MY daughter, still known to me as “Baby Girl” despite now being 25, sent me a nice card in advance of my birthday.

The message on the card said she’d be home from London at the weekend and there was a home-made voucher promising the bearer “the most perfect day” as her present.

It was to comprise a family walk along the beach at Saltburn; Dylan the borrowed border collie would be coming too; we’d all have a game of Crazy Golf (apart from Dylan); my favourite lunch of fish and chips was next on the agenda; then we’d be watching the Grand National at my mum’s house. Well, what more could I ask for?

Baby Girl arrived home, with boyfriend Jamie in tow, and before we set off for the seaside on my perfect day, I arranged a Grand National Sweep with a difference. The names of all the runners were written on pieces of paper and laid out on the floor. Dylan was then encouraged to paw at them and he duly picked Tiger Roll. We all put £1 in the kitty and it was decreed that whoever won the Crazy Golf, would have the money on Dylan’s selection. Ingenious, don’t you think?

It was a lovely, sunny day at Saltburn, spoiled only by my ultra-competitive wife winning the Crazy Golf. For the record, I was a close joint-second with Jamie The Boyfriend, my daughter was fourth, and Grandma came last but she is 86. It cost £3 for each of us to play and I paid the lot.

After a walk along the prom, we were ready for lunch. When my daughter created her voucher, I suspect she was thinking of buying me fish and chips out of the paper for about a fiver. Instead, it was decided that we should head for The Ship, overlooking the North Sea. The bill for the five of us came to £80 and, naturally, it was assumed that I’d pay.

We then had another bracing walk before heading to the bookies to place our Grand National bets, with my wife sticking her Crazy Golf winnings on Tiger Roll. Finally, it was off to Grandma’s house to cheer on our horses over the Aintree fences.

The history books will show that Tiger Roll – the horse picked by a border collie – won the great race in dramatic style. My wife, who hasn’t been so excited since our wedding night 30 years ago, won the grand total of £75. My daughter’s horse came second, Jamie The Boyfriend’s horse came third, and Grandma’s horse came fourth, so they all won money each-way. My horse, however, is still running.

So, there you have it – my “perfect” birthday, courtesy of my Baby Girl. All in all, it cost me the neck-end of £100. I was beaten by my very smug wife at Crazy Golf. And I was the only one not to win any money on the Grand National. Even the bloody dog picked the winner.

I can’t wait to see what I get for my birthday next year.

The things they say

GARETH, aged three, was with his Mum in Richmond market place when he spotted a woman with only one leg in a wheelchair.

“Mummy,” he shouted, “has that lady only got one leg in her knickers?”

LEE, seven at the time and living in Loftus, was travelling in the car with his family.

“What are you going to do when you grow up, Lee?” he was asked.

Lee thought for a moment and answered: “I’m going to be a fireman.”

“And what qualifications do you think you’ll need to do that?” asked his step-father Simon.

Quick as a flash, Lee came up with the answer: “A pair of wellies and an axe.”