Phew! What a whirlwind of a time it’s been! I feel as if I haven’t had a chance even to sit down, let alone the luxury to sit down and blog. So, this morning, I decided that if there was any niggly little job I had to do, I would simply chuck it in the fuck it bucket for a while. I am now sitting at my desk with a large cup of coffee and a cheeky Twix. It’s blogging time!
So, what have you been up to? I hear you cry. Well, as many of you who are regular readers of my humble missives, I had a milestone birthday. At the end of July, I turned 40! I know. I can barely believe it myself. I still feel as if I am 21, so the realisation – whilst getting my tattoos – that I was old enough to be the tattoo artist’s mum, came as something of a shock!
I had the most wonderful birthday, thanks to my gorgeous husband who I truly do not deserve. Prior to my birthday, we had agreed that my tattoos were to be my gift. Therefore, imagine my surprise on the morning of my birthday when he gave me a stunning pair of silver cat earrings, a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a gorgeous silver, gold and diamond bracelet. I felt utterly spoiled. We spent the day in Den Haag, in the Netherlands, where we visited the Louwman Museum. Here, I threw caution to the wind, ignored the numerous signs saying “Do Not Touch”, and leaned over to touch Elvis Presley’s Cadillac.
In the evening, I was taken for drinks and dinner in Breda, the Netherlands, and then it was home for a tad too much alcohol! Oops!
The following day was spent relaxing, but then the day after, I was whisked away to Brussels for another day of treats and sightseeing. It was all truly wonderful. Little did I know, however, that the best was yet to come. My husband had told me on the day of my birthday that he had ordered another gift for me, but that I would have to wait until the shop called him to let him know that it was in. Naturally I didn’t mind waiting, especially since I wasn’t supposed to get anything else anyway.
For around three weeks leading up to my birthday, my husband had been insistent that we finally get around to doing all the redecorating and minor renovation jobs that we had consistently been putting off. We redecorated the lounge, replaced some cupboard doors in the kitchen, made changes to the garden, cleaned the outside of the house including all the guttering and under the eaves, together with a multitude of other jobs too numerous and too boring to list here. While I was safe in the belief that my husband had merely been instilled with a we-must-get-these-jobs-done attitude, unbeknownst to me, he had a sneaky, ulterior motive.
Three days after my birthday, he told me that the shop with which he had ordered my other gift had called him to say it had arrived. “We’ll go into Antwerp to get it this afternoon.” he said, casually. A few hours later, we drove to Antwerp in the pouring rain, parked up and walked to the centre. He looked around for a while, and then, taking my hand, led me to a bar. “This isn’t a shop” I thought to myself, but before I could ask just what on earth was going on, he pointed to a table at the end of the bar. There was my family! My mum and dad (I didn’t even know they had a passport!), my sister and her husband, my niece and her two children. As we all hugged and laughed, my husband said, “I hadn’t ordered anything from a shop. I just ordered your family from England.” I could have cried! Well, I did cry…just a little.
Suddenly, all the redecoration and renovation made sense! It was the first time that my mum and dad had both been physically well enough to travel abroad, and therefore, the first time – in the 18 years that I’ve lived in Belgium – that they would see where we live. My husband had decided that, even though he knew they are we’ll-take-you-as-we-find-you kind of people, he wanted everything to ship shape and perfect. God! I love that man!
And now, my birthday celebrations are over and it’s back to reality. Not that I’m complaining. Celebrating is thoroughly wonderful, but – perhaps this is a sign that I am getting older – it’s exhausting!
PS. If any of you lovely people are interested, head on over to my Photography page where you will find more of my…well, more of my photography!