I arrive at the hairdressers at exactly the same time as a truly splendid basket of red roses. No, sadly, they are not for me. The recipient tells everyone that they are from Hugh Jackman, adding that she regularly tells
her son that Hugh is his real father. I am hoping that the lad understands this is a joke; I would hate to have him turning up in Long Lost Family and having people laugh at him. Unless, of course...
It is sheer serendipity that I am having my hair done today, the day granddaughter Eleanor is coming to celebrate her eighteenth birthday at ours. You might think I booked the date specially but in fact it was down to the
fact that the stylist was going in holiday. “I’d better make you look especially glam,” she says, when I tell her about my plans for this special day. I am thinking, Chance would be a fine thing - but I don’t say anything because the
last thing I would want to do is to introduce even an element of self-doubt into her mind.
Our visitors are a little later than planned, owing to Trouble on the
M25 - but this is A Good Thing because the District Nurse turns up unexpectedly to tend to Mr B. She is gone minutes before the arrival of the Birthday Girl, her mother (the Eldest of the Darling Daughters) and the Birthday Girl’s boyfriend Nathan who,
coincidentally, was born on exactly the same day, in the same hospital as our Eleanor.
This exciting coincidence had me thinking last night when I was preparing
my granddaughter’s birthday cake. I couldn’t ignore the fact that not just one, but two of our visitors, were celebrating their Coming of Age.
plans were perfectly formed, as I’m sure you would expect of me. Yet another birthday banner (“How Old?” it queried) to be admired then down to the Golden Lion we trot, the Eldest of the Darling Daughters pushing her father in his wheelchair
( and occasionally threatening to leave him stranded when he is less than appreciative of her steering skills. She is actually a great deal better at steering than Yours Truly who once nearly scared poor Mr B out of his wits by almost pushing him into the
road. No, it wasn’t on purpose. Promise.)
Nobody can manage a pudding after our satisfying main courses, especially Eleanor who chose the steak and ale pie.
Mr B and I chose that on our very first visit to the Golden Lion - delicious indeed but big enough for two. Eleanor says we may have to wait awhile for birthday cake or we won’t be able to do it justice.
We open presents. Our gift to Eleanor is a word art picture, incorporating lots of words and phrases that sum up our relationship with her over the last eighteen years. We laugh at the thought of the puzzled look on the face
of the artist, trying to work out what on earth we are getting at. Who was “Running in Heels” and why is the “Eggman”Important? You had to be there, that’s all I can say.
We play boules in the back garden. I am the spectator, occasionally called upon to adjudicate on whose ball is closest to the jack. Generally after giving my opinion, the other three players measure out the distances for themselves.
You may be thinking this suggests that they don’t trust me but you need to know that it was a very close-drawn match - they went into the last end with all three on the same score - it was, indeed, 999 so the nearest thing you can get to an emergency
without calling an ambulance.
So how did I solve the problem of the birthday cake, you want to know? It was, of course, my usual cake, baked in accordance with
the guidance of the Divine Delia. On the top, in pink icing letters the inevitable statement: “Eleanor is eighteen.” And round the edge of the plate: “So is Nathan.”
I do like a birthday cake that tells it as it is.