Martin Milnes was born in the wrong era - or at least that's how it seemed.
As a child he wore jazz-shoes to his junior school disco, expecting eight-year-olds to Mambo like the dancers in West Side Story ... but childhood and school days were no Broadway musical.
Martin was different - the cat who walked alone. Birthdays, stingingly empty, held a horrific reminder that he possessed no talent for friendship.
Yet once Martin emerged on stage, the jeering turned to cheering; the lonely void was filled by Hollywood stars of yesteryear, worshipped from afar.
When his world shattered, the stars were there for him; and this time in person.
The last surviving veterans of a glamorous era extended their guiding hands.
Centenarian swimming partners, D-Day hero drinking chums, and propositions from naughty nonagenarians became every-day normality - and the wisdom, understanding and truths which they passed on completely transformed Martin's life, outlook and spirit. At last, with their help, the Wild Card learned how to be a Friend - and realised what a Birthday truly represents.
Not to mention, along the way, coming to terms with something which perhaps he should have recognised long ago...