Even the cat gave me a break for once and let me sleep in for a few minutes without insisting I get up and feed him at the crack of dawn.
That evening we went out for dinner at the Mexican restaurant on the waterfront. I was joined by ten friends and/or relatives who toasted my health. I had my first Margarita, which my dictionary describes as "a cocktail made of tequila and triple sec with lime and lemon juice". Madeleine tasted hers and said it tasted just like a soft drink; yes, I said warily, a couple of those and we'll find you under the table moaning that your lips have gone numb.
I scored the usual round-up of gifts -- a CD from my favourite radio show, the DVD of a movie I missed on television last week, a bottle of French wine (from Caroline, natch), some home-made biscuits, some tomato relish and a new science-fiction paperback. The last came from Steve, who made a point of mentioning it came from K-Mart; I thought at first he was expecting kudos for his frugality but he actually meant it was an unusual place to find cutting-edge fiction.
Overall it was an enjoyable enough birthday, though if I had my druthers what I'd actually have liked as a present was an extra hour of sleep every night.
It never ceases to amaze me what you can find on the Internet. My newish hobby of collecting old radio shows has gone from strength to strength as I have discovered whole networks of fellow aficionados of this form of entertainment.
In the beginning I started out buying things over the net, but now I have but to ask "Does anyone have a copy of Jack Benny for May 4th 1948?" and somebody will instantly respond with "Sure, I've got a nice clear copy of that; I'll send it across to you tonight." No money changes hands - merely a combination of barter and sheer goodwill.
This is the way that the Internet was supposed to work before the Spam merchants and the sexploitation tycoons moved into cyberspace.
Speaking of IT, it was amusing to notice the chain of events when my boss wanted some letters sent out urgently last week. He wrote them out at home by hand, then scanned them into his computer. Turning them into a PDF file, he e-mailed them to the office, where I printed them out and typed the resulting manuscript to be printed out on our official letterhead so they would be ready for signing when he reached the office.
It worked, but it did seem to me that there must be a shorter way of doing this somehow!
The mouse problem continues. We have two traps in operation and have now captured and released 35 little rodents. I have been taking them down to the railway bridge and releasing them there, so if you see a news item about rail services to the northern suburbs being delayed by a plague of mice on the tracks, don't say anything.
It's reaching the point where the first thing you do in the morning is switch on the kettle, fetch the newspaper in and check the traps for little visitors. They are very small mice -- "tiny" would not be overstating it -- and while I can't bring myself to poison them wholesale I am not happy about the damage they do to anything edible we forget to lock up.
I haven't been game to ask the neighbours if they are suffering similar problems. If they are, that's one thing, but if they aren't then they may look at me askance, wondering what unhygenic conditions prevail in my household.