It all began with an innocent text message.
This weekend was the Sprog's godmother's birthday (she is the fairy godmother, her hubbie is TJ's 'furry' godfather) and late last week I had a sudden panic that this year was the big 40 celebration. This was understandable as last year she had a 'not yet 40' party which involved a shed... (It's a long story but a great party). I was a little embarrassed that I didn't know so I thought that a quiet little text message to her hubbie would ensure that we had the right gift on Sunday.
The message read 'just a quick question, is it Fairy's 40th birthday on Sunday?"
The reply was a simple, 'Yes! We are all heading to Camber Sands for a birthday tea and horse riding on the beach." The Fairy Godmother loves horse riding so this was an apt present and one that she would love.
We went into panic mode. Where I had intended to send a lovely bouquet and a card I now had to sort out a present suitable for a milestone birthday. We also had our nephew's graduation celebration on Saturday so any shopping would have to be done on Sunday morning.
The graduation on Saturday was lovely, Papa's sister and brother in law were on good form and the little Prince had a great day... We came home very late but I knew we had to get up early to organise the fortieth birthday present on Sunday.
We got up early, I pre-cooked lunch and got all the laundry done in the morning, then we rushed off to Bluewater to get cards and a suitable present. The boys wanted to give their Godmum a picture frame with a picture of themselves in their suits which was taken at my sister's wedding earlier this year (it's not often they look smart) So we sorted that out and then headed to Papa's favourite jewellery store.... An hour later we had selected the right gift, bought paper, cards, ribbon and a fab birthday cake shaped like a handbag (a last minute request from Furry as he had forgotten to pack a cake. he requested chocolate but I thought a fancy handbag shape was much better for such an important birthday) and then we headed home. Whilst I prepared a cold Sunday salad Papa and the boys wrote their cards and wrapped their gifts.
We then headed off to Camber Sands on the coast. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a picnic on the beach. Except Furry then dropped me a line to ask if I could get some paper cups for the wine he had in his picnic basket, oh and some paper plates and cutlery. As we drove around the countryside looking for a convenience storePapa was getting exasperated. "Why is this so last minute?" He said, "Surely Furry knew it was Fairy's 40th, it's not like its a surprise!"
"In his defence," I said, recalling Papa's own reaction to his 40th birthday, "it may well be that Fairy doesn't want to celebrate her 40th, it's a birthday a lot of people have a problem with, hence it's a low key affair with just family and close friends on the beach doing something she loves - I think it's very sweet." "Well he could have called me," Papa sulked, "I'm good at organising parties." (Which is very true)
So we went to the little shop at the concentration camp that is the local holiday 'resort' and purchased plates, cups, cutlery and napkins and headed to the beach.
Unfortunately, there was a strong sea breeze... Well, sea gale to be more precise and the dunes resembled a scene from Lawrence of Arabia with people rushing from the beach as sand gusted in clouds around them. The children and I got out of the car and were immediately exfoliated, we all said our hellos and wished Fairy a happy birthday before jumping back into the car and heading back into the little town of Rye to meet other friends for fish and chips by the quayside.
We all sat down and Fairy started opening her cards and gifts. "Happy 40th" we all shouted. "But I'm 39," Fairy said. "Yes,"I replied, "I've been 39 for fours years now, its called denial," And we laughed.
Then she opened her first card which was from the kids and featured a monster clutching the numbers 4 and 0. Fairy looked blank, "I am really only 39." She said. I laughed in disbelief as she opened our tastefully decorated fortieth birthday card.
"She really is only 39," said the friend....
I went cold.
"Born in 1974." She went on.
I quickly pulled out my phone and traced back through the text messages with Furry. There it was, plain as day...Fairy is 40!
Luckily everyone saw the funny side and were soon rolling around laughing as Furry explained he had only half read the message as he knew he had to tell me what was happening for Fairy's birthday! Misunderstanding explained... As was the lack of fortieth birthday organisation... She wasn't 40...
Then I suddenly saw Fairy about to open the present from Papa and myself... A present that was now completely inappropriate and bordering on the ridiculous.... I grabbed it back. "You can have this next year," I said. I know it is awfully bad form to take back a present but a replacement will be sent forthwith and on top of that I can't tell you what the original present was as that will spoil the surprise for next year... When it really will be Fairy's 40th.... If we are invited of course!!!