Posted by: lucylastic | November 16, 2007

It’s your birthday!!!

Is there a person alive who doesn’t thrill to the sight of a frosty morning?  The ice laden, sparkling trees and fields, glinting in early morning sun against the back-drop of a bright blue sky make me happy to be alive!  Yes it’s a bit cold, but we are so lucky to have these days as a regular feature of our winter.  A colleague of mine is over from Moscow, where it’s already snowing and the expected ‘high’ temperature for the day is -6 degrees centigrade!  Coupled with a biting wind, it already feels like -12 apparently and the conditions were sufficiently bad to delay her flight over to UK by 5 hours.  Not fun!

The weekend is upon us again and I am making preparations to celebrate my son’s 16th birthday – it seems that teenagers can’t be bothered very much these days with things as boring as birthdays, and my invitation to foot the bill for taking some pals out to dinner, or even, against my better judgement, the offer of a house party were both rejected.  A grudging, ‘I don’t mind going out for dinner, I just don’t want to invite anyone else’ means that we are set to hit a local Italian establishment ‘en famille’ on Saturday evening – but it will hardly be riotous.  My own memories of reaching 16th are still vivid – it was the late 1970’s, (1978 to be precise) and I had recently left school – about to embark on a glittering career as a Marketing Assistant at Unilever – and feeling like I had to make the most of everything before settling down to the world of ‘real work’.  My very best friend, (who could always be relied on to lead me astray – at least according to my parents) and a few other pals were invited for ‘tea’ at my parent’s house before we went, (they thought) to the cinema.  We had grapefruit to start, sprinkled with a little sugar and topped with a glace cherry – the height of sophistication!  For our main course, my mother cooked steak and chips – an unheard of luxury and served very, very well done.  A dessert of meringue nests, filled with strawberries and raspberries and topped with cream was followed by a home-made birthday cake – which was gorgeous, but I am ashamed to say I was embarrassed by, thinking, (as many seemed to in those days) that ‘home-made’ was in some way inferior to ‘shop-bought’.  Incidentally, my mother, who is a great cook and baker always made a point of buying our Christmas cake from ‘Sayers – the family Bakers’, a chain I don’t think exists any more – and it was considered an absolute treat!!!!  These days, I set great store by making my own Christmas Cake, right down to making my own marzipan, (though it’s a huge faff and I am increasingly tempted to buy it ready made).  No wine was served, wine wasn’t something that ever appeared in our house except at Christmas, (and anyway, I was only 16) and we rounded it off with a nice cup of tea – all served from my mother’s best Wedgwood dinner service.  

Of course, being 16 year olds, we headed out of the front door without a backward glance, or indeed a helping hand with the washing up – I squirm at how selfish I was.  Anyway, instead of making for the cinema, we headed to a local hostelry and spent the first 10 minutes in the ‘Ladies’ slapping on make-up in the vain hope of looking as though we might be 18.  No one challenged us and we enjoyed several beverages – cider for me I think – before rolling home at 10.30pm and only being sick once in the bushes.  Happy Days!!!

So Ed, if you’re reading this – it’s been done before………….over and over again.  Youth is indeed wasted on the young.



  1. Too funny Lucy and all too familiar! Yes shop bought cake was a rare luxury…we were always moaning about “not home made.” Down in Plymouth our birthday cakes always came from Goodbody’s, until the time they sent me a cake for a boy by mistake!

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