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 –
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.
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 –
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.