Enough food for three different picnics

My many 31st birthdays

The only time I can claim my public transport use is essential
The only time I can claim my public transport use is essential

I know we’re all struggling with dates and times right now, so let me try a new one out on you: we’ve now been in lockdown long enough for me to go through a whole cycle of blood donation. This means that today I enjoyed another brief foray onto the Victoria line and reassured myself that it’s still there and Tube trains are still running. Hurray!

In truth, it’s been a little easier to remember where we are on the calendar this weekend because it was my birthday on Friday so I’ve been enjoying a three-day weekend of many amazing birthday surprises and activities which Randi put together. Honestly, it feels like I’ve had several birthdays in one so I might have reached my mid-thirties by now.

As you can see, we kicked off with a very disco-inspired redecoration of the living room…

New balloons! Although I'm pretty proud that many of the balloons from Randi's birthday are still alive too.
New balloons! Although I’m pretty proud that many of the balloons from Randi’s birthday are still alive too.
My defence for the pig's intactness is that I didn't want to smash up their shed
My defence for the pig’s intactness is that I didn’t want to smash up their shed

After opening presents – and sampling Randi’s incredible homemade lemon drizzle cake – we walked to Crystal Palace Park for a delicious lunch from the café and shared outdoor beers with Randi’s colleague Sam. After a quick pit stop we then took a much shorter mystery surprise walk halfway up the road to Amy and Adam for another wonderful evening around their firepit, complete with gin, party poppers and – naturally – a pigata filled with chocolate.

For dinner we ordered from Amy’s childhood Indian takeaway with whom she has obtained a special exemption for a slightly expanded delivery zone which is exactly the kind of dedication I most admire. I’m very grateful to both Sam and Amy and Adam for adopting my birthday into their plans!

The biggest surprise came the next day, when our picnic with Katie & Kim in equidistant Burgess Park turned into a giant spread of food with mum, Tash and Cormac driving over to join. This is the first time the family has been all together since lockdown started and it was just really lovely to see each other again, especially while playing Throw Throw Burrito (board game present courtesy of Tash) which – as the name suggests – involves throwing, dodging and catching two very cute burritos.

Birthday picnic!
Birthday picnic!
Randi looking pleased that all of her masterminding paid off
Randi looking pleased that all of her masterminding paid off
The anxious build-up to a burrito duel
The anxious build-up to a burrito duel
Pursued by Tash
Pursued by Tash
Later we settled into a gentler game
Later we settled into a gentler game
Enough food for three different picnics
Enough food for three different picnics
Birthday Zoom
Birthday Zoom

For a final surprise, that evening we chatted with the dream team of Dietzs, Toggolyn & Nolan (who inhabited the most comfortable and relaxed lockdown video conference chair I have seen yet). It was very special to catch up together and makes up a little for the disappointment of not getting to Chicago in April.

A quick non-birthday lockdown update:

Playing: Dominion! We played a virtual game with Katie and Kim last weekend using physical cards and it worked surprisingly well. Since then, Randi’s birthday gift of an engraved Mark II of my giant, adored wooden Dominion box (the original now having found new adoptive parents in Chicago) has rekindled my desire to keep playing again.

Snacking: Cheezels! Our top snack discovery from travelling, now available in our cupboard thanks to specialist importers and a very exciting delivery:

Cheezels: like circular Wotsits, but better
Cheezels: like circular Wotsits, but better

Listening: Katie has opened my eyes to the incredible underground world of YouTube 80s remixes, complete with garish colours, terrible fonts and tracking control problems. The best is Dua Lipa’s New Rules. In the 2020s it’s a passable, immediately forgettable pop song. In the 1980s it’s incredible.

Watching: Pixar’s Onward, which achieved the very rare feat of being an animated film which Randi was actively excited to watch. Not a classic but decently tear-jerking nonetheless.

Time Travelling: I distinctly remember exactly the same concept as Back In Time For the Weekend airing on BBC Four a few years ago, but the conceit bears repeating: stick a family in the 1950s and advance them to the 21st century one year each day. Along the way you’ll laugh (why did wallpaper get so ugly?), you’ll cry (why have today’s teenagers no respect for the dial-up internet tone?) and you’ll want your own Sinclair C5. Technically aired in 2016, but as discussed all time is meaningless now.

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One Comment on :
My many 31st birthdays

  1. Amanda M Schalk says:

    Oh I’m so glad you had such a lovely birthday!!! Looks like a ton of fun and the decorations both indoors and out were marvelous. Too bad there wasn’t a video of the Burrito duel game thing. Looks like something to be seen.

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