Oh that guy I live with takes a fair bit of ribbing whenever I spend time at my keyboard. What can I say, he’s a treasure trove of blog material. But today is different. Today I shall pay un petit hommage to my better two-thirds and I’ll tell you why later.

He started out like this…





And over the years, he has turned into a remarkably generous and easy going person. Case in point: He doesn’t care when I beg him to let me blow-dry his lion’s mane, take a picture, keep said picture for years in a box, then splash it all over the internet…


Ten years later, he looks more like this…

Neil5 resize

Ah, Rusty, Big Red, Top Chef, and on occasion, Dumbass or Jesus God Alive Are You Even Listening to Me?? No matter what I call him, everybody knows he’s a good man—an endlessly patient, up for anything, make your lunch everyday, nurse you through a neck surgery, put up with any crap you can dish out, smartypants kind of guy—unless you have to buy a gift for him, then he rapidly becomes the most annoying person on earth. Which brings me to my point.

This week Monsieur will celebrate another year of blessing the planet with his presence. I can’t tell you on which day exactly (Wednesday) or his age (46) as that would be an invasion of his privacy, which I am deeply committed to protecting. Anyway, this man cannot identify anything he wants or needs for a birthday present. Not just this year but every year that I’ve known him. He once mentioned he liked stars and planets and such, so I researched and plotted and saved and presented him with a telescope, jumping up and down and clapping my hands knowing that I’d finally nailed it. Sadly, like many times before, it was not to be. And it was during the trip back to the store for the refund when I finally gave up.

This year there will be a card and a dinner (at a restaurant, obviously, I can’t ask him to cook his own celebratory dinner, can I. Hmm, can I?) and, of course, my gratitude for all he gives. But what about a little something extra? This is where you come in. I am well aware that what many people like best about me is Neil. I am also well aware that you lot are silent in the shadows most of the time. But if you enjoy this blog (which would not exist without him and his tech-savvy brother seen in the ferns above) or if you enjoyed the book (he took most of the pictures and designed the cover and layout) now is the time to speak up.

This is your big chance. A golden opportunity to be part of creating a little global birthday celebration. Be brave and make a Day of Neil comment from wherever in the world you happen to find yourself. Naturally, I have no clue if he wants this or not. Too bad, so sad, buddy. At the very least a bunch of warm wishes from strangers can’t be hauled back to a store. Besides, much like everything in our little life, his birthday is all about what I want, and trust me, that’s the way he likes it. Bon Anniversaire mon amour, may the year endeavour to be worthy of you.