Today is a perfectly ordinary day other than the fact it is the day when I celebrate my first half century on this planet.  I hope for many more years to come but I am grateful for those that I have already had.  I am a very fortunate and happy lady.  Some of the wonderful things I have experienced:

  • seeing something I have planted and nutured grow and bloom
  • meeting my three daughters for the first time
  • crying in despair and wiping my eyes and realising I can still laugh and smile
  • the smell of a warm, slightly damp dog
  • a family, oddly shaped, but a family nonetheless
  • opening my stocking and knowing that Father Christmas had been in my room whilst I slept
  • the gentle touch of my husband
  • a wonderful roof over my head
  • the chance to live in another culture
  • the burning passion to set things right
  • an education
  • friendships of all shapes and sizes
  • glamour when I was just old enough to understand and young enough not to care
  • freedom of expression
  • Caithness and Sutherland
  • belief in tomorrow
  • big blowsey garden parties that go on forever and where children sleep where they fall
  • seeing dreams, both large and small, come to fruition
  • being a stay at home mummy
  • writing a book
  • summers in North Dakota

I could go on and on, but you get my drift.  My life is not necessarily what I expected but it is all the richer for that.  In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway bet ten dollars that he could write a complete story in just six words. He wrote: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  He won the bet.  An American online magazine asked its readers to write their lifestory in six words.  You will find mine at the bottom of the page here. 

So to celebrate those fifty wonderful years I have invited 14 friends to dinner on Saturday.  As it is my birthday I shall not be cooking, the food will be provided by the supremely talented Andy at Papaya.  However, I do need to decorate the table and so forth and fully intend to do so without buying a single thing.

The before, I have started to put a few of the glass jars out but most of them are soaking to get them all nice and sparkly!


I can’t show you the after as I haven’t done it yet!  However I am thinking garden flowers and greenery in the various sized glass jars.



We have lots of 2 and 3 candles silver candlelabras but I am prefering  glass jars and bottles with candles and tea lights.  The lavendar is still doing beautifully so that is going to feature heavily and I have decided to starch the damask napkins so that I can be creative with the folding (more flowers there I think too).   I have plenty of empty tin cans of various sizes from small to vast and ribbon and flowers will be going on there as well.  Chair covers are in the wash but I am not hugely fond of them, they are too dark.  Not sure I can rustle up 16 made to measure covers in  2 days so am going to have to think a bit there.

We have plenty of crockery and cutlery.  However,  a recent rash of slippery fingers has reduced our large glassware somewhat so that i have had to buy.  Ebay has been a godsend.  Crystal glasses go for very little.  I have stuck to a shape and mixed and matched.  Wonderful bargains and beautiful glasses that will give pleasure for years to come (so long as the slippery fingers don’t get them).




On of our new glasses, full of course, next to my favourite Inuit bear.

After photograph on Saturday.  This is my dry run for Christmas.  No buy parties.



15 thoughts on “celebration

  1. Happy birthday! (again). And another chance for me to adore, from afar, your gorgeous table – which is surely the Most Perfect table for a dinner gathering… it conjures up a rustic feast of suckling pig, with daggers as the only cutlery, but I suspect that may be a step too far in the minimizing game.

    I like the notion of flowers and such in ancient bottles – I have an old French coffee pot here on my desk right now, stuffed full of purple daisy-like blooms. I do like flowers in unexpected containers.

    Summing one’s life up in six words… hmm, that’d take more thought than I’m capable of after a long day’s work, but I enjoyed reading the list – yours is great 😉

    And that lovely list of things for which you are grateful. I’d hazard a guess that your daughters and Stuart are pretty grateful for you too, and all you bring to their lives. I would say I’d stake my next invoice on it, but I just remembered Stuart’s Scottish roots…

    Have a wonderful celebration, you deserve it! xx

  2. A most happy birthday to you!!! What a wonderful list you made and, as you said, you could certainly have kept on going. Its such a good thing to stop and reflect on all the accomplishements and blessings!

    And summers in North Dakota, huh? I spent so, so much time there in my youth. Do you have family there or something?

    1. Long story, I’ll blog it one day. In short post National Service my father and his friend met five American girls in Rome just after the war. They were on their way to the UK so my father sent them to his mother. When my mother went to Colombia to do her post grad she spent her holidays with Claire in ND. Claire’s children all stayed with us when they came to Europe and then whilst my parents were living in the States I spent my summers in ND rather than go to summer camp. Claire sadly died earlier this year, she and my father never met again after Rome! However we children all still keep in touch and I hope that perhaps the grandchildren with keep the tradition going. The farm is gone (much of it underwater from Devils Lake now) and I suspect the wonderful freedom to roam on horseback all day and build camps in the barns is gone too (and the fun of listening in on the party phone line!) But they are firm memories I treasure.

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