On Saturday my wife turned thirty. To say that she gets excited about birthdays would be a gross understatement. She was pretty insufferable from Thursday night onwards. As I had been forced by Barclays Bank Plc. to do 'real' work on Thursday and Friday I hadn't had time to buy a present, which I explained to her on Friday night. She thought that this was a cunning ruse and that in the morning I would 'surprise' her with her gifts. She was wrong.
In the morning I salvaged our fledgling marriage by going out to the bakery to bring her fresh pastries and tea in bed. This is one of those things that always sounds more idyllic than it actually is. The truth of 'breakfast in bed' is that it is impossible to sit comfortably, the bed becomes covered in crumbs (which you cannot eat because they are lying where your arse has been all night), and the room smells unlike any restaurant I would ever recommend. Still, it's the thought that counts.
After breakfast she opened all her presents, looking at me before unwrapping each one to see if my eyes gave anything away. Other than guilt at not buying a present, they did not.
Later in the morning she headed to Swansea to meet her best friend. They had organised a joint-party in the evening as they share a birthday. A person's approach to a party is a simple way (probably) of exposing transvestites and transsexuals who may be masquerading as something which they are not. I can only assume that there is a small piece of 'laid back' DNA, as yet unidentified, which is only found in a penis. To clarify;
Friend: 'What are the arrangements for the party?'
Man/Transvestite/Born-with-penis Transsexual: 'Come around about eight, bring some drinks'
Friend: 'What are the arrangements for the party?'
Woman/ Born-with-vagina Transsexual: 'Didn't you get the invitation? Aunty Jacqui's doing sausage rolls and coleslaw, mum's bringing the cake, dad's sorted out the DJ, Annette's doing fairy cakes, Emma's on nibbles, I'm going down at four to dress the room, then I'm going back at six to get changed, Sam's booked two taxis for eight from my house, Tracy's doing the balloons...etc., etc.'
This excessive organisation meant that I had time to buy the present. I opted for a matching necklace/bangle/earring set. I look forward to shopping more than a straight man should, and I spent about an hour in the jewelers discussing length of earring drop, chain width and size of pendant, before making my purchase. Barclaycard were good enough to phone me during my shopping spree. I was starting to worry as I hadn't heard from my friends there in almost 24 hours. I was a little disappointed that it turned out to be merely a business call/threat.
On the way home something very odd happened. I was walking home along my street, twenty yards or so behind a cardiac arrest-in-waiting. I began to text a friend. As I looked up, the rotund stranger had disappeared and Beelzebub was no more than ten feet in front of me! I am becoming increasingly convinced that I live in the Matrix and that Beelzebub is the glitch in the programme. I began photographing him to prove to my wife that I am not going mad. I took three photos before he disappeared down a side street. I realise that I could get arrested for this, whereupon I would probably have to share a holding cell with Beelzebub, but it has gone too far. I see him all the time, at all times of the day.
In the afternoon I shared a lift with my wife's friend (she knows who she is) to Swansea. It would be tired to go on about women drivers, but again, you can judge a book by the cover. She berated the person in the outside lane of the M4 for not overtaking her quickly enough. I pointed out that she had been in the middle lane for 6 miles overtaking nobody. Apparently this is different because there was nothing behing her. I pointed out that the person doing 75 in the outside lane had been behind her. 'He can go around me in the outside lane' she pointed out. That's what he was doing, I pointed out. The rest of the journey was pretty quiet.
On arriving in Swansea I accepted the offer of a Tia Maria from my wife's mother, before sharing a taxi to the party with her and my ecstatic wife. The party was at a pub in town, and on the way to the venue I noticed that my wife's friends had made a Birthday Blanket for her, and tied it, as is the custom, to some railings. Nothing says class like a hand-painted blanket, bearing a concise message, tied to roadside furniture. I assume that, as is also customary, it will be hanging there for months until it finally disintegrates, or becomes unattached and temporarily blinds a motorist, who then swerves into a lamp-post and is killed. If the latter is the case, then doubtless some bereaved relative will, consumed with grief, sellotape some garage forecourt flowers to the lethal lamp-post in question, in a macabre act of memorial.
The party went very well. My wife and her best friend had cunningly ensured a bumper turn-out by selling the event as a birthday celebration/school reunion. As such, several 'close' friends of theirs from the 1980's turned up, and caught up on what had happened in the intervening twenty years. I was honoured as the girls had put together a photo-montage of their favourite memories. If you stood very close to it you could just about see the one photo of my wife and I, sandwiched between about seventy photos of her and other important people in her life. I was, however, better represented than her best friend's fiancee, who was nowhere to be seen in any of the hundreds of images.
By the end of the time in the pub I had drunk far too much Stella Artois, served, unless my eyes deceived me, by two elderly cast members of Prisoner Cell Block H. I knew that I had drunk too much, when I performed a running belly-slide into the middle of a group of women, who had also drunk too much. I knew that they had drank too much when one yelled 'Pile On!' and they all proceeded to jump on top of me. There was a time when having ten women jump on me would have given me an immediate erection. It may have done so that night, but my belly being what it is these days, my groin area was well clear of the dance floor, so I couldn't tell.
At the end of the night we apparently all headed off to the new super-club Oceana. From the photos it would appear that I enjoyed myself as much as everybody else, but I would be lying if I said I had total recall. On the whole though a very good night was had by me, my wife, her friends, her family, her casual acquaintances, and two very scary, denim-clad, lesbians.