Happy birthday to me (for tomorrow). Officially into the last year of my 20s, one step closer to dying alone and being eaten by Bob (the cat). Ha ha.
I had decided I wasn't up for doing a big thing for my birthday this year. Hosting parties tends to stress me out - will everyone turn up? Will there be enough food? (There is ALWAYS enough food, since I come from the "prepare for an attack from the eating equivalent of Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde" school of catering, as exemplified by my father, but doesn't stop me stressing about it for the next time.) Will they have fun? Will it be awkward and everyone will hold an impromptu ceremony to crown me Worst Hostess Ever? So I decided just to have a drink with Liz, my best friend in Tours. Also, I'd bought a bottle of champagne (Taittinger, in honour of our visit to the caves and the fact that it is delicious) and, being the selfish type, I wanted to share it with as few people as possible while not being sad and drinking a bottle of champagne all by myself on my birthday. However, just before I left work on Friday I got a facebook message from Stephanie, the American girl I met recently and went to the pretend-80s club with, asking if I wanted to grab a drink with her, so I decided to invite her around too. Again, because I'm a selfish person, I told her to come over an hour after Liz, so that we could quaff the champagne before she got there. Ha, I feel bad, but if you can't be a greedy champagne hoarder on (well, just before) your birthday, when can you be?
Liz blew me away with my birthday present. Way back last Christmas we were in Paris for the day together before flying out to Liverpool and Bristol, respectively, in the evening. Liz knows Paris better than I do, so she took us trawling through the Asian clothes shops by Republique. I think she wanted gloves or something. Anyway, I really wanted to buy this bag, but in the end I didn't get it because I was worried I was already going to be overweight with my luggage on EasyJet - I was going back to the UK with something like 5 bottles of wine, plus all my Christmas presents. When I came back through Paris to put my parents on the plane back to the UK, I tried to find the shop again - after all, usually when I stay in Paris I stay in a hostel right by Republique, so it should have been easy. But I couldn't find the street even, let alone the shop with the bag. So almost a year later, you can imagine how chuffed I was that Liz remembered the bag I wanted (I haven't thought about it or mentioned it to her since I tried to find it last January) and found it in Paris for me. What a star! And here it is, modelled by moi:
I then made Liz take a million photos with me and the champagne, including pretending to drink it straight from the bottle (ugly chin wattle photo not pictured), so we were concerned it might be shaken up upon opening. Liz stood by to catch any spray, but the bottle was opened without incident. 5 minutes later when I opened the fridge again to get some canapes out, the shelf, unable to take the weight of a bottle of champagne and 2 bottles of bubbly, collapsed. Hilarity ensued as I acted swiftly to save the champagne, which first spilled on the floor and then started foaming out. Not being the type to waste good champagne, I drank as much as I could straight from the bottle for real this time, until it stopped spraying. Bit of a bummer, but we didn't lose too much champers I don't think.
This wasn't even the first time that evening that the fridge had let me down. The fridge is officially known as the Frozen Fridge of Doom, since it is ridiculously cold. I've tried turning it all the way down to 1, all the way up to 6 and leaving it in the middle, but it still insists on freezing all my stuff. I often dive in for some hummus, or the cat's food, for example, only to find it frozen solid. It is good for keeping things like vegetables fresh for longer though, I must admit. But even I was surprised when I went to get some lemon to squeeze on to my smoked salmon canapes and found that the lemon was frozen solid. Who knew that was even possible?
The Frozen Fridge of Doom. This is to show the ice build-up at the back, not the apparent lack of human food in there.
Me and my Taittinger, we love each other. Me and my Taittinger, always together...
Liz enjoying the privilege of getting some champagne
Bit blurry, but a nice photo of me and Liz having a larf I think
Me, Liz and Stephanie
Anyway, it was a nice evening, good to catch up with Liz, who I haven't seen in ages because she's been taking a course 9-5 and then teaching her classes at night, so busy busy. I have my actual birthday off tomorrow, so I'll have to think of something nice to do with myself. It was raining non-stop yesterday, so I was quite happy (well, as happy as humanly possible under the circumstances) to be in bed with a hangover all day.
A couple of random photos:
The evil spider who attacked me within seconds of my sitting down on the couch the other day. Credit where credit's due, he was still in the same spot when I got back from work, so I was able to kill him right away instead of worrying he might get on my knee again. Shudder! He's dead here, so imagine him not curled up and scary and on your knee. Eek! It took me about half a can of fly spray to kill him, then a lot of courage to dispose of the corpse. And then I had to wash the blanket he'd been on, partly because it had fly spray all over it, and partly because it had had a spider crawling all over it.
I've already ranted about how I paid La Poste 23 euros to redirect my mail, even though I'd changed my address with everyone I could think of, just so I could get the tax bill, and how it turned out they have a policy not to forward mail from the tax department. Well, here is the one and only piece of mail I've had redirected so far, an ad from the Monoprix supermarket. This is the side that the original address label was on...
And here's the other side:
Talk about useless! Not that I really care about a Monoprix ad, but supposing I did, way to stick a giant label over half of the information. What if it had been a postcard or something? Why not just stick the new address label over the old one? Or even just take a slight bit of care as to the label's placement? Nope, don't give a monkey's, La Poste.
And here's Bob, during cuddle time on the couch. He comes and hangs about on the floor next to the couch but won't jump up, so I have to lift him up and then he snuggles in between me and the back of the couch, often with his little paws on my shoulder (hence the blurry close-up). Look at his little round head, aw. Good news, Liz is staying in Tours for Christmas, so she is going to feed him. Yay!