As my recent birthday didn't work out all that well, I spread it out over the next eight days - so more of a birthweek than a birthday, really. Not that extensions are unheard of anyway - one or two have gone on for a fortnight, and very enjoyable, too.
Anyway, back to this year's. It was a Monday, although I wondered if it really was the right day, because for one thing, the weather was wrong. It was raining. Hard. This is not allowed on my birthday, as my 'natural' present is fine sunny weather - at worst dry with sunny spells, but more usually the sort of glorious autumn weather we got later in the week. Somebody must have miscounted...
It was also a Tube Strike day: I had to take Harry-the-Cat to the vet first thing. Eight thirty came and went, with no sign of the cab I'd booked. Eventually it arrived three-quarters of an hour late - extra traffic on the roads because of the strike, which I guess is unsurprising. Oh well, I'd warned the vets, and they were being very accommodating, so let's see if we can get through this without any more ado. Part way up the main road, the driver's radio station of choice came up with Credence Clearwater Revival's 'Bad Moon on the Rise'. I smiled at the cheerful tune, as ever, and its combination with the disaster-laden lyrics (earthquakes, lightning, hurricanes, floods etc) until we got to "Hope you have got your things together/ Hope you are quite prepared to die". Now look here, guys, that's enough!
I suppose it may account for the fact that when we got there the driver tried to be helpful and back onto the forecourt so I had less far to carry the basket. Unfortunately, he backed into a lamp post instead...fortunately he was doing virtually nil mph, so no injuries. I was lucky, as I had been about to get out, and wasn't wearing a seat belt at that point. He was not lucky, having got a sizeable dent in the back of his people carrier. Oh well, the rest of the day was uneventful: Keith had the bad luck to be unwell, so we ate nothing fancy by way of food, but he still managed to arrange presents and cards for me, which were doubly appreciated, and I did get some other nice ones - thanks, everyone!
It was an odd week - a South Kensington day on the Tuesday; in at the museum on Wednesday, and lunch with a friend at Nico's Grill (steak sandwiches and chips to die for); and a retirement seminar on the Thursday and Friday (held at the National Liberal Club, which has rather stunning Victorian/ Edwardian interiors; the food's not bad, either, notably the fish and chips). Retirement isn't until next year, but it's as well to get any help offered, I figure, and in the current financial climate I can see next year's event being scaled back somewhat.
Having thus barely seen my colleagues, I went out for lunch on the following Monday with the team I work with. Someone suggested Pellici's (trad caff plus native Italian), which we all like. Even the member of the team who was heavily pregnant with twins was particularly keen to go ("It'll be my last chance to go there for a bit" she predicted, all too accurately), and soon we were all excavating large helpings of steak pie etc - there's a plate under there somewhere, I'm sure! The follow up was that the twins started to arrive the next day - must have been the walk back afterwards...or something energising about steak pie ?
(A squirrel in Bethnal Green Gardens ponders his local menu)