SINCE passing 50, I’ve not been fussed about making a meal of my birthdays.

They’re the sort of occasions that seem to hurtle towards you at an increasing rate of knots and my desire is to try to hide from such impending impacts.

But I was persuaded to make a meal of my latest birthday (no, I’m not telling) by actually going out for one instead of the prospect of staying at home and stuffing myself on a cake that has so many candles it could add half a degree to global warming.

And I’m jolly glad I was, too.

Our chosen eatery, The Pheasant Inn at Casterton, was absolutely spot on – at every level.

The inn was bought by South Lakeland family the Wilsons last year and Carole, Paul and chef son Duncan and his wife Heather got off to a great start.

Paul trained as a chef at the renowned Sharrow Bay Hotel on the shore of Ullswater so you would expect top quality food. And top quality food is what Tunners and his missus got.

But we were not surprised. We ate there last month while still jet-lagged from our holiday in Thailand and the place perked us up no end.

That time we chose to start by indulging in one of the pleasant Pheasant ‘nibbles to share’ dishes – rosemary skewers of cod, salmon and king prawn with a chilli and lime dressing for just £2.95. Delicious!

For main I had the best steak and ale pie I’ve had in years while Natalja plumped for a duck main, which was . . . erm . . plump and equally delicious.

On our return for my birthday meal, I chose superb pheasant sausages accompanied by the best mashed potato I’ve probably ever had (£10.95).

T’other half had chicken Kiev, with scrumptious hand cut chips, cheesy coleslaw and tomato mixed leaf salad (£11.95).

We finished by sharing a chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake with rhubarb compote (£5.50).

 * Total cost of meal (including a medium glass of house Shiraz and a pint of Thatcher’s cider) £35.35.