Sunday, 2 February 2014

Birthday surprises

Another year, so another birthday comes and goes, but brings many surprises. I thought my 40th birthday last year was full of surprises but they succeeded in providing me with many more surprises this year. Diz did very well at showing his poker face and using the 'whatever' words when ever I mentioned plans for my birthday. It's very annoying not being in control of what is happening or knowing how I will be celebrating. My first surprise was let out of the bag when my Mother-in-law, Joyce, let slip she was flying over a couple of days before, not a problem I had a feeling she would be here anyway. When we picked her up I was totally surprised when my best friend, Julie, tapped me on the shoulder (after hiding behind a pillar) to say hello. My face must have been a picture, as I had only thought of her the other day and wished she had been able to come over. I had only spoken to her a couple of nights before and she told me how busy she was in work! I had no idea, but was delighted to see her.

A couple of hours before going to the airport we popped over to see some friends to drop off our now redundant buck, Jacko. Tracey is a bit of a 'smart-ass' florist creating displays from natural materials foraged from fields and gardens or flowers and plants that she had dried for future use. Her work is truly amazing and very personal. Some time ago I had asked her to make me a living dragon giving her free reign of how it would look. I wanted something as a centre piece for our new enclosed, chicken free garden (still work in progress). We had all forgotten about it, or so I thought.
Please let me introduce Cedric, my newest dragon. He is made from moss and dried flowers and will continue to grow as the moss gets established. He is currently residing in the polytunnel until he is a little more established and the birds have gone through their first flurry of nest building otherwise he will be bald. Although I have a feeling the polytunnel's resident Wren will make use of the available material. What fantastic surprise. I know some of you will be thinking what an odd thing, but if you knew my obsession with dragons and how many I own you would understand why. He is lovely and I can't wait for him to get into his new home as the centre piece of the garden.

So we now have Cedric, Joyce and Julie all arrived. I thought we had arranged for some friends to come over on my birthday for dinner, so thought that was it. The night before at 17:00 I was informed I had to be ready to go out by 19:30. I popped to a neighbour to drop off some eggs telling her I couldn't stop long as we were going out and how we never go out other than to friends. She though it was wonderful how my husband was good at organising surprises and how he should give her husband some tips. So home we went, showered and ready to go out, not knowing where and at 19:30 a taxi arrived, a big minibus. 'How many of us are going out?' I exclaimed. As I got to the mini bus there was my neighbour who we had only seen an hour before hand, giggling. 'I should have been an actress' she said with a big beaming grin. We picked up a few more people, neighbours and friends, and headed to Carrick on Shannon to an Indian restaurant. What another fantastic surprise, we haven't been out to a restaurant in Ireland for 4 years and never got a taxi!! And to be joined by our friends and neighbours was just brilliant. It was a brilliant evening, we laughed all night and had excellent food. We moved onto a pub playing traditional Irish music and when the time came to get the taxi back, no one wanted to leave so we stayed until the early hours of the morning before heading home.
The following morning, which was my birthday, I was spoilt further with lovely presents and cards. To top the day off Julie and Joyce presented me with a birthday cake, which they had made me while I was in work a couple of days before and kept it hidden. Believe me that was no easy feat. We had Brisket smoked and cooked in the Dutch Oven for dinner, Julie made a delicious flan and then we fell asleep in front of the fire. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday very special.

Take care all
Stell and Diz

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