It is impossible to ignore one's birthday - I've tried - but Face Book, Cruise Lines, et al are there with you till the Passing and after a while one learns to lie back and enjoy the world wide,warm greetings from dear people one may well have never met but who have become friends. No-one was visiting; my family are scattered far and wide and I much prefer to see them for longer throughout the year than a quick hello for my birthday.
That way one can happily see them leave with a brave smile rather than being choked with sobs -wondering is this the last time?
Happily it was Tuesday the day of the weekly meeting of what started as a bereavement group -which we prefer to call a friendship group. Our fame has spread and we are now in the teens in spite of Veronica and Peter absconding to Devon - they met and married in the group about 2 years ago and Sylvia who is gamely recovering from a stroke.
Elaine has taken over trying to keep us on track and gives us a calendar with the month's venues (we like variety) and very often we all turn up at the correct one. She is a great cake maker and brought me a red velvet cake to share - with some candles.
Elaine has taught for years, knows masses of people and - now in her later years - invigilates. She had a meeting in Taunton and offered me a lift. She knows the area backwards, scorns the main roads and the journey was mainly down primrose and snowdrop bespattered lanes. We parted in town and - full of cake I eschewed lunch and did the shops. I had a senior moment in Boots when I tried to pay for a lipstick with a WH Smith's Birthday voucher. A few hours later a pot of tea in Debenham's seemed an attractive idea. It was very quiet - Tuesday must be a good day; I got a window seat, a smashing pot of tea., some delicious fruit toast with lashings of butter and all for £3.60. I thought I was in Heaven. Then it was time to get some food treats from M&S - my elder son comes at Easter and rendezvous with Elaine in the café where the counter service is unbelievable snail like. Really!
Full of tea I daringly had a small expresso.
The drive home was very busy but gave us plenty of time to chat and swap notes. Elaine wouldn't come in as she was cooking but there was a note to say flowers and chocolate had been delivered to a neighbour. Realising what day it was they insisted I had a sherry with them and in spite of the fact I don't really drink sherry these days and was knackered I'm glad I did. They are fellow cruisers had had a similar bad experience with the same Shipping Line, the sherry was excellent and it was a pleasant end to the day. A measure of how exhausted I was-I fell asleep and missed the first 20 minutes of 'Happy Valley'.
Whilst I have been writing this a late present has been delivered- a mug inscribed with 'World's Okayest Mum'.
My cup runneth over.