On Wednesday the 27th of March, I hit the big four zero.

Only a week before, I’d driven home through Headingley, closeted in my refined Germanic bubble of leather and walnut veneer. With misty eyes I smiled at the fancy dress wearing students, heading out for a night of Jägerbomb and M-Cat fuelled thrusting and merriment. Bless them. I was young too. Once.

Twenty years, gone in a flash. My ponytail, Danny Rampling tape, and king sized Rizla replaced by a Whangee umbrella, Borsalino fedora and Mulberry briefcase.

And then, I got all WH Auden and the grey clouds moved in:

“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Forty. Blumming Forty. I was supposed to be retired and living in the South of France by now. When I grow a beard it looks like a badger is humping my face. How on earth did this happen? What’s next? Have an affair, buy a Porsche and get my nipples pierced?

Get a grip Michelsberg. And so I did. I turned off the Blackberry, went ‘off grid’ and headed down to my spiritual home in Croyde Bay, North Devon. There with family and friends, I spent a wonderful week of surfing, eating ribs, drinking Thatcher’s Gold and rejoiced in the cards that life has dealt me.

Yesterday was my first day back at work and it ended with a dose of retail therapy at my neighbours Jeffery West. Here I am with Charli, flaunting my new pair of Rosewood Calf Brogue Gibson’s.

I returned home with a spring in my step, my ‘new wheels’ the perfect excuse to get busy with the utterly awesome birthday present from my brother Edward. Introducing, “La Cordonnerie Anglaise Intendant Valet Box.”

La Cordonnerie Anglaise (which means the English Shoemaker) are a French company responsible for producing some of the finest and most luxurious shoe care products in the world.

One thing I have to say about Edward is that he knows his stuff. Whether it’s cigars, fine wine, or, coffee machines, the “OCD Geek” gene that festers within his chubby little body, ensures that anything he pens his name to, is usually the best.

This fella is finished in rosewood coloured beech wood and contains the finest brushes, lanoline cream, beeswax polish and mink oil that Aussie Dollars can buy. Cheers bruva – I love you really 🙂

For those of you interested in looking after your shoes, click on this blog I did earlier.

Yes, as I sit here at home in my study, a pile of my daughters Easter eggs to my left and a malt whisky to my right, life at forty feels pretty god damn good.

The road ahead will no doubt have its twists and turns. Maybe one day, it will end up on the Côte d’Azur? One thing I can be sure of is that every step of the way will be done so in immaculately presented footwear.

Joyeuses Pâques!