My Mam made the trip from Wales to see me the day before my birthday. She arrived with us early Saturday evening, stayed with us a bit - bringing with her some free range duck eggs that had been brought for me by Jo (a family friend; the same Jo who Mam was maid of honor too recently) - then we went out for dinner. She'd booked a table for us at the resteraunt for the Royal Victoria Hotel that's down the road. Kelly had asked them and they'd assured him they had, "plenty of vegetarian options" so I agreed we'd go and try it. We wish we hadn't bothered going there now.
Their "vegetarian options" was a pasta meal (how is one thing "options"? unless they meant I could have from the "bar menu" wich would have expanded it to include a baked potato with cheese and beans, and chips - with or without cheese). And even Mam, who does eat meat, wouldn't eat what was on the menu (mostly spicy meats or steak type things). So we weren't impressed. We were just wondering if - and if so, how - we could duck out of our reservation and go eat somewhere else without upsetting people too much (especially since my Mam had to sleep there that night) when someone gave us a perfect oppertunity to slip out and have a reason not to go back.
Now, before I go on I'd like to say one thing; I know fires are dangerous, and I don't like fire alarms going off (especially when the sound is closely followed by the sounds of the sirens on fire engines and police cars), but sometimes fire alarms happen at just the right time. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it was on Saturday.
Yes, that's right, that was what saved us; the fire alarm went off.
At first they thought it was a drill, then they came and said, "ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid it does look as though there may be a fire, so I'm afraid you're going to have to evacuate the building." And, I'm sorry, but we couldn't help being just a little relieved. I mean, that would mean we wouldn't be allowed back in for some time, so who could blame us then for going elsewhere for food, right?
Like I said, I REALLY don't like hearing fire alarms going off; and, I'm pleased to report, for the benifit of anyone interested, that nobody seems to have been harmed in the fire, and it was caught before it did any serious damage; people were allowed back in the building soon afterwards. But we couldn't help feeling slightly relieved that we had an oppertunity to escape without causing offense (I told Mam to tell anyone who asked that we were sorry, but we needed to eat and weren't sure how long it would be before we could go back in, so since we hadn't ordered we decided to go elsewhere; especially since Mam is diabetic so should eat regularly, really).
Anyway, we ended up going back to my place and ordering pizza, since by this time Mam was starting to feel a bit unwell, and we knew the pizza would come quickly (I'd expected to be out for dinner, so I didn't have anything she could eat that could be made quicker than a pizza could arrive). Kelly and Kero didn't mind; it meant they got pizza too, since how could we order pizza without including them? (Actually, they'd have been invited for dinner if it wasn't for the fact that the hotel allows pets, but they don't allow them in the resteraunt and bar areas).
I know pizza isn't the best thing for a diabetic, but we had to get her something to eat, and with the time of night it was by this time we didn't have many options.
Anyway, we've come to the conclusion that the hotel itself is wonderful; reasonable price, great views from the windows (according to Mam) and she was pretty pleased with the room she used. But the resteraunt... We would never recommend it!
After pizza, Mam insisted I had the little presents she'd brought me on Saturday evening while she was with me. I did give a half-hearted attempt at pointing out my birthday wasn't until the next day, so I should wait, but - as expected - it made no difference, so I had them on Saturrday evening before my Mam left. And here they are...
A bag of love:
A daughter plaque:
I refused to open my birthday cards though, because mostly it was just having my birthday cards that was planned for the actual day of my birthday, and I insisted on making sure they were all left to be opened together when I got up on Sunday morning.
As it turned out I got up really early on Sunday morning; I was up at 5:00 am, LOL!
I had several birthday cards:
These are the ones from my parents and my Nan:
Did you notice the one from my Nan has cartoon characters on it? Angelica Pickles, etc...
These are the ones from my parents:
The one that's very slightly bigger than the other is from my Mam.
These are the cards from my brothers:
The Hello Kitty one is from Wayne (and his girlfriend, Amy) and the dog one is from Carl.
Here's Wayne's card again with another of my cards:
And the rest of my cards:
One of them is from my Grandma and Jayde, one is from Jo (the same Jo who sent the eggs), one is from Rita and Karma, and one is from little Emma.
Here's the inside of Rita's card (taken because of the little picture inside it):
And the inside of the card from my Grandma and Jayde (taken for the same reason):
And the inside of Emma's card, to show the "writings" she did in it for me:
When they were writing the card she held her little hand out for the pen and said, "writings," so they handed her the pen and the card and she did her, "writings," in it. She also made it very easy for me to tell which card was the one from her by scrunching the card up a bit and giving it a little taste. LOL!
I also found an e-card waiting in my inbox from AliceKay when I got up Sunday morning.
I ended up with about £40 birthday money, which I've mostly put aside towards my laptop and Jaws update that I want at the start of next year. I donated £5 of it to Harry's Fund though, after reading about it on a recent post that Owen did on his blog.
I also got these two audiobooks:
The Jean M Auel book that came out at the start of the year (the new one for her "Earth's Children" series), and a "Doctor Who" one. The Jean M Auel book was from my Grandma, and the Doctor Who one was from Kelly. It was Tuesday before I actually got the Doctor Who one, but you'll learn why when you read the rest of this post.
That was it for birthday celebrations on my actual birthday though... Unless you count the VERY LONG - clost to 3 hours, I think - phone conversation with Carl. Well, we don't talk very often, so when we do we usually lose track of time and talk for a couple of hours; costs whoever calls a fortune, since our "free call" time runs out after an hour, but neither of us remember to keep track of time unless we have to be somewhere at a spacific time, LOL! Anyway, enough of that... on to Monday...
Kero needed to be at Doggy Daycare for 9:30am, and we weren't sure how long it would take us to get there, so we'd arranged to leave about 9:00am. Turned out it only took about 5 minutes to get there, so we were really early. Oh well, better early than late, right? That's what I always say, anyway!
Our original plan had been to drop Kero off, go for breakfast, go in to Hastings so Kelly could take me to Waterstones (my favourite book shop, since their selection is fantastic) and to the Blue Reef Aquarium. Then we were going to go for an early dinner before picking up Kero. However, we'd had a bit of a misunderstanding, and - thinking I only wanted him in for a couple of hours in the morning - Sylvia (the doggy daycare woman) hadn't arranged for someone to be there to help her with him when she needed to walk her dogs, and she knew there was no way she could do Kero and her dogs (she has four large dogs, as you'll know if you read Kero's post yesterday). So we changed our plans, and here's what we did instead:
After we dropped Kero off we went straight for breakfast. We went to a cafe Kelly's taken quite a liking to called "Cafe Latte" which does a vegetarian breakfast that I wanted to try. The breakfast consisted of fried eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns, a vegetarian sausage and potato pancakes, but I asked if the potato pancakes could be switched to toast or fried bread (they gave me the fried bread). I had some orange juice with it. Anyway, it was really nice, and - despite pretty much everything in it being fried - wasn't too greasy, so I was pleased with it.
After breakfast we went to run a few errands; we ordered Kero some new tags for his collar (which we'd been meaning to do since we moved over a month ago), fetched something I needed from the pharmacy, checked on the progress of our doorbell order, and - to make up for the fact I wasn't getting to go to town or the aquarium - Kelly took me in the bakery so I could pick something nice. I went with a cherry pie and a little iced cupcake (both of which were really nice, by the way).
We thought we wouldn't be able to go for dinner after all, but - on the off chance - I asked Kelly to ask them if they did anything that could be taken away, since I'd been looking forward to trying the place. They told us they'll do sandwiches to take away, but I'd have more choice if I could eat in. So I explained that we'd not long had breakfast so I wasn't ready for anything right now, but that we'd planned to come in for dinner only to find our doggy sitter couldn't have the dog all day so we couldn't come. He laughed, and I wondered why until he said, "well, then bring the dog with you. We have plenty of dogs who come in here." So - pleased that I could still try the place out, and that they were nice enough to allow dogs - I said we would and that we'd be back, "in the afternoon some time," (since they didn't seem to need an exact time for a booking). And Kelly and I agreed we'd go back, "about 3:00pm ish," since that's when we'd planned to go for our early dinner originally.
So, we went home, and had been in long enough to put away the couple of things we'd grabbed in town when Sylvia called to tell me Kero was done, since we'd arranged for her to call when he was done being groomed and that's when we'd call the taxi to take us to pick him up. So, off we went to get Kero. Then we came home and rested until it was time to go for dinner, since there wasn't really time to go in to Hastings and still make it for dinner when I wanted to go. Not because it's far away, but because by the time we got there we wouldn't be able to do much before we needed to head home. Plus, I think Kero needed a nap, LOL!
Anyway, then we went to the cafe I'd been dying to try. The place is called "The Love Cafe" and I absolutely love it there! Seriously, I could happily spend hours there! It seems to me like it's a sort of new age cafe; new age music playing in the background, so many vegetarian and vegan options I didn't know what to pick first, and they even serve herbal teas! Plus, they were really friendly, and so were the customers in there. It was a wonderful atmosphere. And, yes, the food was great too! I ordered a "vegan breakfast" which was grilled tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms, vegan sausages, beans, grilled potato slices and wholemeal toast. I had it with freshly squeezed orange juice. It was so tasty!
There was a bit of a delay in the arrival of my toast due to them putting butter not soy spread on it (I didn't have the heart to tell them they needn't have worried and that I do eat dairy items; will have to remember to point that out before ordering things with toast next time to save them wasting their toast). I'd enjoyed the vegetarian breakfast that morning, but I enjoyed the vegan one even more! And, as I already said, I could have quite happily stayed there longer; even when my food ran out. LOL!
We'd forgotten to get orange juice when we were running errands, and our plan had been to get it on the way home (I was going to stand outside the shop with Kero) but I managed to persuade Kelly to leave me in the cafe with Kero while he fetched the juice. I made it seem like it would take me a bit to finish my food and juice, though in reality - I'm sure he knew this, but knew what I was doing - I had only a mouthful or two left and a sip of juice; I just wanted to stay there a bit longer. ;)
Anyway, in the end I ran out of excuses to stay there, so we went home. It had been an exhausting day all round, and we all had early nights Monday night; so, on to Tuesday...
Kelly went in to Hastings by himself. I wanted to go, but at that point we weren't sure what was happening with Sylvia returning Kero's collar, plus the fact it was really cold (and threatening rain) and we didn't want to make Kero stand outside shops for too long in that weather. So I told him to go without us. That's when he came home with the "Doctor Who" audiobook for me, and a few things I'd asked him to grab for people for Christmas presents. I also have an audio version of "Twilight" on its way to me from Kelly, which should arrive any day. I do have the books as text files, but scrolling through text files is annoying which means I'm not getting very far with reading it. So, when we saw it was on sale online (down from £25 to a little over £14) I knew I "had to" have it! It will arrive any day now.
So, there you go, that's my birthday this year. And it's not over yet, since I know there's a package on its way to me right now (and I'm not talking about the "Twilight" book either, I'm talking about another package that's on its way to me). No, wait... I have two packages on the way to me. Well, unless one of them comes today between when I'm writing this post and the time I've scheduled it to be posted.