So - the expenses have been submitted, 2 good visits happened, the rain turned to snow and then back to rain (during which the dogs got their walk), and I think I've earned the next bit of diversion...this time in the form of the Friday Five.
Mother Laura is shortly to be engulfed by a wave of family birthdays, so this week's theme is "It's my Party" (tears purely optional)
1. When is your birthday? Does anyone else (famous and/or in your own life) share it?
I'm 1st June - a date chosen by my parents and the gynae man when it became obvious that my mother wouldn't be able to carry me to term..Since both the surgeon and my father were navy men, they opted for "The Glorious 1st" - the date of a sea battle involving Lord Howe, whose details were never quite clear to me. I share the date with, of all people, Marilyn Monroe - but also Edward Woodward (oh the joy of saying his name...so much pleasure in so few syllables) and Fredericka von Stade. Rather to my embarassment, I'd not heard of the majority of the celebrities that the birthday website offered me as twins. My gorgeous god-daughter Lucy has a birthday the day before, though...When her dad phoned to tell me she had arrived, I was convinced that he'd phoned to wish me a happy birthday. Of course I'm the centre of the universe, dammit!
2. Do you prefer a big party or an intimate celebration for the chosen few? The only big parties I've done were my 18th and 21st, both of which I enjoyed mightily....but on the whole, an evening with the people I love most is probably a safer bet all round.
3. Describe your most memorable birthday(s)--good, bad, or both. My 6th birthday (I think) was made memorable by the fact that I spent most of my party coming down with chicken pox and feeling absolutely rotten, but determined to party on anyway..because it was the first time that all my class were invited to our house, and my parents had arranged some games which, in memory at least, were truly awesome...I wish I could recapture the excitement of the round-the-garden treasure hunt
My 40th was utterly wonderful, since it co-incided with the Cotswold Children's Choir's millennium production of Noye's Fludde. Hattie Gandhi had her first big solo part, and both the boys were on stage too, and I was part of a "community orchestra", picking up my cello again for the first time in many a year (In fact, at the first rehearsal the young man who shared my desk, when told that I hadn't played the cello for 20 years looked at me with jaw dropping amazement before uttering the awestruck comment "You haven't practised for TWENTY YEARS! Lucky you...!") If you know the work you'll remember that the final chorus uses Tallis's Canon - and every night my very good friend the conductor would exchange glances with me as we reached a particular line...and I would hear all my children singing quite beautifully and think to myself...... "Well, if I have to drop dead at this moment, I'll actually be quite content. This is as good as it gets"
4. What is your favorite cake and ice cream? (Bonus points if you share the cake recipe). Or would you rather have a different treat altogether?
June is strawberry time, so my favourite childhood birthday cake was always a simple sponge with stawberries and cream heaped upon it. Nowdays, actually I'll just have the strawberries, if that's OK. And maybe some Ben & Jerry's ice cream to wash them down.
5. Surprise parties: love 'em or hate 'em? I love the idea, though I've never had one....but I'm not sure I'd trust anyone other than HG or HS to invite the right people and arrange the right food...A surprise party surely has to be just the way you'd have arranged it, it you'd been asked to devise your dream celebration.
Bonus: Describe your ideal birthday--the sky's the limit.
Let's put a mixture of my children and my dearest friends (of course you're invited) on the narrowboat "Polyphony", going nowhere very much...with good food (yes, including strawberries - and "pink fish"), good music and champagne...It's a real summer day. There are ducklings in the reeds, a kingfisher flashes past....and when I open that basket that HG has been keeping so close to her person, it turns out to contain a kitten. Tabby and white, I think. That'll do me nicely.