This time last year I was enjoying a winter birthday, in Melbourne! I can't believe a year has gone by, and here I am, one year older! I give thanks for that. It's been a good year - both sons married, a trip to Australia, and one back from there, of both family and friends. Lots of other good stuff going on here too, and the constant blessing of having my family around me on a daily basis. How lucky am I!
I love smelly old roses! Despite some pretty disappointing summer winds and heavy rain, the garden has yielded some beautiful blooms. So, these are for my beloved mother and me, on this day.
My early childhood birthday celebrations were usually a picnic tea. My mother would shepherd me, my brother and sister, a cousin or two, and a gaggle of little schoolgirl friends to a grassy patch, big enough to spread a couple of rugs, by the towpath of the Basingstoke Canal, at Odiham. 1950s picnic food would have been a good, simple affair - always banana sandwiches, probably cucumber sandwiches, a few sausage rolls, and a birthday cake, made with Mum's 'childrens special sponge mixture' recipe. It was good for a Victoria sponge, or a traybake, with a lovely sharp lemon icing. I've used the same recipe for my children's birthday cakes, always a success, although I wouldn't dream of using marge!
We would mess about at the edge of the canal. It was shallow there, silted up over time. The elaborate casings of the caddis fly larvae were always a bit of a draw, water boatmen, and minnows caught in jam jars, trailed through the water with a string handle. Happy days!