Best birthday present

It’s my birthday today. I received kind messages from so many people. Thank you. Overwhelming really. I spent most of the morning in bed, but you don’t need the details. Peter the chef made a chocolate cake, bedecked with strawberries. Jane spent the day with me, which was great. It was fantastic to the power of a million to have a chat with niece Hayley, before she had dinner in Ho Chi Minh City. I received a loving and supportive email from my parents. Sebastian set off for the Steiner School Olympics in Sussex, where he camps for three nights, practices the sports, ready for the grand start at 7am on Saturday. I am so proud of how our son, and daughter, faces the world every day. Yesterday we celebrated with Sebastian, Caron, Gerwyn and Bengi, enjoying Valentina’s lemon drizzle cake. If I’ve left something out, it’s because I am eager to write the next paragraph.


‘Daddy, we’ve come to see you. What’s more important, the football or seeing me?’ Italia 90, Stefan Kunz, 4-1 defeat in 2010 world cup. It’s a paradox, a big one. I speak German, I believe that their social market economy is great, I loved the food and drink, they are environmental leaders, the country understands the value of and funds widespread Waldorf education, the people are great and the country beautiful and interesting. I went to university there and spent a fantastic summer working at a Heidelberg hotel. I was jumping and whooping for joy when the VAR gave the first South Korean goal and delirium had set in when they scored again. The BBC commentator was desperate for Germany to lose, whipping us into a frenzy. Germany weren’t even playing England. There is a long Wikipedia entry devoted to the rivalry, which points out that, for Germany, England are just any other team. Before Jane and I started dating, we were with a group of friends in Istanbul watching Euro96. I was so upset at our defeat that I walked out without speaking to anyone. Early warning sign. Valentina asked if today’s result was my best birthday present and I told her that it was. She supports Spain, the country of her birth, so she will probably suffer in a different way.


Thank you for your birthday wishes.



Author: Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

5 thoughts on “Best birthday present”

  1. Andrew – It has been too long. Matt and I read your posts all the time and talk about how inspirational you are – words fail us and I promise we will make more effort to comment in the future! We loved the one on your family history and realise it must take a massive effort to write these posts but please keep them going! We wish you a very happy birthday and super glad on the result as well! All the best Louise H and Matt Woodhams

  2. On your birthday, we want to let you know (as many others have) that we are in constant awe of your inner strength and continued humor and thoughtful critiques. We send our love and deepest best wishes. Sue & Gene

  3. Happy Birthday for yesterday Andrew! I love Germany (the country) and am not much of a football fan but even I got excited about yesterday. No-one to kick us out on penalties in the quarter finals now.

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