Last year I instituted the Three Day Birthday (partly because I wanted to open a present on the 9th). This year I went for broke and had a Four Day Birthday. I had most of my cards and presents on the 10th, as expected, but I also had some arrive on the 11th and 12th.
On the 13th, we had tickets to go to the theatre in Durham to see Tony Robinson's one-man show. I was really looking forward to this, although I hadn't been out of the house since October (in fact this was one of the reasons I was looking forward to it). All of the preparations went off without a hitch; taxi turned up on time, carer came in plenty of time to get me dressed, etc. The problem came when I hauled myself out of the door and into my wheelchair, where I promptly had a 15 minute panic attack. [Ed: In the rain.]
Still, once they loaded me onto the taxi, and I got there, I had a really good time. Tony Robinson performed both halves himself, with the aid of a screen behind him for showing photographs and bits of film. It was more or less about his life as an actor, but also explained his lifelong interest in championing the ordinary people in history.
The first part of the second half was a question and answer section, and included him getting some poor unsuspecting chap called Walker up on stage to act out the job his ancestors would have done. This originally involved stomping in a tub full of wool, fullers earth, and urine for many hours a day in order to felt the material. Aren't you grateful for washing machines and old pairs of jeans?
We also got a chance to speak to him at the end. There are benefits to being in a wheelchair, and queue-jumping is one of them :) I have to come in and out through the stage door in order for the taxi to pull up next to the building, so the Stage Manager always comes to find me at the end of the night to let us through the keycode doors. I used this information to persuade the lady who was looking after Tony and his book signees, to let me sneak in ahead of the next person in the queue. He was very sweet, and was delighted to hear that I remember seeing him in 1977 in Chichester Festival Theatre, playing a character called Everypeasant, who was not too dissimilar to Baldrick!
I did really well for presents this year, too. I got:
- 7 books, including "The Friday Night Knitting Club" and "The Knitting Answer Book".
- A gizmo for holding my book open while I'm reading it.
- A couple of bookmarks. (Are we sensing a theme here?)
- A very pretty silver necklace that I wore on my night out.
- A huge gingerbread-scented candle.
- Belgian chocolate cakes.
- And three (count 'em: three) Pulp CDs from Richard because he is wonderful and knows how to read my Amazon wishlist; although he did wrap each CD in paper, then cling-film, then two together in paper then cling-film, then the three together in paper then cling-film, then a padded envelope, but he wouldn't be him if he wasn't daft...
Tigger says, "It's my birthday soon. Don't forget it's my birthday soon. My Birthday. It's soon."