So all the bulbs that I planted are now popping their buds. Narcissi, double daffodils, hyacinths and rose quartz tulips that I plunged into a butlers sink.
The magnolia tree is magnificent in the sunshine, the forget-me-nots have taken over the borders and the hellebores are lolling their white and pink heads.
The old git has been pruning and sawing up the logs whilst the dawter baked an eggless birthday cake. Flowers from Brighton adorn the table. Tulips from next door and a bouguet from a young woman that is so magnificent I took photos. Cards came, gifts from Devon to Kettering, messages from Shrewsbury to Chippenham and chats in vision from Sweden, Germany and America. Birthdays aren’t the same when you get older, instead of bumps and balloons to celebrate getting older, it’s bumps and communing with the still alive.
I love a bit of a do and I don’t mind telling everybody that as I get older the more parties the better. This year the day of my birth was the same as Thursday in 1949, when sweets were still rationed and cigarettes were given to birthing mothers as a gift.
So all this week I did a bit of this and that in preparation for the day of my birth on Thursday. Which turned into an eatathon
Breakfast was laid in the garden, under a blue sky. Bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese, scrambled eggs and bucks fizz – and I dont mean the band. As the bubbles fizzed in fresh orange juice I was served delicious hot coffee and warm milk. We talked over the food under the sun.
We then sauntered down to the pub where my treat was waiting. 2 pints of Guinness and a bowl of the fattest crunchiest chips. Conversation turned to conservation as we discussed the local farmers and their obsession with selling off their land so that they can build estates of houses that will fuck up the creaky sewage system, the environment, the air, building more roads with the accompanying noise, not to mention the lack of schools and hospitals and the increase in light pollution. I tussle with the probability that I have turned into a NIMBY but I assuage my discomfort by knowing that I am passionate about green fields, green trees and green leaves that I will fight to leave for my children and childrens children.
The discussion continued until we got home when I lay down on the cushions that the old git had secured on the bench and before you could say who the fuck is George Eustace? The environment minister fluttered before my blurry eyes and I was out for the count.
The dawters Godmother turned up with a bucket of primroses, a bottle of wine and a look that said I thought you didn’t drink.
I sobered up pretty fast as the BBQ was lit and half a ton of chicken, sweet corn and sweet potatoes were flamed and turned. At sundown we ate like Henry Eighth tearing off flesh from the charcoaled chicken and downing yet more fermented grapes.
I do not remember going to bed.
Friday was a slow day. Ambling from one seat to another, watching the sun and apologising to my little body. At my age swimming in alcohol is not to be advised, nor is eating brownies that were sent through the post. Or Belgian Truffles that were gifted by our Saturday guests. They arrived at 1.00 I made prawn and mango curry, cauliflower bhaji and tarka Dahl. Given my mental state I am surprised any of it worked. We sat in the garden, the sun on our backs, and talked about George Eustace and the inevitability of unapologetic land owners winning the day. We talked about Putin and his mental health, we talked about nuclear war by which time I had to have another drink to calm my nerves.
Look I’m 73, the only way forward is to keep the faith, and block anything that these greedy arseholes propose. To teach our children well and to remember that we are here for five minutes and that all we can do is out best.
To everybody who sent me kind messages for my birthday I want to say thank you. I love it when the phone pings and it’s all about me. For one day the indulgence is allowed. The wallowing in self gratification is positively encouraged. This year I said yes to everything, I’ve got 364 days to detoxify until next year.