it only cost £10 to get in, too!"
"Umm, it actually cost me £17," I told her.
Then it dawned on me. She had gone through the Juveniles turnstyle and passed for an Under-14. God, I thought. Does that make me a pervert?
Sunday was a pretty quiet day and on Monday I went to see the guru, who I had last seen staggering around Cardiff unable to pronounce his name or even let himself out of The Yard. He was in a much better state this time, thank God. He could tell I was a bit stressed out, he said. Can't think why. Oh yeah, there is a wedding just a few months away, maybe that's it. Or maybe it was the fear the Gas would get dragged into a relegation battle. Whichever, the treatment was great.