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Now we are six

Birthday birthday birthday birthday birthday birthday birthday birthday birthday birthday. And since I have neither the ability nor the inclination to avoid available A A Milne references, I offer you this:

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.

Andrew and I are in York fork my birthday. It’s nice to get away from London (especially the madness that consumes London in the last few weekends before Christmas), and we’ve never been to York before. It’s a great little city. Wonderful Christmas market, but the medieval city walls are pretty cool, and there are enough restaurants and tea rooms to keep me happy. My only gripe is that the pubs do seem a bit on the dreadful side. Next time we come up here, we’ll have to do more pub research ahead of time. We’re staying at the Cedar Court Grand hotel, just across the river from the city centre. It was built in the first years of the 20th century as the headquarters of the Great Northeastern Railway, and as such the building itself (and our room) is suitably grand. Last night when we arrived at 10.30 we ordered room service, which turned out to be a great idea. They brought a whole table to our room, laid with white linen and silver and candles. It was definitely the best room service experience I’ve ever had at a hotel.

This weekend marks the end of York’s Early Music Christmas Festival. I’m perfectly happy to admit that I’m a boring old man now, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend  my birthday than listening to 16th and 17th century Christmas music from Spain. The concert was great, by the way (I particularly enjoyed Riu Riu Chiu). Now we’re in a Costa Coffee hanging out until we can head to York Minster for evensong. One of the great things about my birthday is that it coincides with Human Rights Day: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed on this day in 1948. As a result, evensong tonight will be focused on celebrating human rights, praying for the strength to confront injustice, and giving thanks for those who fight for human dignity. Certainly not a bad way to spend one’s 31st birthday.

I must say that I’m actually pretty happy to be turning 31. Thirty was great, but it carried with it the faint aroma of impropriety; I always felt as if it implied some sort of desperate and futile desire to cling to my twenties. 31: much more respectable.

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