Poor Mr B! He relies on me to make something of his birthday, being as he really doesn’t care too much for the Annual Celebration of Birth on his own account. As regular readers also know, I am never inclined to
let him get away with this as birthdays, in my book, are Something Special.
Except that this year, on his birthday, I woke up feeling like a Giddy Goat. It wasn’t
a good look. It was going to be difficult, I conceded, to keep up the appropriate celebratory atmosphere when I couldn’t actually manage to walk in a straight line.
Fortunately I had already wrapped up his presents, and gathered together the cards which had arrived so far via Postman Pat (whose name is actually Loyd and who doesn’t, as far as I know, own a cat, black and white or otherwise.) All I had to
do was watch while he (that’s Mr B, not Loyd the Postman, don’t be silly) opened them and make appreciative noises about the kindness of so many friends and relatives who had remembered him.
I was indebted, as it happened, to the TV Licensing organisation which managed to respond to my application, made a week or so ago, on Mr B’s actual 75th birthday, informing him that he was now the proud possessor of
a free TV licence. TV is a great companion for Mr B. Unlike me, it doesn’t answer back or repeatedly ask where he has hidden the remote control and why we have suddenly accidentally switched onto the daytime shopping channel. This is therefore
possibly the best of all birthday presents. Okay, it may well be taken away from him next year if the BBC decides to withdraw the privilege, but a TV licence in the hand, like a bird, is worth two in the bush. Or whatever.
Perhaps I had had a premonition but by sheer happenstance I had bought our dinner (steak with pepper sauce and all the trimmings plus a rather good bottle of wine) the day before. I would have to forego
the wine, of course, on account of my giddy head, but I could probably just about manage to serve up a birthday dinner. Except - oh, dear, what about the most important element of a birthday meal. As in, the cake, don’t you know?
To my rescue - half a Viennetta ice-cream left over in the freezer from Christmas. Viennetta, in case you didn’t know, is advertised as “a truly unique ice cream dessert
which will bring a certain ‘poshness’ to your dinner table.” Well, I don’t know about posh, but with the addition of four candles, it made a perfect, if somewhat random, birthday cake. Mr B said it was “brilliant” and “just
what he felt like” - which goes a long way, I reckon, to explaining why I love this man of mine.
Love was the theme of the funeral I went to the following
day, celebrating the life of a dear friend’s Dad. Whenever I met him, he would kiss my hand and tell me how welcome I would always be if I called in on him at home. And when I did, he would tell me all about his long and happy marriage, his beautiful
house and garden where he and his wife spent most of their married life before moving down to my home town to be near family - while pressing me, at frequent intervals, to “have another biscuit.” Norman was, indeed, one of Life’s Gentle Men.
How wonderful to hear, from one family member after another, about a man for whom love was everything. How special to watch the old photos flashing up, one after another,
on the big screens - finishing with oh, so precious footage of my friend Sue dancing for the last time with her dear Dad at his 90th birthday last June.
indeed a special birthday. But then, all birthdays are special and to be celebrated - if necessary with an ice cream cake, if failing all else.
Love will have
it no other way.