When I’m Sixty-Four

Yours Truly on 11th March 1956, aged 4

Yours Truly on 11th March 1956, aged 4

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 πŸ™‚ , 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.

16 comments to When I’m Sixty-Four

  • Amalia

    What a nice blog post! I enjoyed reading about your childhood and seeing that photo. You look very content. πŸ™‚ St. Clement’s will always have that special place in my heart and it’s sad to think that next year you will retire. Sad for us, good news for you. πŸ™‚ Reading about your retirement I immediately started thinking how can we make our way to Prague before April 2017. St. Clement’s and you have been so good to Austin and I when we needed most a community to welcome us to Prague and help us settle. We always remember that with much fondness. Happy Birthday Reverend Ricky! Wishing you all the best. And Happy Birthday to Sybille too.

    • Ricky

      Hi Amalia – how nice to have you commenting here. So glad you enjoyed the post, especially the photo of four-year-old me πŸ™‚ Please do come & visit with Austin, before we leave Prague.

  • Happy birthday, Ricky! “When I’m 64” has definitely been one of my favorite Beatles songs since I was young – the lyrics are just too sweet. I hope your sixty-fourth year is just as good as described in the song.

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Cynthia! I love ‘When I’m 64’ & have been singing & whistling it for the past few weeks. People obviously know the lyrics well – two people have asked me on Facebook today, ‘How are Vera, Chuck and Dave?’ πŸ˜€ I do have one grandchild but he is called Finley. Thank you too, for your good wishes for the coming year.

  • Sean Mccann

    Happy Birthday Ricky and many happy returns.

  • Kathleen Zimak

    Happy birthday from Kathleen and Alex.
    We can’t imagine St Clement’s without you. We’ll have to make the most of the next year or so!

    Very best wishes for a lovely day

    • Ricky

      Thank you Kathleen & Alex. By the time I do retire, I’ll have done eight & a half years in Prague which will be year longer than my predecessor. When I took the post, it was always the time span I envisaged. Thank you for your good wishes.

  • Andrew Kasembe

    Though, one day late, the Czechs say it is never too late. Happy birthday to you Ricky, good health, happiness and another 64 years (to rewrite the history). It is great to work with you and have you leading St. Clement’s.
    With best regards,

    • Ricky

      Thank you Andrew, for your kind words. No problem in being a day late! I’m not sure about another 64 years but I hope my health will allow some further longevity πŸ™‚

  • Happy birthday! God grant you MANY beautiful years! (I only hope that the next Anglican chaplain in Prague is as faithful and informative a blogger!)

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Stephen! I cannot speak for my eventual successor, but I intend to continue the blog, even though the title will need amending.

  • I love the photo of your four-year-old self in your shorts with braces. πŸ™‚ Interestingly I and my next two sisters were all born at home in the late 40s and early 50s. Only my youngest sister was born in hospital and that was because my mother was by then over 40. Good luck with the decision on where to retire to. Not an easy one to make and one with lasting consequences.

    PS Loved the male voice choir version of When I’m 64.

    • Ricky

      Glad you liked the photo, Perpetua. It was the earliest one of me that I can currently find. My father kept a photo album called ‘The Children’ in which there is a photo of me, 12-13 days old, being held in my mother’s arms, together with my two older sisters sitting alongside us. My eldest sister has the album & one of these days, I must try and scan a few more of the photos of me that are in it.

      It is interesting to see how the attitude to home births has changed from the time when both of us were born. When I tell younger people that I was born at home, they are quite surprised, even if they have been watching ‘Call the midwife’ πŸ™‚

      Where to retire to is the big decision this coming summer. Most importantly, we have to decide what is financially feasible too.

      Glad you liked the male voice choir version of ‘When I’m 64’ – superb isn’t it?

  • Em

    Happy belated birthday, Ricky!! That photo of you made me smile; what a joyful little lumberjack πŸ™‚ Congratulations on being a year closer to retirement, too. My own parents retired within a year of each other recently and while initially they felt a touch stir-crazy, they have had some wonderful adventures and haven’t regretted it for a second. Anywhere you’re leaning toward for retirement? I hope you had a grand birthday lunch and wish you many happy returns πŸ™‚

    • Ricky

      Thank you for the birthday greetings, Em. Glad you enjoyed the photograph of four-year-old me πŸ™‚ There are a couple of places we’re thinking about for retirement. The problem is that Sybille fancies one & I the other. What will work financially for us is what will probably settle the matter. I had a lovely birthday lunch and there was a birthday cake, complete with candles, at Coffee Hour following our service last Sunday morning.