The First Day… not of the year, obviously.

Kites at Pt. Mac.4

But I was flying high as these kites, because it was the first day of my 7th decade – a glorious, sunshiny day with only a few wind clouds high above. Certainly felt like the words from Robert Browning’s famous ‘Pippa’s Song’ –

‘God’s in his Heaven,

All’s right with the world”

I sincerely had not wanted a fuss; a party; a gathering-together of large numbers of family and friends. Consequently, few knew of the day. The last time I did all of this was 20 years ago, and I swore then… never again. I’ve stayed true to my pledge to myself. For many years I have treasured time spent with other couples or a very few loved ones – ‘up close and personal’ time to share our good news and bad, to laugh and even cry. But in large gatherings that fly by in a blur after all the weeks and hours of preparation, there’s never enough time spent with those who matter most. It seems all ‘go, go, go’ and being ‘on show’ – bright smiles, much quick hugging and air-kissing and so much time spent working out how long since you were last together. Inevitably, it was a birthday, wedding or funeral.

So here we were, hubby Kanute’s 75th a week ago, and my 70th yesterday.And here’s the sight that confronted my sleepy eyes as I emerged from bed –

C.70th am greeting

I was laughing so much I could hardly make it to the ‘smallest room’. Those candles are alight – and check out the careful wrapping of the present! And his card says – Let’s not Age – Let’s Marinate!

Last week our choice was sort of dictated for us – a movie I really wanted to see was on then – but not on my birthday. So off we went to a hotel for lunch, then to the movie (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – loved it as much as the first), then home to delightful tea of special cheeses, biscuits, wine, chocolates and liqueur for me, and for Kanute a taste or two of the extra special Whisky I had bought for one of his presents.

Oooh yum-m-m...

Oohh yum…

Hurry up Kanute... can't wait to start!

hurry up Kanute, I can’t wait to start!

And yesterday?

A Bistro luncheon at the seaside town of Port MacDonnell – and my choice was a delicious Chicken Schnitzel with Seafood topping in creamy garlic sauce, chips, and my own selection from their beautiful salad bar. The photos cannot do justice to the quantity, variety and freshness of prawns, scallops and calamari in that mouth-watering sauce.

Then we drove on to a huge nearby Motor Museum with many additional collections that took us a couple of hours with a personally guided tour. So much history of the area and the car world in particular. Interspersed were countless humorous signs, figures that lit up and moved unexpectedly and memorabilia of almost anything you could imagine. And cleverly executed murals, too. I had been there before, on a bus day trip, and had waited for the opportunity to guide Kanute there to more of a surprise than even I expected. Look –

Kanute's '60's 'S' series Valiant

“I think it’s the one. MY Valiant from the ’60’s. The number plate is so familiar somehow. It’s my girl, born again… I just know it.”

I knew the green Valiant was there, and I knew it was the ‘S’ series of the Valiant Kanute had when we were engaged (over 50 years ago!) – that was his surprise. But mine was when he gasped as he read the number plate. He can’t remember it for positively sure after all these years, and a number of car registration numbers to remember in between, but this one really rang a bell for him. We choose to believe it is that great ‘old girl’ – especially on my own special day. An unexpected gift for us both. If that car could talk… hmmm, maybe just as well it can’t.

A leisurely drive home with afternoon tea of a special ice cream and a small shopping on the way, then home to more of those special cheeses and all the trimmings, wine and then a couple of tastings of the gorgeous Benedictine liqueur Kanute had bought me as one of my birthday presents. SO expensive now, but to me, the most beautiful liqueur I’ve ever had. For a (very) little while we just sniffed its fabulous scent…  the taste didn’t disappoint!

The great part about these low-key celebrations we’ve so thoroughly enjoyed, is that next weekend, a dearly beloved niece gets married in the city, and we will be making the five hour drive to share her happiest day with her. Then a few more days to enjoy (?… well, let’s rather say ‘experience’ and then cheerfully leave behind) the bright lights and busy-ness before we head back home, with a small detour to visit our daughter in another country town. It’s only been two weeks I’ve been free of my ‘cage’ – the moon boot I’ve worn for 3-1/2 months for my painfully slowly healing broken leg, so I won’t be kicking up my heels for any of these events. But I promise I will enjoy them. That’s my new pledge to myself for my 7th decade – enjoy every day… no looking back.


  1. Your low-key celebration sound wonderful. Enjoy every day of your 7th decade. You’re starting it with a great attitude.

  2. Happy belated birthday Christine! Sounds like you had a marvelous day and I never would have guessed you are 70. One of my closest friends is about to turn 80 and she is also another amazing woman who you would never accurately guess her age, and my late grandmother lived to 105 and was active and a real charmer right up to the end. I’m more convinced than ever about the power our attitude has on the quality of our lives.

    • Recently had contact with a highly intelligent woman in her 90’s who had to cut her email short as she was on her way to see her publishers about her latest book! Made me feel all fresh and young again. She encourages to mentally jump high and shout, “Bring it On”. 105! Wow! Just to imagine 30+ more years of my dabbling and gabbling… hmmm!

  3. Loved seeing that Valiant. Not only is the Valient gone, but Plymouth as well. And you don’t really see any make of care that color. Around that time i was driving a Pontiac Tempest. About the same type of car.

    • My earliest memory is in my stroller, seeing my reflection in the ultra-shiny side door of Dad’s brand new black Plymouth. How we all loved that great behemoth – like an ocean liner sailing along, with SO many passengers due to my darling parents’ endless generosity. No seatbelts or restrictions on passenger numbers in those days. And then, what seemed so much later, our courting days in the Valiant. We always dreamed of a Mercedes Benz – began our married life with a Volkswagen (well, it was German, so we were on our way) – and 6 years ago we finally bought our dream – a 2000 Merc. Do we love and cherish her? You betcha! We antiques complement each other beautifully, methinks.

  4. Christine – happy belated birthday – sounds like you had a wonderful time. There is quite a lot to be said for reaching the 70 mark, isn’t it? Your hubby certainly made you feel special and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it. I hope you have many days to enjoy. All the best.

    • Thank you Lenie. There is a wonderful Aussie book called ‘A Fortunate Life’, and it’s the most wonderful tribute to a positive attitude formed despite the odds. That’s my aim too – despite having the most fortunate childhood that set me up perfectly to ride the ebbs and flows of Life. I’m so thankful to have been living through and enjoying one of the best and most exciting periods in history – and feeling most comfortable with being me in the here and now.

  5. Happy birthday to both of you! Well, of course, I’m applauding your choice to visit the Motor Museum : )) We had a number of Plymouth Valiants in our family, and I’ve always thought the early ones had the most character. What a lovely surprise to see it “reinCARnated.” I applaud your choice to keep the celebration simple – somehow, that does make it more special …

    • How interesting Krystyna – Plymouth Valiants. Here in Australia the Valiants were made by Chrysler. Maybe Chrysler owned both of the others? Will do some research on this. We rarely know all the backgrounds to companies, do we? How well I remember first my Dad’s Plymouth – the beauteous ‘tank’ – and then our beloved green Valiant. How it hurt us both to have to draw in our belts, part with the Valiant, and economise with a Volkswagen. It only took us another 40 years or more to get the girl of our dreams – our 2000 Mercedes Benz. We three are the happiest of ‘fellow journeymen’. Thank you for your wishes.

  6. What a heartwarming day. Such a sweet and lovely post…I’m still smiling. Great car BTW. I thought you were going to say your first child was conceived in the back seat!
    Shows you what my mind does when it wanders.

    • No Pamela, that didn’t happen. But we always laughed at the double entendre to the acronym of WHS for my Woodville High School, and the WHS of Wandering Hands Society fame! Seem to remember a fumble or three back then, especially sitting in the back seat of the car at the drive-in movies. Terrible habit those windows had of fogging up!

  7. Christine, what a wonderful story about your birthday. Fun that both of you have big ones the same year. My hubby and I do too – ours are the same year of birth too. The car was a special touch, wasn’t it?

  8. Belated Happy Birthday!

    It is great to know someone in 7th decade. I love the way you enjoyed with your husband. As you have decided years ago, not to have a celebration, I feel this is what allowed you to enjoy your time with peace and perfection.

    I wish both of you happy year ahead and your start was great. Good luck for the visit in wedding as well.

    • And we have the best gift for our niece, Andleeb. It is the silver tray and 12 drink coasters given to her grandparents on their silver (25th) wedding anniversary (and engraved with the dates and their names), plus a silver milk jug, sugar bowl and strainer we believe belonged to her great grandmother. How special is that? Our darling and her darling are the most deserving couple of happiness and a wonderful partnership. Hope we add to it.

  9. I tend to like the low key experience driven celebrations myself; they tend to last longer and create the best memories. I have no doubt that the Valiant was the one you think it is. Those number plate numbers tend to stick in your mind like childhood phone numbers.

  10. What a wonderful celebration and Happy Birthday to the both of you! Sounds like a perfect way to ring in a new decade! Best wishes to you both…

  11. What a lovely way to celebrate your 7th decade. It’s a joy to see you both so much in tune with each other and enjoying your time together. Many happy returns of the day to you.

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