Tag Archives: birthday

An Excellent Evening

I wrote this post last night after returning from Julia’s birthday meal  At 11.30 I thought I posted it with time to spare but as I sat down to write now, just over 12 hours later, it seems I merely saved it as a draft. I was tired. All the conviviality was too much for me. I’m getting old. Apply whichever excuse seems most likely.

Whatever the reason, I failed to post it. This means that “today” means “yesterday”.

We had a busy day in the shop today, as if to compensate for a serious lack of customers during the week. This was helped by a cessation of rain. It has been a cold, wet week.

Several customers who have been absent for a week or two put in an appearance, and another one returned after an absence of two years.

At the end of the day, as we turned the final key in the lock, I realised I’d left the camera in the back room again. As I had to cut my hair, trim my beard, wash, change and pick Number One Son up and get to the restaurant for 7.00 I decided just to go home. I have other cameras for the weekend and the photos on the card will have to wait.

We had a good meal, caught up with family gossip and launched Julia into her sixty first year in grand style. Judging from the presents her family think she’s an alcoholic with dry skin and a lack of shopping bags.

I think this may be what happens as women reach a certain age. Maybe a lady reader could enlighten me on the etiquette of buying skin care products for the more mature woman.

If I bought Julia body lotion would I be seen as thoughtful, or would it look like I was hinting she had the skin of a wrinkly lizard?

We are home now and I’m writing this sitting in front of the fire. We have just eaten a couple of chocolates and all is well, though when we turn 70 we will have to tone things down. A week of celebrations is a bit much for us now.

The picture is a phoenix rising from the flames, though you may remember it from this post.

Scones and Things

Julia and my sister went out for a special offer gym session and Afternoon Tea yesterday, hence the scones in the picture. It didn’t go 100% well. Service was poor, organisation was poor and the daintiness of the sandwiches left a lot to be desired.

My sandwiches at lunchtime are very similar, and I’d never dream of serving them to people as part of a sophisticated afternoon tea.

She eventually accepted their apologies and left with a doggy bag, as service had been so slow that she needed to be elsewhere.

To be fair, the portions were large, and I ate well as a result.

In the evening, as part of a week of celebrations to distract her from the fact she’s about to have a milestone birthday, we had curry delivered.

They have changed the recipe since we last ordered and we were left gasping for air by the new spicing regime in the prawn puri starter which we shared. And it was late.

It’s OK having all these deals and services, but not so good if they are going to be perpetually disappointing.

Frankly, I’d been expecting a three day week, efficient public transport by monorail and a robot butler by the year 2000, having believed everything I’d been told about the future back in 1968.

It hasn’t quite worked out like that.

We used the rice and biryani leftovers from last night to make kedgeree and watched Strictly Come Dancing.

It’s a far cry from my dreams of robot butlers.

Similarly, as I stuff envelopes tomorrow morning, it will be a long way from my dreams of a glittering career as a captain of industry. Fortunately the human mind is able to adapt to most forms of failure band I will probably emerge from my troglodytic existence at 1 am in a happy frame of mind.

With a rapidly approaching birthday and no gift ideas, I have more immediate problems than a disappointing life. It sounds the same, but a disappointed wife is infinitely worse.

Butterflies, Curries and Clerihews

We went to Derbyshire today. Despite  being a Bank Holiday it wasn’t crowded and we managed to buy Julia the shoes she needed for the Maltese trip. We also bought some books and ice-cream.

We saw half a dozen Orange Tips and a pair of Brimstones. It really is looking like a good year for both species – I don’t remember seeing as many as this before.

On our return home we scurried round, changed and went for a birthday curry with my fellow shop workers and a few customers. It was a good night, and unlike last time, I was on time (just!), parked across the road and didn’t get rained on.

Yes, for those of you who may be wondering, I am now 60. That’s the “three score years” done with – just the next ten to worry about now.

I’m now going to write some poetry as part of my 200 poems in a fortnight challenge. Don’t worry, I won’t be subjecting you to my efforts, unless I write more limericks or clerihews. I seem to remember I was supposed to be writing more clerihews.

Out for a Curry

We went for a curry tonight – three shop staff and five customers celebrating a birthday. For reasons of internet security I won’t tell you who was having a birthday, which birthday it was or what the exact date is. I can, however, tell you that it wasn’t mine.

I had a nice mild curry, drank tonic water and only spilt down my shirt once. My days of raucous behaviour and painfully hot curries are over. As my 60th birthday chugs over the horizon I have finally discovered the benefits of middle age.

Life is good/

The only fly in the ointment was that I was late due to a heavily congested ring road, but as the people in the crash were clearly having a worse day than me I listened to the radio and tried patience.

I’m not sure I like patience so I may revert to shouting next time it happens.

That’s all for now.

Lots of Errands and a Traffic Jam

Big day today. Off to the letter office where five parcels were waiting for me. There was no queue today and I parked in a disabled space as my knee was killing me. I know it’s not a good thing to do, but there were three others left empty and I was having to use my stick.

It turned out there were six parcels, which was a bonus. While I’ve been at work the postmen have been taking them back to the letter office. The trouble is that everyone wants them to be signed for. There’s no trust in the world anymore and everyone wants proof. I posted over 2,000 parcels when I was dealing by mail order and I only ever lost one.

In general I like to believe that people are honest, and the proliferation of distrust on ebay tells you a lot about the way modern society is going. I also have my suspicions that ebay and Royal Mail are in league to take as much money as possible from us. Remember that ebay also charges commission on postage costs. I was happy with my purchases, but you’ll have to take my word for it as I haven’t photographed them yet.

After that we had breakfast and set off for Newark market where, noting the lack of customers, I did the old show business joke. It basically hinges round the phrase “there’s no business (pause for effect) like show business”. It tends to amuse us, though we don’t have high standards.

Then things took a turn for the worse. We stopped at Grantham for a toilet break and a drink. Julia’s coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.75. We’re going to have to start taking a flask.

Forestry land in Brazil costs as little as $50 an acre – about eighteen cups of coffee. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

After that we joined a queue on the A1. The traffic spent ten minutes travelling fitfully then ground to a halt. In the next two hours we listened to a Terry Pratchett talking book, chatted, watched red kites and fell asleep. Well, one of us did. The other one recorded me snoring and sent an audio file to my sister.

It seems that a trailer had become unhitched from a car and emptied itself on the road. Nobody was hurt, which is good.

Finally we arrived in Peterborough just in time to miss a low key but photogenic sunset, visited my father for a couple of hours, wished him a happy 89th birthday for later in the week and returned home without incident.

All in all, quite a worthwhile day, with the bonus of a relaxing snooze in the afternoon. I know it’s generally frowned on to sleep on major roads, but I think it’s OK if everyone has stopped.

 

The Best Laid Plans…

I didn’t quite get the Armistice Day post done as I suggested in the last post.  After writing two part posts – probably a thousand words or so in total -I decided to give it a miss because it wasn’t working.

At that point I switched over to cookery. Belly pork and roasted veg for tea, chicken and ham pie for tomorrow and vegetable curry for Wednesday. Tuesday, which you may have noticed was missing, will be fishcakes. I cheated by buying fishcakes last night, so I didn’t need to make any.

With the associated washing up, and moving of red cabbage, this took a surprisingly long time. Finding the tarragon took the best part of ten minutes because it’s a small packet in a chaotic kitchen. Julia had unpacked it last night and as she had neither left it in the bag or put it in the fridge I was left slightly clueless.

That left me with the choice of breathing life into a moribund post on Armistice Day or transcribing the list of Farmers’ Markets.

If you consider that the transcribing was more fun than the blogging you will see how badly things were going. It kept turning into a rant on the use of the poppy and the Great War centenary as a way of making money.

Things took a significant downturn when we had to do a Health and Safety assessment and fill out a wad of monitoring and personal development forms. It went badly.

Not as badly as the search for a birthday present though, that is really going badly and Julia isn’t helping by refusing to tell me what she wants.

Hopefully she wants a brightly-coloured paper bag containing supermarket chocolates, flowers and face cream, because it looks like that’s what she’ll be getting.

 

Birthdays and Blue Butterflies

It was the Birthday Party today, and we had cake. It was actually an 86th birthday rather than an 85th, as I previously said, so I got an extra year for free.

I also got a present, even though it isn’t my birthday. Bill has completed a marathon cutting session and gave me 112 pieces of wood. Eventually they will become 16 nest boxes, but for now they are merely a dream.

Combined ages 169!

Combined age 169 years and still eating cake

On the way down to the farm I stopped for a few minutes to take some photographs of bales in a field when a blue flash fluttered past. It took a bit of stalking but I eventually got a decent shot.

The tractor is in that phase of restoration where the Men in Sheds have actually removed even more bits in order to get at other bits that need mending. If you look at the back wheel you may be able to pick out the cardboard box they are using to make a gasket. Farmers and Mne in Sheds rarely spend money when they can cut up the box the cake came in.

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There is evidence of progress as some parts have been put back. I could start a competition asking people to compare the last post and see what has been done. But I won’t.

There’s certainly been more done to the tractor than the butterfly garden. The dwarf buddleias are now getting on for 6 feet tall and the full size ones are 9 foot monsters. There were plenty of Small Tortoiseshells (about 20 I should think) but only a handful of whites and a solitary Peacock.

You’d think that a wild and unkempt garden was best for wildlife but according to something I read recently it isn’t true. An untidy garden is good, and better for wildlif,e than a totally wild one. Strangely, the monster buddleias are acconpanied by patches of bare earth where useful plants (like borage and daisies) have been ripped out and little has grown back due to shadows and inhospitable clay.

This is certainly true for photography – the out of control buddleia makes it a lot harder to get decent photos.

The last six guineafowl are still around (the white one refused to be photographed) and several of the bantams seem to be living the free-range lifestyle. They were too quick for me to get a decent shot, but they are looking good.

Fortunately I was luckier with my morning and evening visits to Julia’s garden, which I will report on later.