Thursday, September 17, 2020

Another birthday, another milestone

French Village Diaries another birthday, another milestone
The birthday girl in the frame

My stomach and head are a whirl of emotions at the moment. It would seem that although I am fitter and (hopefully) healthier than I have ever been, and certainly weigh in at the lightest I’ve been as an adult, time doesn’t stand still. Yesterday I celebrated my 49th birthday and I’m hoping there will be a long, slow twelve months ahead of me before I find myself crashing into the big five-o. 


For an unremarkable mid-week day in mid-September, it turned out to be a pretty momentous day. Ed had been home since Saturday, so it was a real bonus to have all of us together on my birthday, that falls at a time of year when activities normally resume after the summer holidays and we are rarely all in the same place. If the best gift a Mum can ask for is a happy, confident child young adult, making his own way in the world, then I got my wish. Yesterday, for the first time, Ed packed his bags, loaded them into his car, gave us both a hug and kiss, and drove off to Poitiers university, alone. No more am I needed for school runs, after-school activity taxi services, or uni drop offs, although I do still hold the franchise on his laundry service. It is now very much up to him how often he comes home and how long he stays for. As much as it is marvellous to see him become his own person, I can’t lie, it felt rather strange to watch him drive away. The house seemed unusually quiet for the first ten minutes or so as Adrian and I both tried to look busy (on Facebook) as we wondered what to do for the rest of my birthday, and indeed, the rest of our lives.


French Village Diaries another birthday, another milestone Niort
Birthday flan in Niort

It didn’t take too long before a bike route had been planned and we set off to our start point in Prahecq, knowing that as Niort town centre was our destination, a patisserie stop should soothe our emotions and refuel us on the mid-point of the thirty kilometre bike ride. We have now cycled (in stages) all 75kms of a brand new cycleway, the V93 that runs close to home as it makes its way through the southern part of the Deux-Sèvres. In Niort it joins the Vélo-Francette that runs from the coast in Normandy to La Rochelle and from the Deux-Sèvres/Charente boarder it heads east towards Limoges. Our plan now is to follow it across the Charente and on towards the Haute-Vienne.


French Village Diaries another birthday, another milestone
Sharing the courgette love

Yesterday evening we dined with some of our fantastic friends, who not only put up with our quirky cycling addiction but came up with some amazing birthday gifts too. From the courgette cushion that could only have been designed with me in mind, to the wine glasses that left me speechless and the delicate handmade key ring that has been added to the collection on my bike, I was truly spoiled. 

French Village Diaries another birthday, another milestone
My new golden leaf key ring

Yes, I do know the key rings add weight to the bike, and tinkle and clink as I cycle along, but I don’t care.


French Village Diaries another birthday, another milestone
An original birthday gift

When one friend realised there wasn’t much available in Brompton-themed gift ideas, she only went and hand etched a detailed Brompton bicycle onto four wine glasses, just for me. I am overwhelmed to be surrounded by such talented and great friends. They even managed to raise my spirits with fun, laughter and fine food, so I almost forgot Ed’s departure earlier in the day.


Next year’s birthday will have to be quite extraordinary to even get close to this year.

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