Celebrating in style

There were times when my birthday would pass by unnoticed. Mainly by me, but everyone else was equally complicit. Let’s face it: I can’t remember. I can’t remember anything about the day I was born. It’s hazy. The event doesn’t spring to mind every 2nd of December, so it is pretty forgotten. And if I can’t remember, how can I expect anyone else to?

My brother doesn’t remember. He continues in the proud tradition of my parents who never remembered. (Except once, when I was 12, my mother baked cookies for my birthday, but my brother had them all before I got home. I didn’t know about the cookies so I wasn’t in a hurry to get home from the frozen school pond.) I am beginning to think that the memory lapses in my family are genetic. Which is fair. We don’t remember one another’s birthdays so nobody sulks, and if they do, they keep it to themselves. Plus, at this stage, it may be complicated for my parents to communicate birthday wishes from Beyond…

Haley didn’t remember, but then again, how could she? She wasn’t even there when I was born all those millenia ago, was she? She, herself, was only born 9 years ago. Her dad remembered last minute as the birthday card drawn on a recycled shopping list indicates. I also got Spa and Bath set. For men… Must have been recycled too from last year’s Christmas sock.

Steve remembered. Steve remembered big time. The Victorian winter coat – gorgeous! “The Double” in the Bath’s Theatre Royal (even if it meant terrible suffering for him – just the struggle to stay awake until the interval, and thereafter) – captivating! Still, he did it! For me! He even whipped his son into submission, and a birthday card arrived, alongside a few Christmas cards, a few days after my “special” day. His mum remembered to apologise on the phone for… not remembering. Ah, my brilliant husband, he must have been working his backside off to get all his family members to come to the party. Though there wasn’t a party to come to so I can, sort of, understand their reluctance. I must say they did better than my own family by any stretch of imagination. His daughter remembered without having to be reminded! I must remember to give her an extra-special treat for Christmas. Oh yes, I will be biased. Why not?

Other than that, it was an ordinary week if I don’t mention nearly getting arrested for speeding by a dilligent policeman who was hiding behind a rubbish bin of an isolated pub in a village of no visible dwellings where the speed limit had suddenly been brought down to 30mph when I wasn’t looking so that that very policeman could capture me. I was kept at the back of his car and read the rites of “anything you say may be used in evidence…” My skin crawled, my eyes stung, my daughter sat wide-eyed in my car wondering if mummy was ever coming home for Christmas. I had flushes of chill going down my spine. The policeman must have thought I wasn’t taking it seriously enough for he reread the rites for me again, by which point I was wishing the Armaggedon predicted for 2012 should have, after all, been true!

If that, and a fine of £60 (goodbye Christmas turkey!), wasn’t enough, I had to deliver the paper counterpart of my driving licence to the nearest police station. Easier said than done! The nearest police station was shut. There was a telephone by the door. I called and a lady somewhere in Scotland informed me of the REAL nearest police stations that could deal with my documentation. So I went on a wild goose chase around the county, searching. By that time my daughter was in tears, blaming herself for all my misfortunes, we nearly had an accident as I swerved to the right side of the road to save an adventurous cat’s life only to find myself in the path of a honking lorry, and once again – believe it or not – once again we were observed by a policeman with a speedometer in hand. It wasn’t the same policeman though and we were driving -20mph by then. So there, wish me a happy birthday!

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