Tomorrow will be my sixty-fourth birthday. Yes – on 26th February 1952, in the upstairs bedroom of a semi-detached house in Allesley, Coventry, UK, Yours Truly made his entry into the world. Of course, if I had arrived three days later, then it would only be my sixteenth birthday as 1952 was a leap year 🙂 , just like 2016.
The reason I was born at home and not in hospital, was because my two older sisters had been born in hospital. My mother had had no problem with either delivery so was told that baby number three could be born at home. My mother was under the care of her district midwife, a situation which is now much more widely understood by the younger generation, because of the TV series ‘Call the Midwife’. However, I chose to enter the world on my mother’s district midwife’s day-off, meaning that a colleague covering for her, had to assist with my delivery.
Unlike 25th February 2015, when Sybille and I celebrated our joint birthdays with a delightful meal at Sansho, I cannot celebrate with her today, as she is currently in Spain, walking the Via de la Plata from Seville to Santiago de Compostela. So instead, I sent greetings to her by Skype yesterday, wishing her both ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Alles gute zum Geburtstag!‘ I’m sure she will return the compliment to me tomorrow. And I have been invited out to lunch tomorrow, in honour of my birthday.
Whilst my birthday tomorrow is not a landmark one with a zero at the end, it still has great significance. Why? Because it means that in exactly one year’s time, both the Church of England and the state, will allow me to retire if I choose to do so. Whilst because of increased human longevity, retirement ages are being raised for younger people, it doesn’t really affect me, because of my age.
I probably will not retire in exactly a year’s time. However, my current Bishop’s Licence as Chaplain of St. Clement’s, Prague, only goes to the end of April 2017. Therefore sometime between my sixty-fifth birthday on 26th February 2017 and the expiry of my Bishop’s Licence on 30th April 2017, I will retire – the exact date to be decided in the next few months.
The other major decision to be made is where to retire to. That is a big issue to be resolved sometime this summer. In the mean time, I end this post with a song that I’ve been whistling and singing the past few weeks in anticipation of tomorrow. Rather than the original from The Beatles, here’s a fun version by a male voice choir.