Although I have emphasised that I don't like a fuss, and certainly don't want presents, I'm only human. And if people will go to some effort to make me feel special, I will fall about with delight. And I was delighted with these blooms. Here they are, the morning afterwards, arranged in a vase in my lounge at home:
But let me tell the story in its proper sequence.
Well, after seeing my poetic friend Alice early in the afternoon of my birthday, I visited V---'s daughter Lily's new shop called The Dropout in St James's Street, Brighton, off the Old Steyne, just up from Morrison's, which I highly recommend (if you don't object to the barely-concealed plug). Here are a few shots:
I met V--- herself there by arrangement, and then we walked over to K---'s in the North Laine. K--- was hostessing a little late-afternoon-and-on-into-the-evening gathering. Not a birthday party. A gathering. Not in my honour. Just to show off K---'s new decor, and to play old French records. You know, Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Maurice Chevalier, that kind of thing. In fact after dinner I expected to be shown the DVD version of the 1968 cult horror film Witchfinder General, starring Vincent Price (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchfinder_General_(film)) To celebrate, of course, the discovery that there had been a real witch in my Mum's family. No such luck. I was ambushed with flowers and cake. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself.
So: I arrived with V---, who was clutching a large carrier bag that clearly contained Something That Musn't Be Dropped. Not plates; I supposed it was something to eat, a dessert maybe. On arrival, we admired the new paintwork and sofa, and checked out the various bears that K--- had thought might be suitable as a Clare Bear (we need not digress into that):
Out came champagne. That was entirely usual. A toast to me, as hoped for. Right; celebrations over! K--- busied herself with cooking. I chatted with K--- in the garden. N--- arrived. We all chatted. Then I--- and B--- turned up, to complete our little party. And then these flowers were produced, with a witty card to go with them. Of course, I was completely taken by surprise!
My very first Birthday Flowers. I'd never been given personal flowers before. I found it a beautiful experience.
At length, we went to the big table and tucked into K---'s lovely food. Guinea fowl, chicken, lots of vegetables. And wine to wash it down with. Cheers!
I wondered what the dessert would be. And then this was produced:
One candle. Very wise. Sixty-two would have been a roaring blowtorch of a cake, and you can imagine the entire North Laine turned into a charred wasteland in a matter of minutes! Now: was I woman enough to blow the candle out in one puff? Borrowing a phrase from elsewhere (see my post Suck it creep! Butt out, punk! Eat sh*t and die! of 26 April 2014) I summoned up the proper up-and-at-'em-take-no-prisoners attitude and did indeed extinguish the candle flame, which, as the reader may know to their cost, can be a remarkably stubborn survivor, a bit like a cornered rat refusing to give in. Not that I would ever corner a rat myself, you understand.
So there you have it. A birthday to remember!