(And another gratuitous cake photo.)
I was going to write a long reflective post last night, but found I was completely exhausted, and went to sleep instead. So.
1. Birthday conversations.
M (on skype): happy birthday!
me: Thanks! My housemate made me a cake.
M: I made you a cake too.
me: oh did you? What kind is it?
M: um, it’s a very nice cake. A chocolate cake. Very light and delicate, filled with – er – cloud-cream. Yep, cloud-cream. And it’s transparent, too.
Grandma (on the phone): happy birthday!
me: thanks! and thanks for the present – I got it early. I haven’t spent any of the money yet, but I’ve eaten all the chocolates [completely amazing Swiss Glory truffles].
Grandma: oh, Granddad knew you would have eaten all the chocolates.
My brother (on email): happy birthday mel. i have to go to bed now. working at a book sale tomorrow. if only i had read as many books as you. love j.
2. The day.
My parents are here at the moment, and they completely spoiled me. We went to the David Hockney gallery in Salt Aire (something Dad has been dreaming of doing for years), and had dinner at Betty’s in Harrogate (brought back memories of last year, G&G!). I had rosti with smoked salmon, a glass of pimm’s, a glass of raspberry lemonade, rose-petal tea and a vanilla slice. And the icecream and chocolate sauce from Mum’s dessert. Yum yum yum yum yum. And then we went for a walk by the river in Knaresborough. Mum remembered taking me for evening walks in an English pram in Birmingham when I was a few weeks old.
My parents gave me aeroplane earings made by my cousin’s boyfriend and a green walking shirt. Because I got these early (a technique I recommend) they gave me more presents on the day – a veggie cookbook, socks that don’t match, and a green spoon with a hole in it. M’s giving me the best present ever – a new reserve parachute. Cool.
Usually, on a birthday, I think back over the past year. But as 29 is so close to 30, in the way that, in marking undergraduate essays, a 69 is practically a 70, I’ve been thinking more about the decade. The past year has been a wonderful blur of travel, work and play. So, I suppose, has the last decade. Ten years is quite a long time. I’ve spent half of it in England. I’ve spent most of it at university. I’ve changed a lot. I have a feeling the next ten years might be very different. Bring it on!
Today, despite growing panic about my neglected thesis, I’m off to do one of my favourite walks with Mum and Dad. Then I’m going to get hold of some new scales (because my old ones broke and I need to weigh the boxes) and finish packing the boxes to send to Norway. And next week, I’m going to squeeze all the stuff I need to organize to the edges of the day, and I’m going to make some progress on this thesis.