Five days before my birthday David asked how I wanted to celebrate it. “I don’t” I said grumpily. 49 is such a boring number.

Four days before my birthday I woke up thinking actually that was exactly the reason to celebrate it.

Three days before my birthday I hired a small tent, rather exotically called a Chinese Hat. “Why is there a marquee in the garden?” asked David.

My birthday fell on American Labor Day, which meant our offices were closed, which meant I spent the day getting all Martha Stewart-y (except for the cooking bit, which I’m useless at). We laid long arms of wild blackberries picked in the lane, dried poppy heads from the fields, and fresh flowers grown in the garden down the middle of the tables, not because we thought it looked rather fab but actually because we discovered we didn’t have any vases.

And then I sewed, yes sewed, the blackberry and acorn branches onto the ends of burlap runner. “Errr, what are you doing Mum?” asked Conrad looking at me oddly.

That morning he had written me a card: ‘Hope you have an amazing PERTY’ (the poor child has inherited my spelling).

And I did. With close friends and family beside me, I had an amazing perty.

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