Sunday 28 September 2008

Wicked Weekend

Have now decided I should have become an Officially Old Person years ago! I've had a truly amazing birthday weekend - great plan having a "special" (thanks lovely Debs for this kind euphemism!) Friday birthday because it meant the celebrations could continue into Saturday and Sunday - and they did! Oh, believe me they did. One of my presents from The Toyboy Trucker was a dinky little pink and lilac digital camera, and when I've learned how to delete the worst of the awful fat, multi-chinned, gurning, hung-over pics (big mistake allowing Elle to show me how the camera worked...), I'll attempt to post one or two of the censored ones on the blog at a later date.

As a suitable celebratory present for An Old Person, Elle and The Doctor gave me a truly amazing hot air balloon flight complete with iced champagne. I was practically beside myself with excitement as this has been top of my "things to do before I die" list for ever. However, this, on the morning after drinking my way along the liqueurs shelf of the restaurant at Friday night's family party, was deemed as Not A Good Idea, but I think the hang-over-anesthetic worked well in quashing any nerves I might have had. I couldn't wait and I absolutely loved it!!!!

The Toyboy Trucker came with me (Elle and The Doctor both wimped out at the last minute claiming sudden attacks of vertigo). It's an experience I'll never forget as long as I live.

I did have quite a few of my misconceptions about balloon flights corrected, though - like the pilots have to train with instructors and gain flying hours before they can get their licences - just like with any other flying machines. Stupidly, I think I'd just assumed anyone could buy a balloon and take-off willy-nilly without any rules and regulations. Now I know differently - balloon flights are as tightly regulated as anything else that goes up, up and away. And then there was the noise. From the ground balloons appear silent, and while much of the flight was certainly that, once those burners get going they roar like angry dragons! But oh, it was so serene - and the sensation of flying so slowly and smoothly, just going wherever the thermals and currents took you, gliding with the wind in your face and people all staring up from below on such a gloriously warm and sunny Autumn day was just wonderful. A dream come true...

It was all over too quickly for me and as soon as we'd landed (smoothly, only a bit of a bump despite being prepared in the briefing for all sorts of lumpy landings) I just wanted to go back and do it all over again. I'll definitely use it in a novel - it's very, very romantic being up in the sky, unfettered and unhindered - and in America they have balloon weddings (must have bigger baskets?) which the UK hasn't licenced yet. Do wish they would because it would make a fantastic happy-ever-after...

Then on Saturday night - just when I'd thought it couldn't get any better - The Toyboy Trucker said to make sure my feet stayed on the ground we were going into town for a quiet dinner for two. And I believed him! Hah! We drove into Oxford and ended up at Shanghai 30s - the most sublime Chinese restaurant (it's had rave reviews from all the broadsheets and is the sort of place I've looked at from outside and sighed wistfully) - which is in an Elizabethan house (all twisty narrow staircases, linen-fold panelled walls, and tiny rooms) where Elle and The Doctor and all our friends were waiting in a private room which they'd spent all afternoon decorating (hence the wimping out of the flight) with umpteen balloons and masses of sparkly things and candles everywhere and it was like walking into a fairy grotto. It was so amazing and unexpected that I burst into tears. The food was wonderful, the service out of this world, and between the umpteen courses I worked my way through the cocktail menu... It was a fabulous, fabulous night - and again something I'll remember forever.

Then on Sunday, to round off this spectacular weekend, Elle and I went to a Wedding Fair which was being held in the glorious stately home where she and The Doctor are getting married. This was my first venture into the world of wedding fairs - and blimey, what an eye-opener (even for someone with a double hang-over!). There were things there I'd never dreamed anyone could have/want/need at a wedding (or anywhere else). Amazing stuff. As someone whose entire wedding cost £45 (without the fireworks and champagne, but including the fish and chips) I simply drifted round the wonderful 14th century halls, overcome with emotion, and pretty sure that I'll be awash come Easter when I'm there again in my Mother of the Bride role... Elle and The Doctor seem to already have most things arranged, but I did get a bit overexcited and booked them a chocolate fountain...

Now my OOP (Officially Old Person) celebrations are over I really must, must, must knuckle down and write Moonshine because it's nearly October and I have a feeling I'm supposed to be delivering it in about 6 weeks time - aaargh!!!!


Jayne said...

Sounds like a beautiful weekend! I'm glad you had such a fantastic time :)

Christina Jones said...

Thanks mummy - yes it was truly wonderful. All unexpected and exciting and romantic and friendly and lovely.... roll on next year!

Pat Posner said...

Belated Birthday Greetings!
Sounds like you had a really special time!

Margaret McDonagh said...

Age is but a number on paper. If attitude of mind and sheer spirit are factored in, you have a few decades to go before you will ever be old!

So thrilled you had such a fab time. I would definitely have been on the ground waving enthusiastically, however! I need my feet on solid ground and my head in fresh air! But it must have been an incredible experience and I am delighted you were able to cross such a long-desired before-I-die treat off your list. Not to mention several parties and numerous drinks!

Yet again we are deadline buddies. How on earth it can be October today I don't know. But somehow we will spur each other on to finish in six weeks. Won't we?!

Speak soon.

Lots of love,
Mags xxx

Christina Jones said...

pat - thanks so much! It was a blast - but now have to get back to reality pdq!!!

mags - yep, deadline buddies yet again. Of course we can do it - erk-eek!!! - we can, can't we??? Six weeks is AGES... And talking of age, no I'm not *that* old - inside I think I'm about 17, although I'm not sure my brain has reached there yet!