It was Jason’s fortieth birthday on Friday.
He mostly hates birthdays. He particularly hates big birthdays.
The children could not understand why he wasn’t whooping about with glee at the thought of having lots of lovely things to eat and buckets of presents. To be honest, as ageing is inevitable and the only way you can opt out of it is pretty brutal and mostly the reason people fear ageing anyway, having a day when you can justify eating lots of nice food and receiving lots of lovely presents seems a bit of a no brainer to me.
But then I’m not him. Which is good. Or our marriage would be even weirder than it is already.
I decided to carry on regardless but just not mention any birthday related things to him, because if nothing else, me and the children would get to eat nice food, which is always a bonus.
Friday was spent baking a pavlova, which was his dessert of choice, a chocolate ganache Malteser cake because if there isn’t a cake with candles it isn’t a proper birthday – and the cake’s allure would be stronger for the children than the pavlova’s. I decorated the cake with eight dinosaur candles, which pleased me rather. I like to think of it as a slightly ironic sub text. I also made flapjack, because it is one of Jason’s favourites.
I don’t make flapjack very often. Years and years ago I used to make it all the time. I never used a recipe, and it always turned out splendidly. After several years of not making it at all, I decided I needed a recipe for it, and have never made a decent flapjack since. My flapjack has always turned out crumbly and falling to bits ish.
On Friday I found a Jo Wheatley recipe which had apricots and cranberries in. I was not convinced about the fruit content, and I knew Jason and the children would be horrified, so I simply left that out and made the basic flapjack mix. It worked a treat.
Although realising that I had put an entire block of butter, several hundred grams of sugar and ditto grams of golden syrup in the mix did make even me think; ‘woah!’ Slightly unhealthy. It has, despite its heart attack inducing qualities gone down a treat with everyone who has passed through, and the whole thing stayed together beautifully.
The actual birthday meal consisted of rump steak and home made chips with a token plate of salad, followed by gargantuan amounts of dessert. We sang, and hip hip hoorayed, and were all obliged to push our chairs out to let our considerable dinners go down.
Despite his initial grumpiness, the food did put Jason in a much mellower mood, and presents were received with suitable amounts of pleasure, which is good as the children were all rather pleased with their offerings, and had made home made cards which had taken them several hours of artistic endeavours. It is quite lovely that they are all getting to an age where they really think about what the gift recipient might want, rather than what they themselves might want. There is much less of that steeling of the facial features required before ripping through wrapping paper.
All in all, a good day, and in two weekends time we are off to Harrogate for the weekend without the children, to complete the birthday enjoyment. We have a suite booked at the Hotel du Vin, which we have visited before, and love. We have no other plans than to stuff our faces, and visit Bettys’ for the purposes of cake satisfaction. I suspect there will be lolling. There might be gin, and there will undoubtedly be uninterrupted sleeping. Which is all pretty perfect.