Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Friday 10 October 2014

It’s Birthday Season

That might sound weird to you, but all of our birthdays are clustered together at this end of the year, so for us, it really is birthday season.

In particular it is a big birthday weekend for us Chez Abnett.

The husband and the dort who have their
birthdays tomorrow and on Sunday
Happy Birthday to them!
Tomorrow the dort has her birthday, and on Sunday the husband grows older by another year, although heaven help me, you wouldn’t know it to look at him, or if you lived with his boundless energy.

We like birthdays.

Not everybody treats birthdays the way that we do.

I wonder whether that’s my fault.

I was born on Christmas Eve. It isn’t the most convenient time to have a birthday for lots of reasons. Some of those reasons are obvious, some of them less so. My birthday was always celebrated in my family, but as one of five kids, and, obviously they couldn’t help it because they were children, the other four were preoccupied with thoughts of Christmas. Talk for weeks before was about Christmas, and everyone was choosing toys. It wasn’t just about me. Their birthdays were spread right through the year. I didn’t envy my closest sister so much, because her birthday was in January, but my oldest sister’s birthday was in  May, and both of my brothers celebrate their birthdays in August. I often thought how wonderful that must be. No one was thinking of anything but their day when it came around. Christmas didn’t get in the way of that.

Neither did they have to wait an entire year for something. A year is a long time when you’re ten or twelve, and it’s even longer when you’re only four or five. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, and I’m certainly not blaming anyone, but Christmas is a big deal. It should be a big deal, and my mother pulled out the stops every year. There was always a very great deal to do. My birthday was always remembered and it was always celebrated, but it isn’t terribly easy to persuade other people to bring their kids out for a birthday party on Christmas Eve, because they’ve always got other commitments. Let’s face it, my mother had other commitments organising Christmas for a family of seven. She did great things my mum, and she never wavered in her commitment to me, but still, I rather wish I’d been born on midsummer’s day.

Being born on Christmas Eve always sounded more special then than it felt.

You’d be amazed how often I still get Christmas cards with, “and by the way Happy Birthday” in them. My birthday is a ‘by the way’.

It’s fine. It’s not as if I’m not used to it, and I’m not whining. I’m too old for regrets and I’m too old to whine, and, besides, the husband always gives me a fabulous birthday. There is always a meal and he always ensures that there are no Christmas decorations on the table and that the Christmas menu is kept at arms length. There is always a little drunkenness and there is always Singing in the Rain. Every birthday is a treat and every one is exactly as it should be. Every birthday is also a wonderful way to begin Christmas.

Anyway, I wonder if it is because of my own birthdays that we make such a fuss of family birthdays now. We do BIG birthdays. We pull out the stops. We do birthday stockings and big presents, and we celebrate as if celebrating is going out of style.

This year, the dort’s birthday falls on a Saturday and the husband’s birthday falls on a Sunday, and they are both grown ups. We will begin tonight, because... well... why wouldn’t we?

I’m looking forward to this weekend, and I know that the husband is too. I hope the dort is. I know there are small disappointments for her that happen for anyone in her age group. She’s going through a time of change, disruption, finding her feet, and with that there are bound to be highs and lows. I hope that this weekend will prove a high point. We’ll see.

Right, off to work. There’s a lot to get done today, before we can all clock off for the weekend. I’m going to wish the dort and the husband a very Happy Birthday, and I’ll see all of you fine people on the other side.


  1. Nicola Picola. I can't bear birthdays. I think I liked them a lot until I was about 12 and almost broke my neck on The Day Itself. And I don't really like Christmas. I think this is why I keep forgetting what date it is on. I'm not kidding, Nik. I'm quite envious of people who love birthdays and Christmas though. Like people who love the place they're from or the place they live now. That would be nice. I'd like all that, maybe. This year we shall be attending a (my) family Christmas for the first time in 25 years. I'll be making an effort, I will, but I shall be managing my expectations with a mixed selection of fortified wine. Have a wonderful birthday weekend! jenny x (I don't know what those profiles mean, so I picked 'Anonymous' because I know what that means, though I'm bloody not.)

    1. Wow Jenny! That got the old senses tingling and put a smile on my face! No one's called me Picola in a very long time. Everyone has taken me far too seriously since I was… Oh, I don't know… maybe four years old. Brava Jenny! You just made my day.

    2. Well, if I made yours, then my own is now complete.