The Darling Daughters certainly did me proud yesterday as I celebrated a Signature Birthday (as in, one with a 0 at the end, don't you know?) a couple of days early. There we gathered: three daughters, five granddaughters
(one with accompanying boyfriend), one grandson, one son-in-law, one sister, one brother-in-Law, Mr B and me.
There was even a special birthday banner for
me, renowned (in family circles at least) as the maker of birthday banners for all and sundry. It read "NANTASTIC AT 70." I could see my son-in-law, known to regular readers as Uncle Dunk'em Dave, eyeing it speculatively, as he calculated whether he could
re-order the letters while my back was turned to make it read "NAN TASTI CAT". See a birthday banner and he is quite incapableh of turning a blind eye to its Literary Potential. My all-time favourite example was the banner which read, after his intervention
"FORTY NO TOUT". Lots of people had to read it more than once. A few even asked for an explanation.
The Eldest of the Darling Daughters had had the
excellent idea of ordering fish and chips for all of us for lunch. The rationale behind this suggestion had nothing to do with Making Life Easier (though it certainly did) but was because this would recreate a memory from a year ago when family members sat
down in the early afternoon sunshine to eat fish and chips before setting off to the church where Mr B and I would Renew Our Vows. It may be, says my Eldest Daughter, that we have invented yet another Family Tradition. The chippies of Worthing will be
My thoughtful birthday present from my Foursome was a beautiful silver locket to be worn as a brooch rather than round the neck. Inside, smiling
photos of all four of them. The Twinkles, Tala and Lilia, were fascinated by this new addition to my jewellery collection and insisted on continually opening the locket and inspecting the photos - each time pronouncing that My Boy was "Grandad." Their uncle
wasn't able to join our celebration - though he was with us in spirit of course - being away on holiday; had he been with us, he would certainly have had something to say to his Youngest Nieces.
From my sister and her fella, a quite wonderful marble statue for the garden, appropriately called Happiness. It depicts a mother and child - who could be, my sister points out, either a boy or a girl. I am going to spend
many happy days moving my statue round my garden in order to find exactly the perfect spot for its permanent residence. Should it be visible from the house? Or do I want it to come as a sweetly unexpected surprise for anyone wandering around our plot? Time
We open champagne - the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, who isn't generally entrusted with this honour for no good reason as far as I can tell, finds
the experience of sending the cork flying through the air immensely exhilarating and wonders why she has never popped a celebration cork before. We have a short, inconclusive, discussion on the merits of different ways of uncorking champagne bottles. As in,
(i) smothering the top of the bottle with a carefully arranged towel and easing the cork out silently; (ii) sending the cork soaring skywards with a satisfying "pop"; or (iii) giving the champers the full Grand Prix treatment. The latter would not be my preference
as I can't bear the thought of wasting a Good Fizz.
I stand somewhat precariously on a stool to look over the garden fence and invite our neighbours to join
us. They are celebrating their 5th anniversary in two days time so we can toast them as well as toasting Mr B and me on our anniversary and me on my birthday. Why have one toast, I always say, when you could have three? Especially when those toasts are Champagne
The sun is shining on us. We take photos of each other and promise to share them just as soon as we can. Our mobiles will be pinging away merrily
tomorrow as we keep our promises. The breeze blows out the candles on my truly delicious cake even before The Twinkles (who have carefully edged themselves into pole position) can draw breath - but they blow on them lustily nevertheless. It is, indeed, a perfect
Early Birthday. There is only one word to adequately describe it: