Happy Birthday Charleesi

Its my daughter’s 21st birthday – well that happened quickly! Still seems like moments ago that I was ringing family, having stepped briefly out of the operating theatre to find that a thunder and lightning storm had started at the moment of her birth.

Totally not an omen.

Today we have reasonably clear skies, and gentle birdsong, a marked improvement for a special day. We’re still waiting on the final result for her degree but we don’t need that confirmation to know how amazing she is.

So happy birthday Charleesi, can’t wait to see what you do next.

Happy Birthday Me

I am having a wonderful day of new books, fresh coffee, games on the XBox and very little else. I may even have had a tipple or two.

In other news, Lady M took delivery of her new work car – a Hyundai Ioniq that I am desperately failing to not refer to internally as the Erotique as both she and myr s have been salivating over it at some length. I haven’t driven it yet as I’ve been drinking but I look forward to getting used to it, even if it is an automatic. I must admit the wireless phone charging is neat though.

Lazy Sunday

Nice slow day today, with my brain more or less switched off, and it’s just what I needed.

Lady M continues to shower me with early birthday gifts: games and books for the most part. I am both very lucky and slightly bewildered by the cornucopia of choice now presented to me for the next time we meet with people. Cards Against Star Wars, Choose Your NSFW Poison, and X-Men Munchkin are all now carefully propped up, ready to be unleashed.

As for this evening, I’m currently stood at Osterley Tube Station waiting for myr s to arrive from seeing Lindemann up in town this evening. I’ll take them home for a quick cuppa, freshen and change before putting them in an Uber back to Portsmouth so they can do the school run with the cub in the morning. If we had a spare car I’d do it myself, but alas the logistics don’t quite match up this evening.

Still, not a bad start to my week off.

Birthday Runup

What better way to start the run up to my birthday than a weekend basically on the sofa with games and food while the storm batters at the outside world? Well, with presents of course – our tradition of giving small presents each day leading up to the event continues – and somehow is still a surprise each time.

And so Lady M asked me the fateful question as to how many presents I wanted on the day and I picked a lower number, and before long I was presented with a mysterious gift – in this case the vampire teddy and duck from Nightmare Before Christmas, in Funko form.

One minor reshuffle later, I’ve put all the existing NBC Funkos together, and it’s made my fingers itch to swap them all around for a bit of variety, so I may indulge myself with that later.

Birthday girl

Despite the best efforts of her employers we were determined to help lady s celebrate her birthday this weekend.

As she was having to work the actual day, we arranged to head down on Saturday after I finished work, and we gathered together with Ladies J and B to escort her to the pub for food and drink and a quiet evening of silliness.

And the nice thing is that we don’t need to drink to have fun, be daft, and let our humour out to play. The next morning would see us having a breakfast too, but we were mindful that lady s had to work soon. So we contented ourselves with putting the world to rights over pizza, puddings, and pints of diet soda.

The following morning we showered lady s with gifts before breakfast and dropped her and Lady J to work. Lady M and I spent the day being tourists before Lady M headed home. I lurked in the area until lady s finished work and ubered her home. The rest of our evening was spent watching YouTube clips before bed called and we turned in.

Lady s said it felt in many ways that it didn’t really like a birthday this year, but a 12-9 shift will take the wind out of most people’s sails. Between us, I think we did our best to counteract it all

Long Week

My rota pattern changed recently so I’m now adjusting to the new days, including the swapping of the weekends where I work. This wouldn’t normally be too complex, but I’ve also got various weekends and days swapped round to accommodate colleagues or allow for various holidays. The general effect therefore is one of having to consciously remind myself several times per day where I am, what hours I’m doing, and whether I need to make further course corrections to avoid having to be in two places at once.

Its all a bit exhausting. Fortunately this weekend we’re off to go see lady s as its her birthday tomorrow so that will be a nice escape from the grind. For at least a couple of days I’ll be able to forget buildings that are generally porous to the weather, or that have been shaken by nearby construction. I’ll instead be able to delight in giving presents and sharing a breakfast tomorrow before being a bit touristy in Portsmouth.

We’re all pretty run down, so it’s not going to be a grand explosion of frolics and silliness (well maybe a bit of silliness) – but just being in each others company will help I think.

Piss-Up In A Brewery

One of my brothers has his birthday next week, but decided to have a celebration this weekend as he’s away on the actual day. The initial notification said it was from five, but at some point the plans changed, because when I checked about things yesterday morning I was told it had changed to the afternoon, and was now at a local brewery.

The brewery in question was the Pilgrim Brewery in Reigate, which is tucked away in a courtyard off the top of the high street. It overlooks a cricket green and a croquet club, somehow managing to be possibly the most English view ever even as the beer flowed and the wide array of food laid on courtesy of a local deli tempted the taste buds.

There were a lot of people I didn’t know there. Lady M had a migraine so didn’t come along, and lady s was working. I had to force myself to be sociable therefore, but fortunately most people were happy to chat away and my anxieties soon eased away. Neighbours, local pub quiz organisers, some mutual friends, and assorted friends of his family were in attendance – so there were several variations on “so how do you know him” conversations to go through.

There were a couple of variations on the “ah yes, I’ve heard about you” statement that were directed my way but no one elaborated on what they’d heard so I just smiled benignly, and proceeded to talk happily and at length about my lovely partners, my extended family, and how proud of my daughter I am.

It wasn’t a riotous bacchanal, but it was a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It’s also now revealed a couple of very nice bars that I shall have to introduce the polycule to at some point.

Orff to the Rugby

We had a grand adventure today as part of a delayed birthday thing. Lady M had managed to get tickets to the Quilter friendly international match between England and Wales for today – a series that is often seen as a warm up and tryout for the Rugby World Cup.

I’m not an avid follower of rugby, but I played it at school, and have always enjoyed watching matches on TV if I happen to catch them. England Vs Wales always leaves me caught in the middle too: my parents are Welsh, but I’m a born and bred Londoner. I feel no fierce tribal loyalty either way.

That said, there’s something about the buzz of a stadium event that had us look at each other and go for it. I hadn’t been to Twickenham stadium for a good thirty four years or so, and Lady M had never been to a match. We even splashed out a bit on the tickets, and that’s how we ended up with the view above: pretty much at the front with a perfect view of the goals.

We’re also lucky enough to live a short bus journey away from the stadium so we avoided the trains. This was a good thing, as over 80,000 people attended on the day.

Rugby crowds are generally more chilled than their soccer counterparts – there’s a politeness and cheer fuelled by moderate drinking, plentiful food, and a no nonsense attitude towards people causing trouble.

This was no more evident than in the case of the group of young men behind us who seemed to have a few soccer fans in their numbers. Midway through, one of them leapt to his feet and tried yelling an obscene anti-Welsh chant. It trailed off pretty much straight away as everyone – English and Welsh supporters alike – stopped, turned, and just looked at him. He sat down and we didn’t hear from him again.

By comparison, I gave Lady M repeated giggles by translating the term “knock on” for her as “someone was fucking clumsy”, and “driving the scrum down” as “dangerous fuckery”

Behind us we heard rugby fans explaining to the soccer fans that a “high tackle” wasn’t necessarily deliberate, but it was dangerous and that was why it was punished.

All in all, a great day out – sometimes amusing for the wrong reasons, but so grateful for the chance to be there and soak up the occasion.

Birthday Shenanigans 2018

Lady M was in Germany overnight last week and I got a text to remind me that her flight would get in about quarter to seven in the evening. It was closely followed by another text saying that I would also need to pick up my next present from Sunbury station at half past six.

A little context here: we’ve developed something of a tradition where we give whichever of us has a birthday a present on each day in the week leading up to it. They don’t have to be big or expensive, they’re just little things to cause a smile or excitement each day.

I had half an idea already from other comments during the day that something was being plotted, but when someone’s having fun with a surprise it’s rude to delve too deeply and ruin it all.

When I traipsed round after work to the station, there was Lady S – who had come for a long weekend visit as a birthday surprise. Time was tight so we hurried to get her bags back to the flat before racing to pick up Lady M.

Our extended weekend (aside from working Friday), included a Wessex Pistols gig, supporting Lady P at the Musical Chairs event in Camden, and a photoshoot in Bourne Wood despite plummeting temperatures.

I have been very spoiled by friends and family this weekend, and it has certainly been a birthday to remember. Thank you everyone

And I’m back in the room

The beginning of November is always simultaneously busy and fraught for a number of reasons – but fortunately this year there has been more on the busy side than the latter.

I try these days to make Lady M’s birthday celebrations a bit of an extended occasion – with presents on the days leading up to it and at least one surprise. This year the festivities technically started while we were at MCM London Comiccon, and I took advantage of the shopping while we were there to load up on suitably geeky presents.

We were also both off work for the full week following the event, and so could spend time quietly reconnecting, and just relaxing in each other’s company. We’d heard of post-Con blues before, but had never truly appreciated how exhausting the come down from a weekend of adrenaline can be. Gaming and late morning’s dominated the week until the Friday evening where we picked things up and went to see the Wessex Pistols at our usual pub haunt. It was a great night out, with a Happy Birthday rendition by the band, and a number of drunken and slightly deafened conversations with various band members afterwards to sweep us into the weekend.

And that’s where the surprise came in: Lady M knew we were going to visit the Charleesi – ostensibly to deliver a television to her room now she had sorted out a license – and that we would stay over as I had told her to pack an overnight bag.

What Lady M didn’t know was that I had been colluding with the Charleesi and the former Lady M to engineer a weekend of activities.

Our guest house was across the road from the Charleesi’s halls of residence, so once I’d booked us in we hauled the television over and called her to come down and let us in. We’d got there late morning, partly to meet check-in times at the guest house and so that the Charleesi could evict other students from her floor from the night before.

We wandered in, admired the way Charleesi had set her room up, and then the former Lady M appeared from the bathroom and nearly made Lady M jump out of the window in surprise.

Our itinerary was full – so with giggling and shuffling onto local buses we dragged the Birthday Girl in to Oxford for lunch, and then to a walking tour that covered history and filming locations alike (such as the tree under which a certain Malfoy was transformed into a ferret). Cream tea followed, and then on to a huge fireworks and bonfire display.

Lady M thought we were stopping then, but the Charleesi had other ideas, and so we went through a number of back alleys, guided by mobile phones to an undecorated side door in an unlit building. Lady M was prompted to pressed to ring the bell.

A voice from the speaker challenged her to tell her what had many keys but opened no locks. After a moment’s fluster she answered: a piano, and we were admitted to The Mad Hatter – an Alice in Wonderland-themed speakeasy that was also running a 1920s evening for fireworks night.

We had a great evening. Gin was served in teapots, and other inventive cocktails followed later, including alcoholic milkshakes and blue cheese martinis. We staggered off happily back to the halls after that, with the two Lady Ms having a loudly giggly time as we made our way back.

Oh, and to finish the evening in true student style, the Charleesi and I got some pizzas in while we played card games.

The morning saw us take in the Oxford University Botanical Gardens and explore the new Westfield shopping centre before grabbing some food from the Lebanese grill.

So that was our quiet week off – no wonder it’s taken me a while to get the energy back to start functioning again!