Today I was 50 years old – Yes it was my Birthday Folks! – and it was strange because in truth I definitely felt very much older. My body was aching all over and still leaking water from every pore but I was determined to crack on with it. As more of the youngsters found out my age, I got ribbed more which caused more people to find out about my age, which meant I got ribbed more – you get the picture I guess! It was all said in good fun though (I think) and today I was going to be on the rebar again – setting up the framework for the foundations – so hopefully this would give me a respite that I think my body needed.
Once again I was working with Lindsay (the American from our room) and she was not only good laugh but a real good worker too and we were working for Taylor (a joiner from Australia) and although it took a lot of doing and finally not a small amount of help from the Filipino building crew we were finally in a position to get some concreting done just before we broke for dinner. The mixing of the concrete would have to be done by hand though as the mixing team had already finished and cleaned up for the day and were busy on something else. Once again, this is something I would have thought nothing about back when I was in the building trade in my late teens but today feeling the way I did, the fact that it was the hottest time of the year in the Philippine and as my birthday proved I was a good deal older to boot, the mixing proved to be a killer. We managed it but to add insult to injury one of the people helping the team leaders told us all to mix more such that we ended up with too much concrete for the bit we intended to do so we started another part of the foundation. This then meant that we had to make even more concrete so that that part of the foundation could be finished off – a pain, literally, that I really could’ve done without!
That said these were the working events of the day but at dinner I had seen Liz whispering something into a mobile and not our mobile too and it all seemed a bit suspicious to me, so I knew something was afoot.
Back at base and my suspicions had been well founded, there were banners on the stairs once again pointing out my age and at the end of the meeting Mike asked if there were any birthdays and even more strange there was another person, a newbie called Leon from Columbia, whose birthday it was too but they soon got round to me and I was presented with a huge chocolate cake.
This is what Liz had been secretively arranging over the phone with one of the guys who was laid up back at the base. Needless to say that it was all greatly appreciated even though I felt so bad I was really made up. The cake itself was delicious, the beers were flowing and people from all round the World were wishing me, an old fella from Grimsby, a Happy Birthday.
I managed to eat a piece of cake and have a couple of sips of the beer Liz had got me and then I had to leave them all to it as I really felt poorly and just needed to get into bed. It really was nice to be working with, and accepted by, such a great group of people – very nice and very humbling indeed – a better birthday (besides the same again but this time me being well) I could not have wished for.
Liz carried on through the night – as a good wife is supposed to (lol) – and ended up Salsa dancing with Edwin which she said was a great laugh.