It turns out that the first 10 minutes are spent distributing presents. My father brought presents for his grandchildren whilst on holiday in Ireland a couple of weeks ago. My sister brought some Turkish Delight back from a holiday in Crete (I thought the Greek/Turkish relationship was acrimonious: clearly not when it comes to sweets). I distributed gifts for my father (birthday coming up), my nephew (principal guest of honour!) and my brother-in-law (birthday last week). I was rather shocked to be given presents myself. My birthday last weekend had been singularly uneventful, overwhelmed by loads of washing after a week's holiday and a five-year-old's birthday party, so I'd completely forgotten that my family might remember.
No2 child managed to knock an entire glass of Fanta onto the floor, shattering into a million pieces. It's always her! She has an innate capacity to be a bit clumsy, falling, knocking things over. Then she looks both horrified and so cute that we all melt and forgive her. Again. Broad grin returns and she's back to her bubbly self and quite prone to repeating the experience.
Still, birthdays mean the book collection is growing. I now have a tale of murder in Florence, a book about how to write a book, a book about miracles of faith and another about how to be a praying wife. So I'm reading Nigel Slater's "Toast" and vicariously reliving bits of my childhood.
Travels were totally uneventful. We did end the day with an hour in the National Railway Museum. Complete heaven for No1 child. He walked into the Great Hall and said 'Wow!' as he was faced with dozens of huge steam trains. We wandered around, marvelling at these extraordinary machines ... then tried to dodge the gift shop, where he found more ways for me to drift towards poverty. "We're travelling by train," I try to pacify him with. I ought to know better.