Even usual things seem extra special on one’s birthday don’t you think? Dizzy licks me awake as my phone tinkles with the first of many friendly messages. An early morning stroll along the road with moon setting and red sun just rising is a good, familiar start. When neighbours stop with birthday hugs, Jessica sends me the word “brilliant” as a gift, and there are plenty of grins and cuddles in the farmyard, I know it is going to be a good day. One of my favourite quotes is scribbled on the blackboard at the barn:
Cape Parrots swirl overhead as usual, but a couple break off and swoop low over my cottage, then loop back and circle around as I potter in the garden. They are greeting ME, aren’t they? Of course, they are. I read aloud to myself from one of my favourite books.
It’s a classic sunny mid-winter day – red hot pokers glow orange, carpenter bees buzz around the purple Hypoestes and there are lots of little white butterflies about. I have invited some friends to stop working for the afternoon and relax with me.
I pack the laziest picnic ever – no cooking, just deli and Woolies staples – and we wander up to the dam.
We float on the raft. mmmm… This is nice. The water is freezing so skinny dipping is avoided.
Champagne chills in a bag slung in the water. Until we need another cold bottle and pop it.
But there is scientific evidence apparently (Judy’s private school education) that rafts on dams head for the shade – so frantic manoeuvres are needed to keep us in the sunshine.
Penny knows that all you need is a little skilled paddling and a sense of humour. Particularly useful when you have just become a grandmother-to-be.
We have no plates (I am NOT doing washing up on my birthday). It’s a tupperware party!
We gossip and giggle and blow bushman bubbles. Jackal buzzards float past. Tractors trundle over the dam wall. There are Reedbuck on the horizon.
Dizzy eats lots of camembert, goat’s cheese and artisan bread but keeps hoping for more.
The sun sets, the parrots come home to roost squawking loudly, Dizzy thinks it is time for a real walk, my phone is still relaying happy messages: Imin emnandi kuwe siyakuthanda Nikki! I am the luckiest 52 year old on the planet – no question.