Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Birthday Blogpost

It happens every year. I can't pretend that I'm not expecting it, because the date is consistent - but as the years pass, it seems to approach more rapidly than ever.

I speak of the anniversary of my birth, and my increasing incredulity that I can be, as one of my small friends put it, such an 'old lady' when I still feel about 26 on the inside. It's a shock, sometimes, to realise that my younger son is, currently that age.

Cake, at least in our culture, is usually a mark of a birthday. And since our closest friends in Cyprus were due here Sunday afternoon, I decided to bake a chocolate fudge cake a day early, so as to share the feast with them. I used a slightly runny icing and then decorated it with seasonal strawberries, and some American style chocolate chips which some visitors had given us last summer:

Nobody doubts my ability to bake and even decorate a cake, so long as nothing artistic is required. But in general I am not permitted by my family to cut a cake, particularly not with our large and rather sharp knife. However, given my advancing years, Richard and Tim felt that perhaps - with supervision - I should be allowed to try:

After all, as Tim kindly pointed out, it might not be many years before my hands become too shaky to use a sharp knife...

I succeeded in dividing the cake into twelve reasonably even pieces, without cutting myself at all. Pieces were passed around the table, served with fresh fruit salad which I had also made earlier in the day:

Katie enjoyed hers very much:

We didn't have anything much planned for the following day, which was the actual birthday. So I got up early and read for a while, as usual, and did my normal Monday blitz around to dust/vacuum/mop the house before Richard got up. Then I opened some presents: books, DVDs and some fruity teas from Richard and two of my siblings who passed their gifts to me when we saw them back in February.

Richard was working in the morning, so I pottered a while, read email, caught up on Facebook - including about thirty 'Happy birthday' messages which I responded to briefly - and a few other things on the computer.

Since there were ten people present for Sunday evening, there were two pieces of cake left for us to eat after lunch. Afterwards we went out to the PO Box where I found three packages awaiting, one of which was addressed to Tim. The other contained some books from another of my siblings.

I'd also wanted to buy a few flowering plants to put in the planters outside my study window, so we visited a plant shop too to spend a little of the birthday money I've been given. I thought I'd branch out from my usual petunias and geraniums, although I've no idea what I actually bought.

I planted them out soon after we got back.  There are two of this pretty purple thing:

and two of each of these plants:

Our Christmas poinsettia is still looking reasonably good, but with both Easters (Western and Eastern) past, and the weather warming up, I decided it was time to move it from the living room to the outside planter:

Then I couldn't resist a few more geraniums and a couple of petunias, as they do so very well in Cyprus. Most of them will go downstairs on the outside patio area:

Tim arrived about 6pm, tired after his first day back at work after the Easter break. The parcel addressed to him was in fact his present to me, which was a new and smart-looking chocolate-coloured case for my Kindle, as my old case had almost disintegrated.

And since I'm often asked exactly what my gifts were, here they are in collage form:

I had already decanted two of the boxes of fruity tea into jars and cut out the box fronts to label them before I thought of taking a photo. I've tried them both already, and they are extremely good.

Richard had asked if I'd like to go out for a meal in the evening, but we've been out to eat at restaurants four times in the past six weeks and I couldn't think of anything I particularly wanted to eat at a restaurant. About four times a year is more normal for us.

So I decided to make my current favourite meal of spanopitta, and just have Tim over to dinner. He then mentioned that he still had some pecans left from his last trip to the UK, and they needed to be used.. so he would bring a pecan pie for dessert. I wasn't entirely sure whether a pie following a pie would be a good idea, but was quite prepared to try.

Spanopitta isn't difficult, now I've realised that it's not necessary to cook the chopped onions before mixing them into the feta and hard goat's cheeses, along with eggs and spinach, but I wasn't sure if we'd eat more than one - and liked the idea of having some extra to freeze for a future meal - so I made two:

.. served with two of my favourite vegetables: roasted tomatoes with basil and garlic, and baked mushrooms:

I'd thought about doing some other veg, but didn't want us to be too full before the dessert, which looked good and tasted delicious:

We had played Settlers of Catan on Sunday afternoon, and we were all tired, so I suggested we play 'Kingdom Builder', a game that Tim bought us for Christmas, but which we haven't played very often. I like it very much; it's not too demanding, and doesn't take more than about half an hour. We played a couple of rounds:

However by about 8.30pm Tim was yawning after his early start (he has to get up at 6.00am in term time) so he went home, and I went back to my computer to find yet more birthday greetings on Facebook. By 9.30 I was almost asleep myself, so I went up to read in bed.

Having stretched out the celebration over two days, I thought that would be the end of it. Then this afternoon I had a message that it was a good time to phone Daniel, Becky and David who are at present on the Logos Hope in Malaysia. After several failed attempts, we got through on a reasonable line via the UK and USA, and I was wished Happy Birthday yet again. We chatted for about forty-five minutes, and were pleased to discover, on hanging up, that it had cost us the vast total of about 40 pence (sterling).


Suzanne said...

Thanks Sue for the update....enjoyed it! I remember the year you went to the Troodos Mts for your birthday. Such good memories.

Hard to believe Tim is 26....he was very mature at 16....
Our youngest grandson, Liam, turns 12 in 2016. His older siblings, Emma and Aiden.....are telling him next year is his year to go to Cyprus! Such a great opportunity for all of us, the two summers we were able to visit. Not sure what we will do for Liam but I doubt it will be Cyprus.
Our oldest grandson who is 24 now got a white water rafting/camping trip when he was 12. Special times for us..
Trusting this year will be special to you and yours!

Linda said...

What a beautiful cake! Lovely series of photos.