May 12 – Janet’s 60th Birthday

Bella's Cowboy Themed Sixth Birthday Party

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today we were invited to two birthday parties. Bella turned 6 during the week and has 15 friends coming this afternoon for a cowboy themed party. She very sweetly asked us to her party as we have become friends playing card games after school sometimes. She is having a bouncy castle to play on for the day and when we walked around the house to the car the bouncy castle had already been inflated and Ollie was happily bouncing on it. A great thing to have in your backyard.
However, we had already been invited to Janet’s 60th birthday which is being held at Claire and Chris’s home in Sittingbourne. Well you don’t turn 60 every day and Janet and I have been best friends since we were born only a month apart. Our Mum’s were friends even before that. We set off early for the 2-hour drive down to Sittingbourne and had a comfortable drive on dual carriageways and motorways all the way.

We got to Sittingbourne a couple of hours early so we drove out onto the Isle of Sheppey to visit Minster Abbey, St Mary and St Sexburga in Minster-in-Thanet. Unfortunately, the church was closed and there was no phone number which we could ring to arrange an opening. It is a pity as I think this is the only church in England dedicated to St Saxburga, who is one of the saints we researched for the Queen’s Robing Room in Westminster Palace. We collected the numbers for the church micro but when we found ground zero it was raining quite hard and we could not find it easily as there were several places that the hint could have meant. Rather than get soaking wet before the party we left without searching too far.

We arrived at Claire and Chris’s place about 1.30 and we were the first guests. Janet and I had a big cuddle and some time together before the other guests arrived. She was very upset when we emigrated to New Zealand fifty years ago and I am not sure she has forgiven us yet. LOL.

We had a lovely afternoon and evening meeting some of Janet’s closest friends and her family including Derek, her brother and his family. Derek was only a baby when we left so I don’t really remember him but it was nice to meet him, his wife and his daughter. Uncle Fred was there too and we talked for ages and sat opposite each other during the meal. I feel very close to Uncle Fred and he obviously felt the same as when we were due to leave he gave me several long cuddles. He is so lovely and full of stories. Peter, Janet’s husband had his birthday yesterday so it was nice that they could celebrate together. There was a group of Janet’s friends from teacher training college there and Janet worked out that there were 8 of us all turning 60 this year. 

Chris and Clare had put up a double gazebo in the backyard and we were all able to sit around one table where there was a continual stream of food being brought out. There were all sorts of lovely food, both hot and cold, savoury and sweet, which finished with a lovely birthday cake and a favourite dessert that Janet’s mum, Jean used to like to make, so she was there in spirit with us too.

It started to rain again around 5 and by the time we left at 8 pm, it was raining heavily. It was a horrible trip home with so much rain. The motorways and other roads do not seem to be built with enough angle to allow the water to move off the road so as you drive along you would suddenly hit a pool of water and risk hydroplaning. The traffic still roars along at 70 mph or even faster so there is no such thing as driving to the conditions. We were very relieved to finally arrive home in one piece. But we did have a lovely day.