I have recently had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday, achieving the milestone age of 32. Excitingly, this is the only time in my life that my age is exactly half that of my Dads. I’m not sure if there is a word for that phenomenon, but there should be. A demi-père perhaps.
This birthday, which I celebrated in France with my folks (the first time in 17 years that I’ve spent my birthday with them) was particularly notable for being a white birthday. Europe being somewhat coated in the snowy stuff at the moment.
This meant that all kinds of exciting snow related shenanigans could take place, including the obligatory attempt to slide down a hill on a piece of plastic, and the creation of snow angels. Just because I’m 32 doesn’t mean I have to be a grown up too.
It also nearly put a spanner in the works of our lunch plans, as both us and our local restaurant were entirely snowed in – this part of France not being used to dealing with snow of this magnitude, and things like grit and snow ploughs not featuring heavily in the local mairie’s arsenal. As the photo below of our road demonstrates.
What actually happened, however, was far nicer than a lunch time cancellation. After ringing the restaurant, to find that they had been forced to close as no-one could make it, they invited us over for lunch anyway, as we are in easy walking distance. The food had, after all, already been prepared. In fact, they said, we could come over whenever we wanted, as alcohol was in plentiful supply.
So it was that we found ourselves walking through the heavy snow to the mill down by the river, and had lunch sitting next to an enormous log fire for warmth. The food was, as always, excellent, a warm goats cheese salad, followed by rabbit main and then, excitingly, a birthday cake which seemed to be some magical tiramisu layered concoction.
This was the first of three amazing cakes of the day – having both a mother and girlfriend in attendance for my birthday meant I was getting two cakes already. The third cake being the icing on the cake. As it were. I can report that all three were splendid.
Lunch was pretty damn splendid, as you can imagine, and being a French affair, lasted for over three hours. Lunch is a very serious thing round here. They also refused to let us pay for it, which was rather too incredible for words.
Post lunch, as I’m sure you can imagine, largely involved some lying around and feeling overly stuffed, followed by further cake eating, after which I did my best to wear myself out fully by rediscovering my inner child in the snow. All in all, a damn fine birthday!