78 Today

Today, although windy, the weather was bright and dry enough for us to spend most of our time in the garden with a succession of visitors bearing birthday gifts.

Helen, Bill, Shelly and Ron were the morning contingent. It was particularly poignant for Helen and Bill, for this was their first visit away from home since the lockdown began. Apart from the first of these photographs featuring the photographer they were taken by Helen who e-mailed them to me. Jackie took the first one.

This afternoon Danni, Ella, and Elizabeth arrived.

For Elizabeth this was another first. She had not seen our garden since February, so naturally had a walk around.

Danni had made some excellent scones; and brought an original birthday cake, jelly and ice cream.

Even with Jackie’s help Danni was unable to light the cake candle outside, therefore took it indoors to do so. Observant readers may discern that the cake is a pork pie.

Ella was not much more than a year old when she last entered the house.

Nevertheless she made a beeline for the cupboard in which her favourite mice are kept. As she stood there indicating my new chair I wondered whether she had missed the old one.

Later, from inside, she showed Bear the patio group.

Outside, she had trouble deciding whether the scones and her face should have strawberry jam or clotted cream applied first – that is, to adopt the Devonian or the Cornish method.

She climbed onto the bench in the Wisteria Arbour; perused the library through the window; pointed at the empty bird feeder; and, cuddling Bear, peered at her mother’s reflection in the mirror. Danni e-mailed these last four pictures she had produced.

This evening we dined on succulent fillet steaks provided by Shelly and Ron; oven chips, peas, grilled tomatoes, and fried onions; followed by Danni’s jelly and ice cream, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank a smooth Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2017 especially purchased by the Culinary Queen for the occasion.


  1. Happy, Birthday, Derrick! Your shirt is very funny, as is

    “Outside, she had trouble deciding whether the scones and her face should have strawberry jam or clotted cream applied first – that is, to adopt the Devonian or the Cornish method.” πŸ˜€

    It’s great you could all be together. (We’re not at that point yet.) It looks like you had a lovely day!

  2. Happy birthday (at the end of your day!). 78 is a good year — one which I completed at the end of 2019 — I hope your 78 brings an end to the strangest of years in our lifetimes! (another) Janet

  3. Happy birthday, Derrick! I hope it’s your best year yet, and of course free of technology headaches! I’m happy your family was able to get together to celebrate.

  4. It looks like you had a lovely day there Derrick! But gosh, you have been locked down for so long…….. it must be quite challenging going out into the world. I wonder if you ever had an inkling of how your 78th birthday would have been spent – or how much of a peaceful haven this wonderful garden has become! I’m loving Elizabeth’s attire today and little Ella looks pretty stylish too! But a pork pie? A real pork pie? There’s a story here…….

    1. Becky and Ian sent me a box of 9 assorted pork pies as well. The word has got out. Jackie and I often wonder at what we would have thought had we known how our lives have panned out in more ways than one. Thanks a lot, Pauline X

      1. ‘The Pork Pie Kid’ I wonder if that is another take on ‘the Milky Bar Kid’….. And as for how we got from there to here – oh the stories we can tell!! And then other times I know I have no clue….. I just read your email and agree – friends we never met are a very real aspect of our lives! xoxo

  5. Oh, happy, happy birthday! Sounds like you all had a splendid time! Wonderful close-up of Ella, and how clever of her to remember where the mice were kept.

  6. That’s my kind of birthday cake. The shirt with its biting wordplay also strikes me as very “you”. I may be projecting though because it is definitely something I would wear. Congrats on 78. You don’t look a day over 63.

    1. Thanks very much, Sue. The shirt was a birthday present from Becky and Ian a few years back. They knew I would like it. They also sent me a cool box containing 9 assorted pork pies. πŸ™‚

  7. Happy Birthday, Derrick. I am glad that you could celebrate in person with your family. It must have made the day feel even more special.

  8. Well you’re in fine company Derrick ! Sir Paul McCartney is also 78 and he’s a go getter two! Seems to be something magic in the water over there 😁 So glad you were able to gather with loved ones to celebrate ! A very Happy Birthday to you πŸ₯° Cheers! xK

  9. I am glad that you have reached the correct age for bloggers at last! That looks like a really splendid day under the current circumstances.

  10. I love your shirt! And of course all of the family and celebrations brought a smile. I hope the world gives you (and us) an end to lockdowns as a gift — getting older and wiser is fine, but having a little ‘normal’ fun is good, too! Happy birthday!

  11. OH, YAY!!! Hap Hap Happy Birthday, Derrick!!! πŸ™‚
    Ha! Love your shirt! πŸ™‚
    And you look w-a-y younger than 78!
    What wonderful people came to celebrate your special day!!! And what a wonderful celebration!
    πŸŽ‚ 🎈 🎁 πŸŽ‰ πŸ™‚

  12. Looks like a good day. You don’t seem to have aged since I first read your blog. In fact your knees are a lot younger than they were at that time. Hope you have many more of them, and a lot more St Emilion. Happy Birthday.

  13. Happy Birthday, Derrick! It looks like you had a wonderful time there, and little Ella looks so sweet, as always! A beautiful day in the garden for your 78th!

  14. Wish you the best on your special day, Derrick! That is a sparkling party you seem to be having, surrounded by your doting kin. The Chief Guest Ella is at her curious best.

  15. I thought we might see a picture of Nugget bringing you a worm as a gift today. Many Happy Returns! Geoff.

  16. Belated Birthday Greeting for yesterday.

    I love all your photographs and it sounds as though you had a really lovely day.

    Oh, pork pies and pickles you now have my mouth watering, I’ve had neither breakfast or lunch yet but alas I have no porkpies either!

      1. Thats it… I really need to go down and eat! I think the pork pie will be added to my weekend shopping list πŸ™‚

  17. A happy belated Birthday greeting, Derrick. I am so glad things have opened up so that you could celebrate with family and friends! I bet Nugget was wondering what was going on! May you and Jackie have a great day after the big doings….

  18. Hip, hip, hooray!!! Belated happy birthday greetings to you, Derrick! It seems you were duly celebrated, which makes me happy. Here’s to a stellar year ahead! πŸ™‚

  19. Happy birthday for yesterday. The birthday boy is looking great in his hawk t-shirt, though perhaps it is as well robins can’t read. The jam/cream comment was hilarious.

  20. Well, well, Happy Birthday, Derrick!! I can see it was indeed! That little Ella is a cutiepie… a real character, indeed! She added quite a bit of cheer to the occasion. I can see that! Did she adopt the Devonian or the Cornish method? I’m not sure I am familiar with either … sounds quite British. You’ll have to explain and tell us which was her choice! I love that cover photo of you. Looking quite dapper for your 78 years! <3

    1. Thanks very much, Jan. Like Ella, we can never remember which, but Devon and Cornwall, our two most SW counties argue fiercely about which way round it should be. Our grandniece seems to have all options covered. x

  21. I have your birthday marked on my calendar! Though I’ve not been reading blogs or posting my own lately, I had to get over here (even two days late) to wish you a happy birthday. I’m so glad you were showered in gifts and surrounded by family. I think maybe I might try a pork pie on my next birthday. πŸ˜‰ My love and hugs to you.

  22. I want a pair of slip-on caterpillar shoes just like Ella’s. πŸ˜€ … Happy Birth Day, good Sir!!! πŸ™‚ funny how they keep coming round every year. πŸ™‚

  23. Oh, wonderful! What a lovely day with loved ones all around, that fabulous T-shirt of yours, and Ella’s adventures. A belated “happy birthday” from me. And thanks for educating me about Devon and Cornish styled scones.

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