It was late evening, two days before my birthday. The sound of the doorbell was unusual at this time of night so it was with some apprehension that I opened the door. To my amazement, standing there with his camera pointed in my face, was a good friend from Australia. Thankfully, his camera was on my side and refused to fire ... phew! That marked the beginning of a fabulous weekend. I steered a canal boat along the Grand Union Canal and had a wonderful birthday in the company of my family and friends. I shouldn't really single out special gifts but there are three I'd like to mention, aside from the day on the canal which was truly magnificent. My wife, daughter and her partner, bought me a Sony DSC-H9 camera (which I've previously mentioned). They also gave me a fantastic Remote Control Helicopter. This is not a toy but a proper model, and I'm having masses of fun trying to learn how to fly it. The third gift I want to mention is a painting. It is of Eilean Donan Castle and was painted just for me by a very special friend. With her permission, it gives me great delight to display it here. This is one of those places I just have to visit for myself one of these days. In the meantime, I can look into my new painting and imagine myself strolling across that ancient bridge or sitting on the bank of the loch. Wonderful.
I finally managed to get rid of my Australian buddy once the weekend was over ... but he came back a week later for a second visit. I couldn't work out if he simply appreciated my company or if the free bed and board had something to do with it. ;)