Jenkins-Of-Ewelme Web Site

Christopher's 70th Birthday

'Twas  on the 13th November 1944, a Friday I believe, in Somerset during the 2nd World War, that I took my first breath. Then, on the afternoon of Sunday 9th November 2014, I took another gasp of air, with the realisation that I had again just been had!

MY idea during the approach to this lifetime epoch, was to have a quiet luncheon with immediate family, which had been the previous norm at around this time of year. In trying to start making arrangements myself for a meal by the river, I was quickly told by my 'social secretary' that she had already been in contact with everyone, but unfortunately not everybody could make it until 30th November, and had now already booked Sunday lunch for that day.

Unbeknown to me, the following  invitation had been sent out to extended family and 'worldwide' friends. Incidentally, the photo was one taken during an 'active' family holiday in Pembrokeshire earlier in the year, where I was just completing a series of zip wire runs between a variety of tree platforms and the ground. I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that in my seventieth year, the extra physical effort required to hoist myself between tree platforms and the ability to learn new skills to prevent me from consistently landing on my bottom, was now providing a warning defining the extent of my remaining muscular limits. Accompanied by Hannah, it was jolly good fun though!

 In the meantime, I received a sweet card from my eldest grandchild Maisie.  Little did I know of the underlying conspiracy!

It was very easy for me to assume that the Croft's merely wanted to just say a 'Happy Birthday' nearer the 13th, than the delayed end of month wider family event. I replied formally as requested, and did actually make an effort to look 'posh', after post tennis shower on that fateful Sunday.

"Surprise!" "Surprise!" As had been so secretly planned, I was truly amazed to see so many smiling faces greeting me to this surprise party.  How ever did Ole & Lene - our great friends from Denmark get here? There are cousins David Spice (and Corrine) and Janet Miles - all the way from Norfolk! Many of our neighbours from Eyre's Close, and various local friends. The parents of both our sons-in laws were there.  Both my sisters Barbara and Liz, and cousin Meric and Ann. But wow, there were nephews Patrick, Marcus, Julian and David and niece Katy - and second cousins Tim and Kat and Kate - and loads of great nephews and great nieces , and cousins of maybe the 'removed' or second or third variety, and many spouses.  I shouldn't of course forget my own family, especially dear Margaret, Charlotte and Hannah, who between them had instigated the dastardly deed, and Maisie and Tilly who just managed to keep the secret, and little Georgia, who oblivious to it all, seemed to just get on and enjoy herself.

I'm very grateful to second cousin-in-law Kat Foster-Jenkins, for providing a pictorial  idea of the event for posterity.

Having spent  a lifetime in  engineering and technology, perhaps led me to follow a time consuming practical interest in Astronomy in retirement. I've probably bored the pants of many members of the family by now. However, I guess they might accept this activity as one means of keeping the little grey cells working a little longer. To this end, it seems that this somehow defined the theme of the party, and this magnificent sponge based astronomical 'Orrery' was presented. Although delicious, it seemed such a shame to destroy this carefully constructed Solar System in a cake knife activated Super Nova!

So, I actually made it into old age. I had no expectation that I would, and indeed many of my contemporaries did not. As an 'innocent' little boy, how could he have imagined some sixty years hence, just how such a long life would eventually present itself. If he had known that due to the various self imposed paths he would choose, he would be presented not only with a wonderful wife, but eventually two beautiful daughters to be proud of, who would  extend the Jenkins-of- Ewelme family even further, with three gorgeous grand children. How lucky can a fellow get?

It seems to me that although I can look back in time millions of years through a telescope into the night sky, the future is not so easily foretold. So, for me at least, I'm now beginning to learn to appreciate every new day as a precious bonus.