Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday today and it’s raining. It never rains on my birthday. There’s a time and a place for everything.

The seagulls are swirling inland, caw, caw, cawing, far away from stormy waters. The rooks dive-bomb a hovering buzzard and a passing car crunches an ambling snail.

My mother recalls this moment 49 years ago when she went out to the cowstalls at six-thirty, to take my father his morning cup of tea. A short while later, she bedded down in our front room and gave birth to me, the youngest of five (and only one of them a boy) at a quarter to nine.

When my father came in for breakfast the midwife told him he'd had another daughter. Family folklore says he turned round very quickly and headed back to the cowstalls.

But I was the youngest and spoilt rotten. Brown eyes like coal and nicknamed ‘Sausage’ because I was so deliciously fat. I was a terrific sulker who would dive under the nearest table if I didn’t get my own way. I once poured milk into the Roberts wireless because no-one was listening to me.

It still happens now occasionally – the table trick, I mean. I’m tempted to do it this morning in protest at the rain.

After opening my cards (with an especially slushy one from Mr Grigg) I drive along the top road next to the BBC World Service masts. But I give the radio a miss, listening instead to my birthday CDs, the Incredible Bongo Band and funk and soul classics from the 80s, the water spraying in my wake as I bellow to Chaka Khan .

It can rain all it likes. Today is a good day.


  1. Happy Birthday Maddie, despite the rain I hope you're having a wonderful day :)

  2. Like the blackberries! Hope to pick some at the weekend.
    I don't remember you being too badly behaved at Gleneagle Road!
    Have a great day x

  3. Happy Birthday To You. Have a good one.

  4. Happy birthday - how wonderful to know the circumstances of your birthday! Rain is the world opening a big bottle of bubbly to celebrate ;)

  5. Happy Birthday Maggie!!
    Never mind the soggy day - hope you have a fabulous birthday with those you hold dearest. :-)

    (Long-time lurker & avid reader of your blog)

  6. HAPPY Birthday!!! I loved your post celebrating it and can not imagine ANYONE ever ignoring YOU! You are much more interesting than a radio program! Hope your day is the very best! From someone in Texas!

  7. Happy Birthday! Hopefully the rain will diminish, and all will brighten. :)

  8. Happy Birthday Mrs Grigg!
    I haven't commented on your blog before, but I'm an avid reader. I was born and bred in a village near Dorchester and your blog makes me feel like I have come home again.
    Thank you and have a wonderful day x

  9. Happy birthday! Loved the idea of you pouring milk all over the radio in a strop.

  10. "Happy Birthday" from a distant reader in California... =)

  11. Happy birthday, Maddie. May you have many, many more!

  12. Happy birthday to a fellow Ox... that's the chinese year that you were born in.

    best wishes for many more wonderful birthdays.

  13. Happy Birthday!....belated but heartfelt - I enjoy your posts a whole lot!

  14. A very happy birthday to you and thanks for a good story every time you post and especially today.


  15. I'm late to the party but I wish you a belated happy birthday! Wishing you many more to come.

  16. And a belated happy birthday Maddie from me too! Hope the day continued to be good - I'm sure it did. It rained on my birthday too this year - but it was still a great one, despite my worst fears - and you can't beat a good lung full of Chaka Khan (oops, showing my age now too!)


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