Daddy Downs Side Up Turns 60: A Man in Our Words

This week Bob has reached a milestone birthday and we brought the extended family together this week to celebrate his 60th year in style.

Daddy Downs Side Up celebrates his birthday

We congregated at London's large and luxurious country house hotel The Grove for an weekend of food and wine, spas and garden walks, laughter, memories and a few well-placed tears.

I wanted to create something unique, something personal to mark the occasion. So we wrote the following piece together. 

That is, I asked our family and friends for a few words or a phrase to describe my husband, along with a memory that stands out, and I wove the many replies together thus...

Daddy Downs Side Up's birthday word cloud postcards

As the emails from the wider family flooded in, it became apparent that you mean much to many. 

First, it was instant quips that tripped of tongues first, proof of the many hats you don, the many roles you play:

A techy timelord, a chic geek. 
Yep, folks have noticed that you like your gadgets!

The King of Clingfilm and an Amazon Addict were not the only titles given to one who likes to buy peculiar purchases from a well-known online store. 

An Polish/Italian Stallion who is a bon viveur and a wine connoisseur. Life is short after all!

A bossy natural leader who is at home giving orders, and giving orders at home.

A bottom burp Daddy. 
(I'll let you work out who said that...)

We all wrote a tribute to Daddy Downs Side Up for his 60th birthday

But when the jokes had subsided, more meaningful descriptions came to the fore:

More that once you were described as a caring, protective family man who is generous, helpful and giving to those around him.

One younger member of the family didn't have to think twice before saying, "He is a fun Uncle who makes great pancakes and lives by the sea."

Another said, "He always gives great hugs."

And it would seem that you are more of a role model to others than you will ever know as many of the younger generation said you were a family member to look up to. Mentally strong, bold and brave, you act as a big brother to more than just your sister Jeanette. Use your status wisely. Make it count.

Of course bold, and brave are synonyms for 'foolish' and 'reckless', and just a few of your life experiences could be viewed this way! 


Like a cat who's already used up his nine lives, you've:

Walked off the end of a plank several storeys up, landing on your bum and looking around you wondering what happened.

Walked along a breathtakingly high wall just to prove your martial arts balancing skills.
"I've got a black belt you know."

You once fell off a house roof while fixing an areal, landing on  the garage, falling through and ending up on a car bonnet inside and breaking many ribs. You just dusted yourself off.

You knocked yourself out cycling around an empty swimming pool. No sense no feeling then ;)

You sliced open your 'family jewels' climbing over a gate! Ouch.

And talking of family jewels, there was also a naked theme that ran through some of the stories that were recounted.

Like somehow ending up naked, holding a live lightbulb on a flex, half immersed in a water tank whilst in a loft looking for a leak in the middle of the night. Electricity and water aren't the best of friends and somehow your electrician's knowledge allowed you to ground yourself and retreat safely. 

Oh, and you were once found in your garden, stark naked, shouting at a neighbouring field full of cows to keep the noise down and scarper. There are no words to describe that logic really.

Not just foolish nakedness, it also appears that as a child you had a wicked dark sense of torturous humour. 

One of your siblings claimed you electrocuted her with a hoover (I'm certain it was't on purpose) and shot her with a pellet gun, after making her hold the target aloft. She has since forgiven all.

Our journey as a couple has been unorthodox and the route has taken us on a few scary detours.

You've driven me insane at times with your steadfast refusal to consult a road map, the road map of life, shouting, "It'll be fine!" at bystanders who try to plot a neat route.

And I guess you are right. It will be. Fine.

Extended family gather for Bob's 60th birthday celebrations

Robert Goleniowski, you have come so very far from your tough childhood you talk little of. You have achieved your goals, and more. Let's plan some fun experiences for the years ahead and tick them off the list too, for growing older is very much a priviledge and not a right.

And how does everyone think of you?

Your eldest daughter summed that up as "a key piece in our family jigsaw."

And that family all love you very much. 

Happy 60th Birthday to my husband!

You might also like to read Bob's account of Natty's arrival in our world. Daddy G Steps up to the Mic

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