Manchester England, England

After an eventful 5 days in France, Helios and I had two days at home before taking another trip, this time up to Manchester.

What a wonderful weekend!  The train wasn’t too busy: we got a seat on the train to London and made good time to Euston to catch our connecting train to Manchester.  We caught the tram from Manchester Piccadilly to the stadium of our favourite English Football team – Manchester United.  OK, I’m sure a lot of you girls have just zoned out but I’ve always been a fan of sports and very much enjoyed the tour, the museum and the view from our hotel room (towards the stadium).

When I initially booked the weekend, the Man U v Chelsea game was scheduled for Saturday.  Unfortunately due to other game commitments, the game was moved to Sunday and we had to find something else to do instead.  Lucky for us, the Imperial War Museum (North) was about 10 minutes’ walk from our hotel.  In case you don’t know, I’m a real history freak so I rubbed my hands together at the prospect of boring Helios for a few hours.  The great things about IWM (North) were – 1) entry is free and 2) there was a slide/photo exhibition which started when all the lights went down.  It was slightly disconcerting: Helios said that he half expected to encounter someone with a gun around the corner!  Then the slide show started over all the walls which included children narrating their experiences of war.  It was a sad but moving experience.  We are very lucky!

Saturday afternoon was spent at the local outlet mall – just a few minutes from IWM (North) and our hotel.  We bought a pair of jeans for me and a sweatshirt for Helios in Gap as everything was half price.  We also bought a couple of waterproof jackets in another shop – also half price.

We had dinner both nights at Frankie & Benny’s – mainly due to the £5 off vouchers Helios downloaded on his mobile.  We had a glass of wine the first evening and we toasted to our birthdays (as the Man U stadium tour was a birthday present to Helios some months ago).

Work so far this week has been a bit surreal.  I feel as though I’ve been away for years rather than just over a week.  I expect it was mainly because we did so much while we were away!

On a personal note, I’m too bloated to be believed at the moment.  I’m contemplating giving myself another period but want to put it off as long as I can just to avoid the usual pain.  Would you rather feel fat or pain?

I’m off to bed.  Good night all!


Le Renard

Helios and I went to Paris via EuroStar on Friday 29th April.  Will and Kate were very disappointed that we couldn’t attend their wedding but we just had to let them down – due to our prior engagement.   (!)

I finally finished packing the morning of the wedding.  As we were taking three bags, I tried to squeeze a bottle of champagne into one of the bags.  Helios said “I am NOT carrying champagne to France!”  Shame.  I do like to bring something special to Paris for our friends…

We got to London at 9:00 a.m. local time and somehow managed to avoid many crazies by taking the Jubilee Line to the Northern Line (i.e. staying as east of central London as possible).  We got to St Pancras – me under the weight of one large back pack and Helios under the weight of two after he totally refused the bag with wheels we have.  I was slightly disconcerted by the appearance of a vast number of police at St Pancras but I knew we would be on the train to Paris long before anything untoward would happen.  Luckily for Will and Kate the day went off without anything awful happening (if you don’t count Prince Harry’s attendance) and I didn’t see a moment of the wedding because there are no TVs in St Pancras.  What fantastic luck for me!

We rolled into Paris and headed straight for a shopping mall in my book “Top 10 Paris”.  Helios’s mum was kind enough to send me some Euros for my birthday and I thought it would be nice to pick something in France.  Unfortunately for me Le Bon Marche was full of things that were far too expensive for me to contemplate buying.  The only undergarment that I thought was remotely nice enough to try on, they didn’t have in my size and I told Helios “Clearly French women are too elegant to have a big bosom.”

From there we walked to the Rodin museum.  As the weather was beautiful, I asked for “Deux billets pour le garden – oh er, le jardin, s’il vous plait.”  It was here that we discovered that our camera is still not working properly.  Helios spent a number of minutes turning it on and off trying to turn it on and then trying to turn it off.  Thank God for phone cameras – we do have pics to remember the trip!!  Helios took one of me sat at the pedestal of The Thinker where it looks as though The Thinker is about to crap on my head.   Thanks Helios!

From there we walked to Charlie Birdy (a pub) where we were due to meet E-Wee.  Each time we’ve gone toParis, we’ve met E-Wee there to start the trip off with a drink and a laugh.  This time we had food as well and I think we can highly recommend it for any reader who finds themselves in Paris.

From there we went to E-Wee’s home near Fontainebleau Forest with his gorgeous, elegant and sophisticated wife, C and his beautiful and cheeky Boy.  I’ve known E-Wee and C both for what feels like centuries but is probably only 18 or 19 years.  E-Wee told us what they were planning on doing with us the rest of the weekend and then it was off to bed.

Then it was the usual time with old friends; we talked about everything and anything.  We all took the train the next morning to Paris for lunch at a fantastic bistro.  There we were treated to a luxurious three course meal complete with wine and laughter.  Believe me, when you turn 40, a calm and relaxing day with great friends sounds perfect and this birthday was.  Even The Boy was extremely well behaved: he was delighted with his book of children’s poetry by Shel Silverstein and spent most of the day reading and reading and reading.  Such a good boy!

When we got back home again, C took me shopping for some underwear as there’s not much point in going all that way and not making an effort to find something nice with the Euros Helios’s mum sent.  Thanks to her I found something that both Helios and I like.  Thanks C!

Later, I wound up on the trampoline in the garden.  What a great way to feel like a kid again!  Next thing I know there’s a present on the table for me.  Helios said “Did you really think I would let you open all your birthday presents early?”  It was my favourite champagne: Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque with the beautiful hand-painted bottle.  I insisted that we open it that evening and enjoy it: what’s the point of having champagne and not sharing it?

The next day we went into the forest for a picnic.  It was a lovely time!  Unfortunately when Boy was climbing a tree he found some caterpillars and had an allergic reaction to them.  I hope he’s feeling better!

Unlike most of the rest of Europe, if 1st May doesn’t fall on a weekday, they don’t get the day off work.  C and The Boy therefore went to work and school while E-Wee took Helios and me to a castle in the making: Guédelon where a mad Frenchman decided that it would be a good idea to build a medieval castle using only medieval methods.  It’s a huge place with many artisans – a weaver of baskets, ropemaker, tilemakers, stonemasons, carpenters, a dye specialist complete with sheep and herbs in the garden.  The artisans are dressed in the medieval style and appear to live on site.  There was a sign carved on stone saying “Bienvenue au XIIIe siecle” which means “Welcome to the XIIIth Century”  It’s an amazing place where time seems to have stood still.

The next day we caught the train with E-Wee to Paris and spent a relaxing time lounging around the Jardin des Tuleries and enjoying the sunshine.  OK there are a lot of museums that we could easily have spent the day in but I really didn’t fancy dragging Helios around while we both carried heavy packs.  In the end, we didn’t do much exploring and I was grateful we had plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company.  Helios and I had lunch near La Tuilerie and took the Metro back to Gare du Nord.  I had hoped to sleep on the train but only managed an unsatisfying doze.

I always find the end of a holiday to be a sad affair.  You always know who your good friends are, not just through their generosity but also because every time we get together, it’s as if no time has passed and we talk and laugh as if we’d only seen one another last week.  I miss them already.

Je t’embrasse!


Life in a circular form

For my mother who started the circle turning.

It was 20 years ago today that I turned 20. Twenty was a hard year for me. Firstly my sister’s father died on my 20th Birthday. I think I’m right in remembering that he was only 54. Bowel cancer. Yet another cancer that’s got a lot to answer for… I remember that night well. I was staying as a guest at Mom’s house (My old room was turned into a guest bedroom when I left for university.) when she got the call that he’d gone. Of course it was the middle of the night and my sister was already asleep. I don’t know how but Mom shoved her contact lenses in without hurting herself but she raced to get dressed and dashed out the door. After she left, I stood in my sister’s bedroom doorway, wishing there was a way I could protect her from what would happen to her the next morning. I was helpless in misery. Her life had changed and she didn’t even know it yet. Mom had left me with strict instructions to let my sister sleep so I did. I had classes early the next morning so I left before my sister woke up. I burned at the thought that my sister had lost her father. Wasn’t there something that I could do? There wasn’t. The funeral was moving but I only remember bits of it: photos going into the coffin, the gentle smile of someone who knew him as a friend, and meeting my sister’s paternal sisters. However, my main memory was of standing next to my uncle by the grave; we looked at one another with a strong determination, almost telling one another “We’ll get them through this” while my mom and sister were crying.

Mom came to visit me in my apartment a couple of weeks later. She was obviously still raw with emotion but I had to tell her something important: did she realise that he had died on my 20th birthday? No, and immediately she was shocked. I could see guilt coming to her eyes – which was not the emotion I wanted from her. I told her that he’d had 365 days to choose from to die and he chose my birthday so I thought it must mean something. I expect, knowing her the way he did, he wanted her to have happy memories of that day and be happy for the time that they had together. She could allow herself to be happy on the anniversary of his death because it was also my birthday. He died on my birthday because he wanted her to be happy: and he knew I wouldn’t take it personally. He really was a stunning man and I still miss him.

My useless boyfriend seemed to be of very little help to me at that time. Twenty was the year that I would be rid of him. I left him for a number of reasons: I was keen to have babies while he determined not to, I was discovering my religion (not something I talk about because I consider my relationship with My Maker to be personal and private) while he was determined to make me into an atheist, and he was already taking me for granted even though we’d only been together a couple of years. It was a cocktail that was lethal to the relationship but very good for me as a person: I felt I had the moral high ground when I left him. I felt like a stronger individual. Although it wasn’t easy, it was the right thing to do.

Mom, am I right in thinking that Twenty was also the year I changed majors at university? I started in Elementary Education and moved to European History when I decided that I might go for teaching older students. Once again, it was the new and improved stronger individual that made the decision when I walked into an elementary education maths class and a professor tried to tell me that 2×2 is not 4 – it’s 2 groups of 2. Now, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want to spend my hard-earned money only to discover that 2×2 is not 4! To be sure I was doing the right thing, I sent my CV to the local high school and did some volunteer work for a fantastic teacher. I would have made a great teacher, even she said so. I volunteered for a number of years at the high school and I’m still in contact with that fantastic teacher; although she has moved on to bigger and better things.

Now it’s twenty years after my 20th birthday and I’m still seeing the circular pattern that life has given me: I formulate my ideas; I go forward to implement my ideals and come back to reaffirm my philosophy. Theory into practice into theory again. There are times when practice will change your personal philosophy. Sometimes events reaffirm your beliefs. Some things don’t change: 2×2 still equals 4. The two most important women in my life are my mom and sister. Some things change for the better: I’m on my second marriage and I have two great stepkids. My stepson will be 20 this year – I wonder what life has in store for him? My theory is the circle rolls on…


Dream Diary and Further Plans

Last night’s dream: I was in Morocco on a business/wedding trip.  The hotel I was in was lovely and warm but we didn’t go outside. The floors were white marble.  The walls were a terra cotta colour. There were diaphanous fabrics swinging gently in the doorways.  My skin was getting a healthy glow. Everyone was wearing sumptuous colours, small sandals and everything seemed so much brighter than a winter’s day in England !  I don’t think I met the bride but I was given a number of etiquette lessons in a Muslim country.  For example, when I first meet a Muslim man, I need to bow to the floor and only look at his shoes.  I almost got into serious trouble for looking at someone’s bottom when they bent over!  I seemed to be organising a number of details for the wedding but it didn’t seem taxing.

You can imagine that waking up in England was a slight disappointment after that dream!

I went to the dentist first thing this morning.  It was even closer than I thought it was and I drove there in under 3 minutes.  So I arrived and curled up with Harry Potter on my lap to await my appointment.  Although I was meant to see someone else, a very nice Irishman took me through and looked at my teeth.  He said that I was so good at looking after them that he wouldn’t recommend a hygienist.  “If only all my patients were this good at looking after their teeth,” he said in his lovely Irish accent.  Which reminds me, Helios, if you’re reading this, you need to start flossing as often as I do – no excuses!  Luckily my voice held out for almost the duration of the appointment so I didn’t have to start holding up cards that say “I am not antisocial.  I have laryngitis and am trying not to speak.  Thank you for your patience.”  The best part was, because it’s NHS subsidised, my appointment only cost £16.50 including x-rays (as opposed to £65 for a check up with X-rays at my old private practice dentist)!  I have to say the other reason I’m delighted is that he didn’t try to sell me tooth-whitening.  I don’t mind going somewhere and having necessary work done but when your dentist starts going on and on about things I don’t want or need, I get a bit cross.

When I got to work I didn’t have much in my in tray so I bought the Eurostar tickets to go to France for my 40thbirthday.  When you buy in advance you don’t pay an arm and a leg (£119 each isn’t bad!) and you also get your choice of seat on the train.  I’ve put us at a table for both journeys so we can listen to an audio book together or read a paper in comfort.  Now I’m looking at presents for The Boy and Euros for us.  I’ll probably get 2-3 books that are good for a 7-8 year old.  His mum told me that she has a hard time finding things to read in English and I thought he may have the same problem.

The Boy speaks both English and French fluently thanks to his parents – his dad is American and his mum is French.  They both take great pains to speak both languages around The Boy and, when he was young, the difference was “Mummy’s words” and “Daddy’s words” not “French” and “English”.  Years ago, when we first met him, he only spoke in English to me because he heard my American accent but only spoke to Helios in French because he didn’t recognise Helios’s accent and thought “He must be use Mum’s words.”  Bless him.  He was only two so no matter how many times we tried to explain that Helios didn’t use Mummy’s words, it didn’t quite sink in.  Luckily Helios has the patience of a saint when it comes to Little ones.  I think they enjoyed each other’s company despite the lack of actual communication!  The other funny thing that happened once while we were there (I can’t think it was that first visit so it must have been the second time) was The Boy came up and stroked Helios’s beard.  I was a little funny about it saying “That’s attached!  That hair is attached!” but The Boy wasn’t pulling Helios’s hair – he was stroking it.  Helios said that he expected The Boy hadn’t seen a beard in the flesh before and wanted to know what it felt like.

Helios had been listening to (bad) dance music and was Dad Dancing around the flat last night.  He wasn’t impressed when I poked fun at him.  He said “I am a dad!”  It’s at times like that that I wish I’d met him when we were younger.  Being childless myself makes me feel as though I slept a decade and when I awoke, all my friends had kids and I was left saying “What’d I miss?”  Not only am I still in shock with the fact that my friends have kids (Who’s that again?), but I’ve got a strange drowsy feeling when they talk about their kids too.  I understand what they say about how kids can be like this or that but I don’t know what living with it is like.  Having said that, I don’t want the step-kids to think that I don’t adore them because I do cherish them – but there are times when I wish I’d have had kids with Helios.  I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would say that I still have time but I don’t want babies of my own.  I don’t have the patience for raising children now.

You know, I have more on this post but don’t want to publish it.  I may or may not in due course so I’ll sign off for now.

Take care



Last week

I went out with some friends to have an early birthday celebration Tuesday evening which was very nice for me.  The major mistake I made was having a coffee at the end of the meal which I am sure had caffeine in even though I specifically asked for a decaffeinated.  I knew I was in trouble when the heart palpitations started.  As a result, I was still awake at 2:30am when I finally decided to take a sleeping tablet (Mom, don’t worry I only take them in cases of dire emergency – so far only twice in my life!) and prayed that I would get a little shut-eye before work.

The good thing about going out with friends is coming home to family.  Instead of having a fattening take-away, Helios had a very healthy salad.  I couldn’t help but be impressed.  There was enough left over for me to take as lunch the next day and I gratefully took it.

As if my evening couldn’t get better it suddenly did.  Apollo was online again and the three of us had a great chat about books and TV and our upcoming trip to Plymouth.  Helios asked him if he wanted book vouchers and he said something about us all going to the bookshop.  Well, I thought that was a smashing idea because I’m sure I’ll need his opinion on some new reading material by then.

I didn’t mention Maia to Apollo as I consider her relationship with us to be a separate matter to his relationship to us.  Maybe that was the wrong thing to do because I think they all still live under the same roof but it’s done now and I can’t go around second-guessing all my actions when it comes to Maia at the minute.  If she decides to be angry I’m sure she’ll find all the ammunition she needs without us roping her brother into the equation.  By this I mean – if she’s bound and determined to be angry, I don’t want her to be angry at her brother as well.

I got so little sleep on Monday and Tuesday nights that I went to bed at 8:30 Wednesday night and slept like a log.  Unfortunately, I was back to my usual inability to sleep Thursday night.  I laid there and thought about Maia until midnight when I got up for the toilet.  When I looked at the clock I thought “I’ll be awake until3 if I don’t do something drastic.” So I took a sleeping tablet – my second this week – and finally drifted off after perhaps another hour or so thinking about Maia and Apollo.    Does every parent have this problem or am I just not coping with the transition of becoming a step-parent?

I saw some friends from the Courts Service on Thursday night.  It was a nice night considering that the forecast was for rain.  We wound up sitting outside and I caught up with all the gossip down there.  Liz sends her regards…

Friday was my birthday.  I’m 39 and I’m not unhappy about it.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a particular problem with the thought of getting older.  However, I am more than a little surprised at how quickly 39 has snuck up on me!  Helios got me a great book and I received some lovely cards at work.

I got home that evening and, instead of Helios saying “Did you have a good day?” or “Did you enjoy your birthday?”  Instead he said “Where are your flowers??” and proceeded to stomp around the flat for a couple of hours.  Unfortunately the florist closed their offices at 6pm and Helios had to wait until the next morning to sort out the problem.  In the meantime I rang my office at about 6:30pm to see if the flowers had arrived while I was driving home.  They hadn’t.  Then the next morning Helios rang the florists who were extremely apologetic and they gave him a full refund and they sent some apology flowers.  A bit later on, I found a message on my mobile phone from someone at work, they received my flowers just before 7pm and I collected them.  I now have two bundles of flowers and Helios isn’t out of pocket.  More importantly the flowers he got me are beautiful purple irises and yellow roses.  He’s just great for remembering I like them.

I saw friends on Sunday for a couple of hours but beyond that I did nothing.  Once again, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend in England and I don’t have to go to work today.

I’m doing very well with my money at the moment.  I get paid on the last Friday of every month, which means that some months are a lot longer than others.  In fact this month I’ve had to make sure that I had enough money to pay the mortgage twice. Instead of getting my monthly payment sorted at the bank, I wanted to see if I could manage to pay the mortgage with what I’m managing to save.  Not only did I manage it but I had a little room to spare so I’ve paid another chunk off the credit card and I’ll start saving the rest (just in case the refrigerator breaks down like I think it’s going to because it’s making that funny noise again)!  I have a good incentive to keep saving, I want to go to Texas to see some old friends in December.  In the meantime I have trips to see Maia and Apollo to look forward to and it will be nice to spoil them a little when we see them in August.

Work is going well.  I had my boss in stitches on Friday.  One of the guys came upstairs and asked if my fantastic husband was a chef (as he stood munching the cookies I brought in for my birthday).  I said no but picked up his photo and said that he’s irresistible.  So as this bloke said something sarcastic and my boss said something about Helios walking down the street and this bloke swooning, I said “Look at this bloke!  He’s only human.  There no way he’d be able to resist!”  I certainly couldn’t.


A long weekend

It was a long weekend.  Maia was being a particular teenager.  She was upset that Apollo had had more time with Helios than her.  She was upset that she was initiating contact with Helios – when we know that that’s not entirely true.  She was upset with some of the things that had happened in the past like why Helios had “never bothered to get in touch”, when I know for a fact that this isn’t entirely true either.  She was being incoherent and unreasonable.  At first she was saying that she thought the relationship between her and her father would have come naturally and in the next moment she sent she said that it was little wonder she was upset and that he brought her anger upon himself.

She was even angry that I seemed to care more than her dad does – and I found myself angry at that statement.  Helios, being a typical bloke, isn’t terribly demonstrative and hates small talk, so it’s little wonder that I’m the one who makes the odd comment to her saying “What are you wearing to the party?” and “Hope you have a nice time.”  This doesn’t mean that Helios cares any less.  It just means he’s not good  at showing it.  The point is that my expectations are realistic where it comes to Helios.  I don’t ever expect him to say that he loves me – firstly because he shows me quite regularly just by being his thoughtful self (I’d rather be shown than told, wouldn’t you?) and secondly because it makes his saying “I love you” all the more special when he does.

It’s little wonder that by the end of our conversations with Maia, I was confused and wondered where all the venom had come from.  OK, I’ll grant you that I wasn’t expecting things between Helios and his kids to be smooth sailing from the start, but it would be nice to have a little warning before the knives are drawn…

I hope I managed to make some progress with Helios and Maia.  Although she’s still very upset, both of them have said that they still want to have some sort of relationship. I tried to get her to calm down by trying to get her to explain herself.  While she is a very bright kid, I don’t think she’s emotionally mature enough to point to the reason of her anger.  Of course, there might not be just one explanation and that, coupled with emotions that can be overwhelming (or at least that’s what I remember about being a teenager) leaves her confused and me totally baffled.  It would be nice to be able to help but if she’s this confused, there’s no way I’ll know where to start.

In the meantime, Apollo was unusually silent this weekend as well.  As both of their behaviour seems a bit out of the ordinary, I’m wondering if they’re suffering some stresses at home that we are not aware of.  Maybe Maia had an argument with her boyfriend and decided that all men are “pond scum” – as my mother used to say?  Maybe Apollo made his sister jealous and then stood  back and watched the fur fly?  There’s no easy way to know as Maia isn’t specific about the problems – she just keeps coming out with “and another thing!  And another thing!  And another thing!”

Due to all this stress I slept very badly last night and dreamt one of my long and involved vivid dreams about a mouse going through several tests and trying hard to pass.  I expect a psychologist would have a field-day with all my mad dreams.  I’ve also had a hard time with my food today – I’m not hungry and have to force myself to eat even though I really don’t want it.  This morning’s breakfast was particularly hard.  Don’t worry, I’m not pregnant.  It’s the stress of thinking that Maia is upset with Helios that’s put me off food.  In fact, I was so stressed for the year or so before I finally asked for a divorce that I lost a dress size.  Some people eat when they’re stressed but I do the opposite.

In other news, I’m seeing my GP again on Wednesday to have a discussion about PMT (aka PMS in the US ).  I find it difficult to control my temper (not just anger but tearful as well) for roughly two weeks of every month now.  As much as I’m happy to take Milk Thistle, I’m wondering now if I there’s any alternative and if a different birth control pill might help.  My periods don’t seem too bad at the moment, so I’m thanking whoever it was that first discovered them.  They’re not as good as a treatment targeting endometriosis, but it’s close enough for me at the minute!

Although I didn’t go on many gym walks last week, I managed my 6:00 a.m. walk today.  Normally I find it relaxing but I think I was still upset about Maia being so angry for it to keep me calm.  I hope things will quieten down again shortly.

My birthday is on Friday so Helios and I spent a good portion of Sunday baking a double-batch of peanut butter cookies.  I’ve frozen quite a few so that they’ll still be fresh by Friday.  The tradition in the UK is that you take cakes in to work for your colleagues on your birthday and in return you receive a card.  Well, everyone at work knows I used to be an American and that I have a reputation as a good cook so I wanted to treat everyone to something a little different.  Also, I just love baking with Helios.  He does all the hard work (I find stirring quite hard on the wrists if I’m not careful) and is happy to be a guinea pig.

Last week I was thinking “I need to remind Helios about my birthday” when he said to me “Your birthday is Friday next week.  I’ve found something that you’ll love.”  What a guy!


Fireworks and Birthday Weekend

The fireworks turned out to be a bridge too far for my 2 year old neighbour.  Luckily she fell asleep before we were due to go.  After we walked down the hill and stood in a field waiting for the bonfire to catch light, I thought the evening was too cold and boring for such a young English girl.

We had a good time though.  The event started at 7:00 p.m. at the bottom of the High Street in a torchlight procession (and in this instance I mean a fire-lit torch).  Helios and I gave this a miss and headed straight for the field.  We had the pleasure of waiting for the procession to arrive and listening to some pedantic old fool saying to everyone that we needed to take note of where we could get drinks and where the First Aid station.

Finally the bonfire was lit and my front was burning hot while my bottom was ice-cold.  We stood in the field for an inordinate amount of time while listening to children running just a little too far away from their parents, teenagers on the telephone and annoying 60 year olds congratulating people with birthdays and anniversaries today on the PA system.

But you go to these things to see the fireworks.  You know, when I was young the fireworks shows were much much more Spartan than they are these days.  In the old days, we got one bang and “OOOooo” “AHHhhhh”.  These days it’s 20 minutes of overwhelming glittering sequins, floral colours, and breathtaking – chest rattling booms.  It was just great!  I even forgot how cold my feet were!

Don’t worry Mom, the walk home warmed me sufficiently.  I didn’t even need a hot water bottle for my feet that evening.

The best thing about the weekend has been Helios’ birthday.  I dished out his cards and presents.  We watched our football game at the neighbour’s flat (they kindly left their door open for the occasion)  but our team lost.  :o(

Helios, I hope that 40 doesn’t seem so awful.  It’s just a number.  Besides, you’re gonna have a lot of birthdays with me.  There isn’t anything we can do about getting old, but at least we can enjoy the time together!  Happy Birthday, my Sun God!