As the family are totally bored of hearing, last year my birthday - and a big one at that - was utterly rubbish, due to neither of them being at home and us having just moved to the Loire and knowing no-one. It was however saved by lovely neighbours coming to the rescue with wine and suchlike.
This year was and still is very different; both special folk here and we've had a great day. Before breakfast I was ushered outside to see Mark's present - an amazing one in the form of an established Ginko tree - Mark is currently outside in the rainy dusk digging a hole for it. Ezra presented me with two packages, one containing a tiny handmade bag he had fabricated from a small piece of tapestry I had found at Emmaus, and the other . . . I was fairly speechless, a jacket which he had made from more Emmaus fabric complete with buttons from their excellent stock and embroidery made also by himself. I've always admired folk who can make clothes and he certainly has an interesting experimental time ahead of him with his old electric sewing machine.
Lunch was in a moroccan restaurant we have passed many times on the road to Tours - excellent tajine and pastries of the day, then, at my request we visited the tank museum in Saumur . . . yes, weird choice but we park near it every time we go to a favourite recycling place and I just thought, well, why not. There were a lot of tanks. Many, many tanks, fearfully heavy (10 - 65 tons) sparking with weaponry from simple rockets to nuclear warheads (inert!); anti-tank missile craft, amphibious craft, jeeps, hospital trucks, maps of where various wars happened and an awful lot of war game nerds playing highly complex games involving moving around small tanks, trees, cardboard explosions etc on huge sand covered boards. They also had a large croissant supply and a table laid out with wine ready to go - set in for the day and evening. So, done that . . . probably a one off, but a truly extraordinary collection, and apparently, the place to go if you happen to be shooting a war film and need tanks.
We retuned home with cakes and I lit the kitchen wood burner for the first time this year as the the lashing wind and rain was announcing the true start of autumn.