today the man has one of those birthdays ending in zero that everyone takes more seriously than the ordinary sort. (enid thinks it strange that if we’d had three fingers and a thumb, we’d be having these kind of celebrations every eight years, rather than every ten.)
the event was celebrated two days before with a family dinner at the box tree in ilkley. this is the restaurant where the man celebrated his twenty-first - even with the same people (but, for most of them, not the same waist measurements or hair colour). actually, not quite the same people - tm had a different squeeze then, a thing which one person too many pointed out to enid. the same people were mil, tm’s brother dick and his wife gale, and tm’s sister, tease, and her husband gared.
mil paid for a people-carrier taxi as tm’s present, so that nobody had to drive. as the cab climbed the pennines, enid (who is from kent) decided to pronounce all the names of the places as they were written, e.g. “will we be going through tod-mor-den?” she does this on most visits, and it never fails to amuse her (but not the others).
in the restaurant, once comments about the unchanging decor were out of the way, champagne was ordered and tm opened his presents. the best was from mil - a slide rule used by tm’s father, who was an engineer. tm’s father died when tm was five, so everyone was a bit choked by this present. enid gave tm a watch which tm had chosen himself, and so was lacking in excitement value and a bit of a let down really.
the food was excellent, and enid is sorry to report that she ate rather too much. she had roasted scallops, then some lovely rare beef, then cheese and finally a prune and armagnac soufflé.
the man and gared had an amaretto with their coffee, because they had had one in a restaurant in highgate once despite hating it, and have laughed about it ever since. now they’ve done it twice, enid thinks they must be either insane, or secret sticky drink lovers.