There are some things we have to do in life which almost no-one else understands. My have-to is to return ever so often to the island of Arran, and once there, to walk up Glen Sannox - one of the most perfect glaciated valleys I have ever seen. Today, to mark my birthday, I did these things. And it didn't actually matter that every now and again the cliffs of The Saddle were hidden by drifting curtains of rain, nor that I wasn't actually going to climb these cliffs through the secret key - an eroded whin stone dyke through which my younger self has clambered to emerge triumphant on the broad slabs of the col between the glens Sannox and Rosa.
Right now I am enjoying the free Wi-fi in the bar of the fairly luxurious hotel where I'm staying, as the log fire glows and murmers beside me and the wonderful dinner I ate an hour or so ago begins to sink slightly. But as we walked down the glen this aftenoon, the bellowing and belching sounds of rutting stags dying in the purple and brown hillside on the far side of the burn, I reflected on how the natural ending to such a day would have been, perhaps, a boiled egg and a floury muffin with strawberry jam - or, more recently, spag bol and a slug of red from a winebox followed by the sleep of the just as the sun set and the telly muttered unnoticed in a holiday cottage. For I have been visiting this island for the past 63 years, and in all that time this will be the first night I have spent in a hotel, the first time I have not had to find the food at the end of a day in the hills.
And yes, as I mark the passing of another year (with champagne, and foi gras, and partridge, and free wifi, and Arran Aromatics in the shower) I think that I could go back to the days of boiled eggs and muffins - and being seven, and having all life to look forward to. But that would be incredibly sentimental, wouldn't it?
PS: Photos will follow on Flickr, but right now I'm too comatose to find my phone, and I don't have my camera lead with me ...