Soixante -neuf. I see you internally giggle. But don’t. Yesterday was my sixty-ninth birthday. The beginning of my seventieth year. My three score and ten is almost up.
This was brought home to me recently when I opened an official looking envelope which contained the message that my life insurance payments would soon cease as would the possibility of any large payout in the event of my death.
What a shock. This was a fixed term policy taken out many years ago when we were applying for a mortgage and I didn’t often give it any thought, only that should anything happen to me (what a euphemism) then my children would get a little windfall. The mortgage was paid off long ago but the direct debit continued. Nothing to look forward to now, though.
So here I am, contemplating my future entering official old age!
Nothing happened, ever, but when after many years I went back it was pleasant to reminisce. The decor now is more knowingly bohemian, channelling its past with posters etc of the popstars who performed here. (It was always a music venue and still is, though the poetry has gone.)
So the celebrations began. On Friday I went for a lovely nostalgic lunch to The Troubadour in Earls Court with a close friend. The restaurant/cafe was very bohemian and wild when I was a teenager – I used to go for poetry readings in the cellar- it was very exciting with lots of hippy long haired youths spouting eagerly to an eager audience of innocent girls, subconsciously – or perhaps even consciously- hoping for some excitement in their lives. I know that my parents disapproved and that was enough for me!
There was a girl tapping away at her computer at the next table and somehow we got into conversation and she was writing a history oh the Troubadour. I told her my little story and she asked if I had any photos!! Unfortunately we didn’t document everything so assiduously in those days.
We had a nice meal and went for a walk towards the charity shops of South Kensington. So far, so predictable. It’s what I like to do. And my birthday is no exception
In the evening I went to dinner with my husband and we had a lovely evening – though what I had ordered turned out to be inedible. Thankfully the manager noticed and exchanged it. Embarrassing though!
But now that I’ve reached my ripe old age I have become more assertive. We were sitting in a corner of the restaurant, which was quite crowded but not unbearably so. There was quite a large group of diners at the other end. Quite noisily having a good time, but all nicely sitting in their seats – at least while they were eating. And drinking.
We were still finishing our meal when two of that party decided they wanted a private chat and came and stood a foot away from our table, pints of beer in their hands. And proceeded to talk very loudly just above us. Very irritating and unpleasant. We didn’t want to be part of their conversation.
I don’t know what came over me but I suddenly got up and asked them to go back to their side of the restaurant as I couldn’t hear myself speak, but could hear every word they were saying.
They looked astounded, made fun of my hoity-toity voice but they moved. Job done. Success.
Then yesterday, my actual birthday, the celebrations continued. Not quite as planned though.
I had been asked to read some Polish classical poetry by Adam Mickiewicz at an event promoted by the Embassy and the Polish library, which I was really looking forward to. I was quite nervous, as I have only once before read Polish in public, but I like the sound of my own voice, so I thought I’d give it a go. (The day before my husband actually read the poem to me, and he was mesmerising, much to my surprise. He really should have been asked to do it. But I digress)
But in the morning I got a message that the event was cancelled because of the demise of the Queen. Now, I was very saddened by her death, but I don’t quite see why everything should stop. I would have thought that we could have acknowledged her passing very fittingly in public. But it was not to be!
So we went for a small family lunch – I haven’t yet said that I am actually looking forward to a big celebration next week which my youngest daughter and her husband are hosting in their little house. They had to go to a wedding in Tuscany this weekend so couldn’t be with me.. I am one very lucky person.
Anyway after lunch I went with my son to see the Africa fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Not the best exhibition in the world, though it had some interesting textiles, But too crowded, somehow.
The shop didn’t disappoint – they had some pungent soaps.
Not quite my style though!
I had a lovely day – different!