Stop press: my friend Dumdad has written charmingly about my birthday at his own website, The Other Side of Paris.......
Sixty and flying. Well, 60 minus two days and flying today to be in the UK to mark the occasion.
Bill Taylor, who wrote an entertaining guest column at Salut! about reaching the milestone an awful lot earlier, has sent my first present: a copy of his book Paris is...Paris est capturing the glories and mundanities of Paris in strikingly good black and white photographs.
M and Mme Salut were snapped during a soirée with the Taylors one cold night on the Left Bank. M Salut was emphatically not picking his nose.
The other image chosen to illustrate this article is Bill's choice - at my request - from the other pages of the book.
Thanks Bill, and for those who can bear to read about the elderly, here are extracts from my column in today's edition of The National which you can find in full in the Arts and Life section of the newspaper's website:
If I already admit that the prospect of becoming a grandfather makes me feel old, how on earth will I cope two days from now?
There is no point in beating about the bush. A milestone birthday looms and while the kind Omani who speculated that I was about to be 40 became my friend for life, he undoubtedly knew he was some way out.
No matter how I try, I struggle to keep a straight face while telling anyone 60 is the new 30. Nor, despite having approached my 30th, 40th and, to a lesser extent, 50th birthdays with equanimity, can I honestly claim to be entirely at ease about completing a sixth decade.