Thursday, June 19, 2014


I think I've had my last birthday party, at least that's the plan.  This year I celebrated my birthday for so long that I almost didn't do anything on the day itself.  

It began with a weekend away with some of my dearest friends in the beautiful Yarra Valley.  Weeks ago we thought it might be a plan to celebrate the 230 years we "0" birthday people had amassed by this year......three of us wondering how it came to be our 60th, and the baby celebrating his 50th.  Jackie did what she does best and organised the bookings, the money, the rooms, the dinner, and probably the weather too.  Ev promised to wear different shoes and Ali threatened to decorate her mobility aids.....and in a flash our weekend arrived.

Here we are on the lawn in the middle of the afternoon, beginning the celebration.  I'm sure Greg had a wine glass too, but its hidden!

On the weekend of my birthday I filled the house with friends, truly a wonderful sight, and we talked and ate and drank the evening away.  There were my oldest friends, women from school with whom no explanations for anything are ever necessary and with whom I can have half conversations of unfinished sentences with perfect clarity.  There were friends from workplaces with whom I share so much that is ridiculously funny and politically incorrect and totally incomprehensible to anyone else.  There were my parents holding court in different rooms, my sister-in-law and niece and our resident big friendly South African weaving in and out with bottles of champagne and putting faces to names.  There were Si's mates who have become my friends too and who graciously agreed to come and collectively reduce the age-range by several years.  Jackson outdid himself and produced an enormous baklava which Kim turned into my birthday cake - without candles, since I hid them.  It was a great party, even if I say it myself.

On my actual birthday there were several anti-climaxes and in the end I opted for fish and chips out of paper, accompanied by good champagne.  Mmmm....scallops.....Good Grief, they're $2 each!

Simon would have been 27 this year and as always I had mixed emotions when visiting his grave.  Its a beautiful place where birds always sing and fly about above my head and land on the water nearby and splash about, and as usual the drizzling rain stopped and for a brief time it was sunny.  I like to believe this is Simon's way of telling me he knows I'm there.  I cleaned his stone, like generations of women have done in the past, and walked around the gardens to take in the changes each season brings.  When I came back to say goodbye, the tree above dripped a solitary raindrop onto his name and I joined in.  It is so hard to believe that he wont walk past, wont drive in, wont come sliding down the hall in his socks.

This is my final birthday present, a remarkable collection of origami hearts, each folded by someone on staff at my workplace, and arranged and framed by the irrepressible Bee who donated the book she hated most to be torn up and folded.  On the back is a key to whose heart is whose.  I cant wait to hang it in the best place in my studio.

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