I got another year older on Monday and it was nothing more than an excuse to book the day off work and do absolutely nothing. It must be a sign of getting older, because I didn't really want to do very much and besides my 25th birthday, I couldn't really be bothered to plan anything. As a kid, I always looked forward to my birthday because it was always in the half-term holidays, and that meant that I didn't have to go to school and could afford the time to have a party or hang out with friends and stuff. Once I'd left school, the novelty of having a birthday that falls on the half-term holidays soon wears thin when you can't get into a restaurant for nice evening dinner because it's full of families or kids that really should be back at home by now.
To say that the day was pretty sedate is a bit of an understatement because in reality it was practically moribund. I wasn't upset or anything, but it's hard to really feel anything when you're probably depressed. I was neither disappointed nor elated, and I'd been working a late shift on the Sunday night, so the lazy part of me would've wanted for nothing more than a lie in until the afternoon. But seeing as the clocks had gone back on the Sunday and the darkness draws in a lot sooner these days, I had to literally force myself out of bed. It's funny how as you get older, you sort of have less of a want for material things, and you appreciate more the thought that somebody actually bothered to get you anything at all when you don't really deserve it. I got a few bits and pieces and I opened them in bed, whilst Seth set about making me some pancakes from scratch with some epic (but hideously rich) chocolate sauce thing. Sadly, there are no pictures – I'd demolished the pancakes before I even thought to capture the moment they were delivered to my half-awake self.
My parents had made an attempt to pop round the night before, but Seth and I were both working, so I got home to find several items had been rammed through our letterbox. Items included: several bags of dried mangoes, a Women's Health Bible (worryingly, with a supporting testimonial by the Daily Mail) and a birthday card full of photographs of me when I was just a toddler. I wasn't sure about what to make of most of it, given I have not seen my parents in a very long time, but I think they think I'm practically incapable of looking after myself and that all of life's problems can be solved by a Dr Ali.
One of my pen pals and fellow railway girl Cloe had got me a bright hi-vi orange satchel for just after my operation (more about that some other time) and I'd said this was very generous of her as it wasn't even my birthday at the time, so I decided to treat the satchel as an early birthday present from her. My best friend Kate got me some goodies from Lush, and it came in this really bright wrapping paper with lots of colourful fruit on. Both were pretty cheerful to look at on such a miserable and cloudy morning:
My friends Lorna and Neil (who live all the way in Plymouth) sent me some really cute pencils, a little pocket mirror (which I decided would be great to take with me to work as I though the guys would find it funny) and a cute cat print of a cat silently judging:
(For those of you that don't know already, I very much like cats, and I very much like passive-aggressive swearing.)
Carrying on with the cats theme and all things kawaii, Seth got me a new Pusheen plushie and a new lightweight prime lens for my camera. The cute lion card and the tissue paper was from Paperchase. Man did well:
(Pusheen is sometimes the answer to everything. Feeling shit? Go and have a look at Pusheen cartoons.)
After moping in bed for about 4 hours, Seth was starting to show the strained signs of hunger after waiting on me all morning. I really didn't want to go out, but I felt slightly obligated to do so. Eventually we saw ourselves onto a train to Waterloo and after much shrugging of shoulders on my part, I was guided towards Yo! Sushi and we were sat by the belt ready to eat. I think I'd managed nine plates before I'd decided to call it a day, and Seth had gone for the bigger and more expensive ones, though it didn't matter as we managed to make use of a birthday voucher code I got in an e-mail. Seth's wallet was a winner, and so was my stomach.
The original "plan" was to go out for dinner in the evening, but with the light fading fast as we stood on the upper concourse watching the railway station's hustle and bustle below, I found my enthusiasm waning too. To think it was only 15:00 and that it already looked like that golden light was beaming down onto everything was pretty depressing. But that's Seasonal Affective Disorder for you.
We wandered outside into the afternoon sun and past the IMAX, both somewhat disappointed that we hadn't been able to get tickets for Spectre as we'd left it a bit too late. Strolling down to the Royal Festival Hall and the South Bank, it was pretty busy, and inside the Royal Festival Hall there was music playing and a whole load of people ballroom dancing on the little dance floor opposite the bar. We're not into dancing, so we went around to the other side where there's a small café that looks out to the Queen's Walk and the Thames, and we sat down with some hot drinks and so that I could bask in the last of the fading golden light.
Seth is busy at work with it being leaf-fall season, and so would have to get up really early the following morning anyway, so once we'd finished our drinks I'd conceded defeat to going home and we put ourselves on a train back to Brentford.
It had grown dark now by the time we did get home. I said I didn't want a birthday cake this year.