With my little ukulele in my hand...
AS the celebrations for my 65th birthday continued at a frantic pace into their third day – my actual anniversary, as it happens – my wife and family embarrassed me with their generosity.
There was an avalanche of gifts.
And then my wife stepped forward, clutching something in its own black carrying case.
At a first, cursory, glance you could be forgiven for thinking she had bought me a tennis racquet.
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That thought did flash across my brain and my spirits, kept so artificially high during the course of my anniversary weekend, flagged for a split second.
Until, that is, I had the carrying case clasped in my hand.
Inside was a small but perfectly formed guitar.
Well, I know it's not a guitar. It's a ukulele.
This was a novel approach to gift-giving, especially to one so devoid of any talent when it comes to playing a musical instrument.
Although, I have always considered I was once capable of some mean air guitar movements to accompany Dire Straits' classic Sultans of Swing.
The uke (as we ukulele owners call them) came complete with a teach-yourself-to-play book and some funny little metal tubes, all welded together.
The latter looked like a mini knuckle-duster but my wife assured me it was an essential piece of kit for running up and down the four strings.
She revealed that the inspiration for her gift came as a direct consequence of a recent conversation we had with a friend over from California who said he'd taken up the ukulele and was rather enjoying it.
I recall making some remark about how I envied his recently acquired musical talent and my wife seized the moment and headed straight for the nearest music shop the following day.
She was already a big fan of the hugely popular Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, so it was a no-brainer decision for her.
I would like to say that I have subsequently managed to get something approaching tuneful out of it.
But the truth is I don't know where to start.
The last time I looked at anything like a music sheet full of notes was at some enforced tuition while at school.
My inner self, however, is determined to achieve some sort of playing capability, though not, of course, to the level of the late great, gap-toothed, George Formby (and, yes, I do know he played a ukulele banjo).
Anyway, one of the Post's other columnists, Stan Cullimore, once of the chart-topping Housemartins, reckons he can get me knocking out a tune in just 15 minutes.
I am mighty impressed by this offer.
So I'm off to see him soon, clutching my little ukulele in my hand, as Mr Formby might have said.