Time flies and suddenly I found myself to be half a century as Johnny keep tactfully reminding me. Deciding that I wanted to at least mark the occasion I invited family, friends and neighbours to come along and have a beer and burger.
My parents arrived over on the Wednesday and we had a bit of time together, though the weather was not brilliant. We had to take Jean-Jacques down to Beauvais on the Thursday for him to get his flight to Ireland. He was going to be away on a boat sailing down the Shannon for a fortnight.
On the Friday we collected Johnny from college and my parents spent an afternoon in the Abbey grounds at Valois looking at the roses.
Saturday was a day of preparing food and running about like a headless chicken. Johnny and I had a major row about his driving ability but we managed to get over that and the evening went off smoothly.
I had managed to get some Westvleteren Trappist beer the last time I was in Ieper and that was well worth trying, as was my friend Emmanuel's home brewed blonde with honey. He could easily sell that to my family it was that good.
The weather had been threatening thunder storms all day but we managed to have a dry evening if a little chilly by the small hours of the morning. Peter lit a wood fire in the barbecue and felt happily at home.
My father was more than entertained and his French tested by Guy and Jean-Marie, whilst the rest of us were given a life's history by Therese who was definitely the star of the evening. Three bottles of red and she will tell you anything, so long as you ask in French.
The evening came to a close about two, three in the morning. Johnny and I had a final glass and we retired to our half the tent, Simon and Vicky having the other half of our brand new 5 Star house extension.
Vicky can obviously sleep as well as Johnny, because neither was annoyed by all the birds tweeting at five in the morning. Me I just got up and started on the dishes.