I am going across tomorrow - not to meet Brenda, sadly (how amazing would that be?), just for lunch - to see him. In preparation the children have drawn him birthday pictures, under only the mildest of duress. For twenty minutes they were peacefully industrious, the silence only broken by occasional questions, such as:
"Comment on écrit "bière" en anglais?" (how do you spell beer in English).
Both pictures feature beer heavily.
Lashes has drawn beer fish and a beer boat ('pacquebot' he said, actually, which is a word I love). Then there is a crab wearing a test tube on its head and the whole scene is seemingly enclosed in a giant laboratory flask.
Fingers's picture has a similar theme. A boat is dropping things, to a chorus of "EH!". The things include beer, a test tube and a 1kg weight. There is also an octopus with two severed tentacles.
Papa Waffle is a scientist, with a particular emphasis on fisheries. I am not quite sure where the focus on beer came from.
Will he do "des trucs de chevalier?" asks Lashes.
"Hmm. I doubt it. He's allergic to horses".
Happy birthday, though, and many congratulations to my brilliant, extraordinary, funny, occasionally terrifying father, who no longer transports potato sacks full of live chickens in a converted Smiths Crisps van, and whose rabbit Heraclitus is sadly long dead, but who continues to awe, entertain, and love us all fiercely. As well as, you know, being in charge of Science. (But not beer).