Sunday, 6 August 2017

Birthday treats

In the last blog post I left you with my soggy tent at the end of Famfest. There was more to come in my birthday week because on Friday I headed down to London for further events, staying with Lola II and Mr M as usual. There was a concert in Islington and a picnic in Regents Park. Or, as I discovered, The Regent's Park.

On Saturday I slept very late while Lola II did exercise at the swimming pool, then we had brunch at a fancy brunch spot, did the shopping for the picnic, ate some more and went to the concert. The Indigo Girls are from the South of the USA, and are a duo singing what I suppose I'd call Folk Rock. Here's the one that always makes me cry. I was a little overwrought. Got something in my eye.

They are MUCH older now than when these videos were produced. But so am I. Here's the one they do before the encore (I have no idea what the visuals in the video are all about. Ignore them and just listen):

And the closing number, which had the whole venue singing at full pelt:

I could listen to them forever. And sometimes I have to, given Lola II's propensity to sing whatever's in her mind at all times. On our camping holiday during the walk around the reservoir she started to sing the sound of the squeaky gate. She does cashpoints and pelican crossings too. Unbelievable.

It was my birthday on Sunday, but I knew that work loomed on Monday and I'd need to wake up a lot earlier so my plan was to set my alarm for 8 a.m. Lola II and Mr M seemed a little put out by this, but I thought nothing of it until about five to eight when they arrived in my bedroom to sing Happy Birthday, a ritual not performed for me for at least 20 years. No wonder they were a little disappointed out at my choice of an early start.

I was presented with splendid and practical gifts - a road map, because we had experienced together the uselessness of satnav in the lanes of Devon. A mug painted by Lola II to represent the 'jazzy drop' fake chocolate sprinkled with hundreds and thousands that we enjoyed 30 years ago. A plastic toothbrush cover for travel protection in the washbag, from Mr M I think. Half a bar of chocolate left over from the hazelnut, plum and chocolate birthday cake that Lola II baked the day before. And jars of homemade (by Mr M) plum jam and grape jam. I couldn't have asked for better presents.

On Sunday I'd arranged for a group of friends to meet in The Regent's Park, near the bandstand in case it rained, but it didn't and everyone came and we had a lovely picnic. I found out some fascinating insider political facts by grilling my friend who works at the Home Office unmercifully about Teresa May, Amber Rudd, Boris, Brexit, the last general election, the next general election and anything else I could think of. I don't see him very often and I have to say he delivered quality information. There was also a brief conversation about another skiing holiday. Yay!!

My birthday was also celebrated at work on Monday where we routinely give each other a card and a cake and some flowers. On returning home my sleep patterns have reverted to regular insomnia again, so on my usual day off on Tuesday I was determined to sort out some of the LTRP issues that have been on my mind. It took three hours to get to the bottom of my options for hob, dishwasher, ovens and taps, and another hour to consider floors and other matters relating to the overall project.

I went out for a walk in Kenilworth with my ex-team leader, on the same day as the interviews for her replacement. Her job was in the midst of a team which is entirely dysfunctional and everyone in it is trying to find work elsewhere. None of the applicants was appointed, not that it makes much difference to me as I wasn't really being managed before either. The reason given to one internal candidate was that she lacked management experience, which makes me believe I may well have been successful if I'd applied for the job. But although I have management experience I know that I am not a good manager, and I am trying to make my life less complicated and coast down the slope towards retirement. I get entirely enough responsibility and leeway for service improvement in my current job, and the extra money would not make up for the stress and unpleasantness of the team leader post.

Castle ruins in the distance
Kenilworth Castle, August 2017


  1. I'm always interested in hearing about Mr M and if life was fair his name would be in larger letters on the labels panel. However I'm sure he wouldn't have given you something as practical as a toothbrush cover ... He usually focuses on things like exciting wrapping paper.

    1. It's funny you should mention the wrapping paper, Anonymous, because it was from Frozen and that is one of our most favourite films. It's just the sort of thing Mr M would choose, but to be fair, so is the toothbrush cover.


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