The bucket grudgingly acknowledges that its creator GOF has completed 6 decades of existence on the planet, but would like to remind him, that for many of his acquaintances it has seemed an awful lot longer.
Birthday celebrations in my life have been few and far between.
I dislike with some considerable intensity social chit-chat and feigned friendship.
I had a tenth birthday party and recall having enjoyed the experience of achieving double figures, and the specially organised yabby (small crayfish) catching competition for all of little gofs fiends [sic] at the farm dam.
Apparently shortly after that I became a social recluse and established the GOF Rules of Engagement for social gatherings.
"If it involves more than six people in one place at the same time I will not be there"
The rule was tested briefly in 1969 when a group (exceeding 6) of my compatriots in remote Papua New Guinea attempted to arrange a surprise 21st birthday party. I smelled the rat in advance, grabbed my fishing rod and rucksack and trecked solo for 6 hours down the even more remote Gwenif River, and enjoyed a couple of days of barbecued fish, tranquillity, and hot Barossa Pearl. (sparkling white wine).
I have rarely been troubled by party planners since.
Mrs GOF was appalled when, by judicious use of some slightly ambiguous language I was able to weazel my way out of 50th birthday celebrations. Through guilt at that time, I subsequently agreed to having some formal recognition of my 60th birthday……what the hell…..it seemed a long way off at the time, and I might run out of road before the distance was travelled anyway. I did, however, reserve the inalienable right to choose the venue.
Now, Australia is not a continent of high mountains. No Rockies, Andes or Alps here.
Nevertheless we do have Mt Bartle Frere. It is the highest mountain in my home state of Queensland at 5297 ft, and it is at the centre of the Wooroonooran tropical rainforest National Park. It is an utterly beautiful and pristine part of our country. Possibly fewer than 1000 humans would trek to the summit each year, as the journey involves 10 hours of serious climbing and scrambling over tree roots and rock faces, whilst avoiding 200 inches of rain and thirsty leeches.
The summit seemed to me like the perfect place to have a memorable birthday celebration, whilst ensuring that socially, the whole project would fall within my Rules of Engagement.
Herewith is my small tribute to those who attended.
1. Gordon and I are both relics of another era. Externally, I appear more "relic" than he, but the truth needs to be told. He is the only remaining connection I have with my school days, and an optimistic, inspiring, philosophical and thoroughly entertaining friend. He chose to celebrate his recent 60th by going skydiving. I feel suitably humbled in the field of adventurism.
2. Globet is very much her Fathers Daughter.
A huge joy in my life, who carries with great dignity all the genetic imperfections which I passed on to her. We are often able to communicate simply through the exchange of glances, for we each know what the other is thinking. Thats nice. For me anyway.
3. Mrs GOF has, for reasons known only to herself spent 30 years putting up with me. Some achievements of human endeavour are inexplicable. This planet has never seen a more gentle, kind, happy or talkative human being. (why do I suspect mentioning 1 of those 4 may result in some temporary grief for me) We are perhaps perfectly matched opposites.
For me, celebrating 60 involved some physical challenge, the pursuit of a little dream, a thankfulness for physical health, an admiration of environmental beauty, and the company of some really special people. And less than six.
I like my life.