Today I am 73 years young, amazed to have survived another year after many a trauma and yet so much hidden happiness and joy. The tiny champagne candles say it all - they signify the last three years; the previous 70 receding day-by-day into the mists of time. It has been such a gentle celebration, from the early morning mug of tea brought me when I was scarce awake to this evening's candlelit three-course meal prepared for me by my dear, long-suffering husband. Champagne to toast still being around (actually a cheap Spanish Cava) and finishing our supper with sweet muscat grapes from the greenhouse - the vine survived the time in 1999 when I set the greenhouse on fire. I seem quite good at the pyrotechnics! (see last post).
A trip into town to post letters allowed me to treat myself to a quantity of antique canvas-backed maps (practically as old as I am!) from which to make concertina travel journals. At such a knock-down price, I could not resist them; have in fact been buying the odd one or two for months; but today I was told they were all to be thrown out and would I like the lot ?? You bet; twenty have been added to my stash. I can hardly bear to re-purpose them, for they tell such a tale of social history, how places have altered and grown .. I will not spoil my birthday by bemoaning creeping suburbia, the loss of landscape, or the sanitising of the countryside.
The sun shone; leaves scuttered across the road, swirling in the chilling wind. I think on how lucky I am to still be alive, after two previous health scares; and contemplate even more on all the pictures I will shoot with the lovely new camera Raymond has given me, "so you can take photographs of a professional standard." It won't be the fault of the camera if I don't. I learn how to switch it on (!); am terrified of damaging it. Realise it will be brilliant, once I have mastered its intricacies and made it do what I want it to do. Which is far more arty than Raymond would like, but I will try to live up to his expectations. As the light fades I take my first photo - more grapes (ones suitable for making wine); I've set the camera on auto and (which is brilliant) it somehow stops the fruit and leaves from being blown every which-way: my usual problem, for you would think we live here in an aeronautical wind-tunnel. The moment I decide to take pics, up springs half a gale!
And so to the end of a perfect day, with flowers from my daughter's garden, emails and an e-card from one son, a phone-call from Iceland from the other, and 'happy birthday' sung to me down the telephone by three of our grandchildren. As I enter my 74th year, I make a birthday resolution - one which I hope I am sufficiently strong-willed to keep. This time next year, I'll tell you if I have succeeded.
And so to bed ... and I send love and best wishes to all my blogging friends and acquaintances, indeed to bloggers everywhere; for blogs have added immeasurably to my life and I do not know where I would be without such friendship.