April always makes me feel better. I am a bona fide April Fool, so it probably helps it begins with my birthday! It was a ‘meh’ birthday in terms of age; however that didn’t stop me from putting on a pretty frock and heading out for lunch with the folks on Newcastle Quayside at a rather lovely place called the Broad Chare. Once the olds were safely deposited in a taxi home, Husband Underfoot and I managed to wander into a bar with a view and shared a second bottle of wine. I was weaving a little as we headed into our own taxi 2 hours later, but I had such a lovely day. Flowers and 3 splendid hard backed books from HUF (2 Neil Gaiman’s & a Joe Abercrombie. Shame Joe didn’t also come gift wrapped…!).
Actually, my birthday week really started 3 days before when we stayed overnight at Hotel Du Vin as we were at a concert at the Cluny. Bridie Jackson & the Arbour, Gilmour and Roberts and the absolutely wonderful Heg (minus her wolf chorus). I’m not a proper folkie by a long shot, but I do love melodic female voices (Bridie & Co who we’ve seen a few times) – but the revelation was Heg. This sweet girl singing achingly sad songs at her keyboards with both folklore and local history undertones…I confess I cried. Twice! Then made a tit of myself telling her how amazing she was afterwards….oh well!
The week before we’d seen Paloma Faith at the Arena (hmmm, this post is time travelling backwards!!). Absolutely sublime show. She’d really ramped the tempo up from the previous times we’ve seen her – probably necessary in such a large soulless barn. The support act were such fun – Vintage Trouble – never seen a band utilise an arena floor space in quite such a lively manner. Call me converted. And Paloma – such a classy, smart, funny lady – if you like the vintage look you check out her amazing wardrobe. Brilliant night.
My best friend also stayed with us for a couple of nights. It was so lovely to see her as we have known each other since we were 5, but now live quite far apart. She was a bit shattered after coming up north for a funeral so we spent two great nights in, wearing PJs and drinking fizz and just generally putting the world to rights. Oh, we ate a great deal of chocolate.
Back to the (almost) present. Big brother & wife were up at the tail end of my birthday week; cue another meal on the Quayside followed by drinks. Lovely night out, and good to see them both. Today I’m heading out to meet my mum and aunty for lunch, with the added bonus of my lovely niece Jess who is on a uni break and visiting for a couple of days. And a bit of therapeutic shopping – birthday monies will be helping me buy a new pair of converse and a super Notorious Betty Page t-shirt I have spotted in a local shop and should have bought last week…
So, things are better. Not perhaps as good or as productive as they could be, but that’s ok. Small steps. The past two weeks have reminded me that I am blessed with lovely family and friends, and that can only be a positive thing. Next week I get back i the pool, and a local cycling charity are going to overhaul my bike for free and send me out locally with a volunteer to learn the safe cycle routes (and overhaul my wayward biking techniques!). Book group tonight, we read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which is getting a lot of positive press at the moment. Basically an alcoholic and two flighty tarts meet a control freak. It was all a bit ‘meh’, partially because the author had nailed the whinging, wheedling, self-pitying inner monologue of an alcohol perfectly but spending 300 pages listening to that voice becomes just a little tedious. However, I suspect I am in a minority with this opinion, especially given the many thousands of glowing reviews. Never mind, I’ll go bury my head in the Abercrombie!