Yesterday (the 27th) was my birthday. I am now 36 - which means that I was born in the Seventies (in fact, almost the Sixties) and can remember black-and-white TVs (that only had 3 channels), the advent of the Walkman, the first cinematic release of Star Wars and classic childhood sweets like Spangles and the Texan bar.
Actually, that's a lie: in truth, I can't really remember any of those things very well at all, because it was all so long ago and I am so very, very tired and confused. And why would I want to, anyway? Generally speaking, stuff is much better these days....
Speaking of birthdays, Amelie has yet to really get the hang of them. We were visited by Nanny, Gumps and Auntie Shelley at the weekend, and Nini decided to prepare a birthday surprise for me while they were here. Well, it was intended to be a surprise, but things didn't go quite to plan...
After a birthday lunch at the all-you-can-eat ("stuff 'til you chuck") Chinese buffet we headed back to the house. Shelley decided to sit on the wall to enjoy a soothing, toxic-laden tumour-inducing cigarette, so I decided to sit on the wall alongside her, just to see what it felt like to be a social outcast. Nobody threw rocks at us, but I could hear people 'tutting' from within their houses.
Meanwhile, my birthday surprise was being prepared. Its imminent arrival was announced by Amelie, who appeared at the door behind us and shouted down the garden:
A: "Daddy, you need to come in now"
P: "OK, sweetheart. Just a minute."
A: "No, now. It is nearly time for your birthday surprise."
P: "Um....OK. We'll be right there."
There was a pause, during which Shelley finished up her cigarette and Amelie swung on the door frame.
A: "Come on Daddy. Your surprise is a cake, and we need to light the candles..."
P: "Um, OK. Don't tell me any more, though, or it won't be a surprise."
A: "OK. But it is a chocolate cake, Daddy. In the shape of an armadillo. So you have to come in now."
P: (sigh) "Yes, OK, OK, we are coming in."
A: "Good. I will tell Mummy you are ready for your surprise now..."
On the day itself, Amelie was equally as helpful:
A: "This present is from me and Genevieve, Daddy..."
P: "Thankyou, sweetheart, that's very kind."
A: "It is some sweets."
P: "OK.....thanks. Can I have it?"
A: (witholding it) "Daddy, when you open it...they are for share, OK?
P: "Um....yes, OK. I will share."
N: "Ami, they are Daddys sweets. He can decide what to do with them..."
A: (looking horrified) "But...but he has to share."
P: "Ami, let me open it. I am sure you can have some of whatever it is."
A: (pointing with an admonishing finger) "Share. OK?"
P: "Yes, yes, share, OK."
A: (after a moments thought) "I will open it for you."
P: (reaching for it) "Ami, it's my present..."