Celebrating my birthday? Not what that I normally do, but as I was 21 (x3!) this year, I thought that for a change I would do something. I am not that keen on parties and my house is too small for one anyway so I had a different idea and sent out these invitations.
To celebrate being 21 (x3!)
I am holding an “At Home”
on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st January
between 2.30 and 5.30 pm.
You are invited to call in for
as long or as short a time as you wish and
have a cup of tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
on either day, between these times.
(NO presents please and no need to RSVP.
I would love to see you, but understand
if you can’t make it.)
These went by email to all my University friends, all my family and a couple of people in Surrey (from where I moved 3 years or so ago). Then I handed out paper copies to a carefully selected set of local people. I have to admit that I didn’t see a couple of people, so they didn’t get the invitations!
The trouble with this was that everyone then knew when my birthday was! This meant that I had more “celebration” than I expected. The first was a meal out with 3 friends in a local pub, where they treated me to lunch. Good meal, good company – and I didn’t have to cook or wash up.
The second, was at the coffee shop/community centre, on the day before my birthday as that was when I volunteer there. I was given flowers and also a cake – with a firework on top instead of a candle! That was a bit scary, but it went out before I had to cut the cake and I didn’t have to blow it out. We cut up the cake and shared it out and it didn’t last long. Good cake though and it was great to celebrate with people there.
For the “At Home” I had ordered cakes, from the lady who makes them for the coffee shop. I chose lemon drizzle cake (because I really like it) and ginger and pear (because it is more unusual). I also made some chocolate peppermint slices and some shortbread. There was a large tin of biscuits in reserve, as I had no idea how many people would come or how much they would eat.
On the days of the “At Home”, I also had to clean the house – well, dust and hoover and other basics anyway – and then in the afternoon it was just a matter of waiting to see who would come. A few people had said they would definitely come, and on which day, and a few others had said they couldn’t make it, but generally it was part of the fun to see who would arrive and when. In fact the two days turned out completely differently.
On the Friday, almost everyone arrived at about the same time and we all sat down and had drinks and cake and a good chat. Everyone was local so almost everyone knew each other. People mostly left at about the same time, too. There was one exception who arrived when most people were leaving – but that was what I had been expecting – people arriving at different times. A very enjoyable afternoon.
I think I am going to have to teach some of my friends to read though. As well as flowers and chocolates there were some other “no presents please”!
On the Saturday, it was totally different, partly because it was mostly for people who work on Fridays, so have less time. The first to arrive was one of the people from Surrey – which was a lovely surprise and gave me a bit of a chance to catch up on the gossip from there. My sister and brother-in-law arrived next and my niece and great-niece and -nephew after that. The last 2 created more noise and they definitely wanted cake – but were a bit suspicious of the ones I had, except the shortbread. After that people started coming and going – some staying for quite a long time and some just dropping in briefly. Both were great and was what I had been expecting. Only one person came twice – I think she liked the cake! (Actually, she had said she was coming on the Friday, but came again on the Saturday with her husband.) None of my university friends came – but I didn’t really expect them to.
The last to arrive and only there for a short time, was a friend from school! She actually lives locally and we had lost contact years ago, but met up again when I was originally in T. I then taught her daughter and since I came back here we keep meeting up as we are walking to or from our homes which are quite close. She had phoned to say that she was coming but would be quite late. The last to leave were my sister and family and that was after a discussion about where they could eat on the way home.
The last celebration was at the charity shop where I work and was the next week. They gave me a card and cake – with a candle to blow out – which we shared. That made 4 cakes – not bad, hey?
About a week later I got the card my nephew had posted without a stamp (due to sleep deprivation, he said, on the other card he sent WITH a stamp) and a few days after that the people at the coffee shop gave me a card too. It had been “hidden” so I didn’t see it when it was being passed round for people to sign and wasn’t found for a couple of weeks! The interesting thing was, that with those 2, I got 21 birthday cards – how appropriate!
So would I celebrate my birthday that way again? Maybe – I really did enjoy it, but all the cleaning and organisation……. So maybe in a few years?