So, apologies for the blog hiatus. I was about but I figured with the sun coming out, you didn't need to hear from lil ol' me for a bit...am I right? Isn't it lovely that summer's finally graced us with her presence? Hello, lovely. You know it's officially summer when you see a man riding a bicycle around town without a shirt. Have you seen him yet? Did he have his t-shirt rolled up and tucked in his trousers as he weaved through the traffic with a can of Foster’s in one hand? Yep, suck on that Chris Froome, betcha can’t do that. But along with half naked men on bikes and summer come many things. It means, like some sad saddo, I get excited about getting my laundry out on the line. I will dig through my drawers looking for creased maxi dresses that have been in hibernation. I will have to do something to my body hair to make myself fit for human eyes (Chewbacca springs to mind…time to get the strimmer out?)
Oh, and it’s July.
This means it’s my birthday.
You can sense my excitement, can’t you? Actually my birthday was six days ago. It is the best timed birthday in the world because it actually falls bang on the date the kids break up from school. It’s like the school saying:
Dear Mrs Bailey,
Here are your kids for six weeks.
We’re not even going to give you cake.
Best, The Kids’ School x
I love my kids, really I do but they have this fascination at the moment with writing my age on fucking everything. Arya did me this. I love it. She made it with her own fair hand and stole a frame off the mantelpiece to put it in and everything. Love Arya. But fuck me, I am 36. I’m not really sure how I feel about that.
Given The King of the North is six years my senior, he takes gleeful joy in reminding me that I am getting older. He pointed out a wrinkle the other day. He’s lucky he’s still got testicles. He tells me 36 is my late thirties too. He is wrong. It’s mid-thirties. MID-THIRTIES I TELL YOU! ‘You’re only as old as the person you feel,’ he tells me. That makes me 42. Fuck off, Ned.
Gone is the time where I get excited about birthdays. I’m not sure when that happened. I used to sodding love them. It was all about presents and cards and days all about me. When I was ten I got a telly for my birthday, back when TVs were the size of small cars and you needed to twizzle the aerial on the top to get decent reception for the Neighbours Omnibus. That’s made me sound bloody old, eh? But that was a good birthday. My 19th birthday, I got thrown in the Pacific at a beach BBQ. I spent my 21st in Vegas eating steak as big as my face. My 24th birthday was spent in a Japanese karaoke bar singing Guns n Roses' ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ with an American fella called Ben. All good, awesome birthdays.
And then something happened. You can read about my 30th here. But since then, my birthdays have become low-key, ponderous events. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m married to Ned who ‘don’t do birthdays’ or it could be that ever since I joined the thirties club, the Contessa (my dearest mother) gives me a care package that will nearly always include some eye cream and a multipack of supportive knickers. Because I’ve got to that age where my teeth ache every time I eat ice-cream or my knees click every time I squat. I walk into Top Shop and baulk at the length of the shorts, or I’ll stagger in a bar and wonder what this ‘boof-boof-boof’ beat is. My wildling children, they are supposed to keep me young, no? If anything they do the very reverse. They ask me things that make me wonder if I’m failing them as a mother.
Jon Snow: (looking at me curiously in the car because I know all the words…) What is this song?
Me: It’s Summertime…by Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Jon Snow: Who?
Me: Will Smith. The Fresh Prince. You know? Now this is a story all about how…
Jon Snow: Who?
Me: Men In Black, Ali, Bad Boys, Independence Day…
Jon Snow: Who?
Or they will ask you questions to make you feel even more ancient. Like I made them sit down and watch The Lion King with me the other day. I still know all the words. I am so down with that film and I still sob like a bastard when little Simba crawls under Mufasa’s paw and.*don’t go there…*
Arya: How old were you when this film came out?
Me: I was fourteen.
Jon Snow: You liked Disney when you were 14?
Me: Hush, don’t talk over Hakuna Matata…
Jon Snow: So this film is like over twenty years old…
Me: *silent, does bad maths in my head. Shit, Hakuna Matata my arse…Timon, Pumbaa, guys…that was twenty-two years ago…*
Where the hell did all those years go, eh? Maybe that’s my biggest bugbear about getting older. I can just about deal with the clicky knees, Will Smith having no current cultural relevance and the odd eye wrinkle (they’re laughter lines, dear husband). I know I am well past the age of wearing denim hotpants that look like they’ve been through the shredder and don’t have an actual gusset. But time; time is just going too fast. Once upon a time I was a newbie mum cradling an ickle Jon Snow, bemoaning the lack of sleep and waiting to see if Daniel Craig was going to be a decent Bond (yes, that was 10 years ago...) And in a blink of an eye, one baby turned into four. I got married somewhere in the middle of that. Daniel Craig turned out to be a bit of alright. Those babies grew, like really big, really fast. Ten years totally passed me by. And I’m starting to hate the fact that what’s imprinted in my brain are song lyrics, movie quotes, names. Everything else is becoming a hazy montage of memories that creep into consciousness like snapshots but which have sped past quicker than a half naked man on a bike at the beginning of summer.
So 36, hello. Nice to make your acquaintance. Sit down, have some gin with me. Let’s have a good year. Statistics tell me I’m about halfway through this whole adventure, right? Halfway up the hill, mid-late thirties. I can do that. Be kind…you start turning me grey and we will be having words. But one little request, let’s slow it down a little. Cheers x