Waking up with a head that’s a few sizes too small and realising you need to ferry yourself to Salisbury to catch a morning train to Bath is quite a painful experience. Realising your hangover is demanding a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich whilst your rational head is demanding you don’t have a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich so you don’t end up yakking into a bin on the 10:52 to Bath Spa is also quite an experience. Arriving at Cornflake and Lou’s house, they’d turned it into a birthday grotto with banners, balloons, a beautiful orchid (which I’m under strict instructions to y’know, actually keep alive), a bottle of wine with the label ‘Drink Me’ and a smattering of ‘Eat Me’ birthday cupcakes sprinkled throughout the downstairs.
Draping Hawaiian lei round my shoulder and giving me a positively restrained in size birthday girl badge we rounded up the gang and headed for the station, my Alice in Wonderland 30ish Bathday had officially begun!
Baby F’s first trip on the train was a great success with Aunty Loulou using her super special bloodhound like seat sniffing out powers to bag us a table, space for the buggy and enough seats for everyone and we whiled away the time chatting and looking through my birthday present from the gang, a book called ‘1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die’. We flicked through and between us managed to total about twenty five that we’d ticked off, most we’d never even heard of. Then we played a game of ‘name a Pulitzer prize winning book’ with mixed success and before long we were pulling in to Bath Spa. We had a wander round the city, down by the canal and up the The Circus (via Gay Street which made me giggle because although I’m thirty one now, I’m still a fecking CHILD) before wandering back down through some tat shops as the boys call them (chic boutiques selling beautiful objet d’art and tchotchkes for the home) and ended up at Côte Brasserie in Milsom Place for a spot of lunch.
My friend Big D came to join us and ran the gauntlet of experiencing the Urban Family (reduced strength as a few members were absent). He later decreed them to be crazy which was highly amusing as they had actually been on their very best behaviour. By this stage my hangover was abating and so it seemed like the perfect idea to have a *cough* glass of wine. I ticked off Big D for saying he wanted apple tart for dessert rather than attempting the French pronounciation so when the waitress came round I made a stab at pronouncing ‘Tarte au fine pommes’ to which the waitress shot back ‘the apple tart?!’ which made us all laugh. Of course I ended up having two glasses of rosé and then when dessert was brought round I was presented with a glass of champagne with a flourish as the waitress was going to put a candle in my dessert, but I was the only person who didn’t order one.
After lunch we had a meander through the mean streets of Bath, stopping for the almost obligatory photo outside a shop called ‘The Knob Connection’, mooched through a few more tat shops, stopped at a fudge shop and went and played in a toy shop where the Urbs decided it would be hilarious to add to my outfit with a pair of comedy sunglasses which I was made to not only don but also style out for the rest of the day.
We made our way back to the station and penguin huddled for warmth whilst waiting for the train, with Loulou’s superior seat spotting skills coming in to play yet again for the journey home. Back at the ranch, Frankie arrived fresh from watching Wales triumph over Italy and then there was another tap tap at the door, which turned out to be Oj who had driven over from Cardiff to surprise me!
The surprises kept on coming with a birthday cake (and the fire brigade on standby given the number of candles now on there) and then the Urbs knocked it clear out of the park by giving me the most incredible Michael Kors wristwatch that I had been lusting after for the past few months. I’m such a lucky duck!!
Cake, and wine were followed by curry, fizz and boardgames – the boys were YET AGAIN triumphant, this time at Disney Trivial Pursuit and I suspect it will be a long time before the ladies hear the end of that one… Bloody Ratatouille! Sunday brought dancing in our pyjamas to ‘Superman’ by Black Lace.
After that silliness a chilly walk on the Salisbury Town Path for lunch at the Old Mill followed, with yours truly almost ending up with concussion on several occasions due to the ridiculously low doorjambs. Oj and I couldn’t help but share a giggle about the pub offering ‘Spit Roast Sundays’ (SUCH children!) and after another delicious meal it was time to toddle home for more cake, a spot of rugby spectating and then some goodbyes as we bundled into our cars and headed back to reality with big grins and full tummies.