Christmas Eve 2005 looms, and the viziers have consulted their astrolabes and the druids have checked their solstice calendars, and they’re all saying, “Holy shit! James Lovegrove is 40!!!”

Believe it or not (and I’m very much in the “not” camp) I am hitting the midlife milestone in a very short time indeed, just days from now, and I’m feeling alternately mellow and horrified about it, although admittedly more the latter than the former.

I’ve had the party already. No chance of holding it on the day itself, since most sensible people I know already have plans for then, so last Saturday 25 or so of my pals wended their across country, over hill and dale, forging through fjords, to Lovegrove Manor, not one of them getting lost along the way, or so they tell me. We had cake and champagne, fireworks and speeches, but it seemed that the great draw as far as most were concerned was the VHS transfer of my dad’s old 8mm home movie footage. Me, aged 11, gurning and falling over. Me, aged 12, doing much the same. Some very long, slow pans across landscapes (my dad doing his Truffaut wannabe thing). Then more of me gurning. It held people in a mesmerised/appalled thrall, some for hours.

It would be invidious to single out any of the wonderful gifts I received, but an honourable mention must go to the 4ft inflatable Dalek bestowed on me by Roger Levy. It’s standing sentinel in the kitchen even now, and the only thing that detracts from its sinister, Nazi-pepperpot appearance is the somewhat droopy eye stalk. I’ve blown it and blown it and still can’t get it to stiffen up, fnarr fnarr.

So there we have it. End of the final year of my thirties. I’ve written a lot this year, two books more or less, about which I shall reveal details in my next update. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a happy holidays and all the very best for the New Year.

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• Filed under News • 17/12/2005 •