I’m usually a stickler for rigorous adherence to the proper date for important celebrations. Christmas presents aren’t to be opened a minute before 25th December and birthdays should be a proper surprise on the day itself; although the cards and decorations can stay up for weeks. But every rule has its exception and I find that mine, unsurprisingly, relates to cake.
More specifically, my birthday cake. A triple layer raspberry mascarpone filled almond sponge with pale pink icing and a smattering of raspberries on top was not going to make it to London intact, not even if baking paper, tinfoil, bubble wrap and a sturdy cake tin all stood guard.
So we had birthday dinner on Thursday night, a full 15 hours before I turned a year older, but the cake, the cake was good!
And on Friday morning we opened a few cards and fled rapidly in our different directions. Kitty and H caught the train to join us on Friday evening and we all met up at our hotel to open birthday cards and have a little duvet picnic before two exhausted little girls were tucked up and put to bed.
And right on cue the cavalry arrived, well to be precise, the Honourable Artillery Company.
It’s very reassuring in these turbulent times to see that an artillery company in the British army can put on a cracking display of explosions, and from our window we had a grandstand moonlit view of the fireworks with the lights of the Shard glowing away in the background.
So that’s how we finished our thirty-third birthday, our fourteenth spent together, sat by the window of a room on the Premier Inn’s eighth floor, in a little puddle of moonlight, drinking a cool beer (H) and eating Waitrose salted caramel chocolate cookies (that would be me), as our beautiful daughters sighed and dreamed, and dreamed again, talking over the minutiae of our every day; work, parenting, the girls, H’s art, my knitting. It wasn’t flashy, and apart from not having to do the washing up, it wasn’t even that different to any other evening (although it was nice not to have to wash up, don’t get me wrong), but it was quietly lovely, and the cookies were excellent.