The weekend started early – on Friday night, with a trip to the cinema. My mum, stepdad, boyfriend, sister and me all trooped on the rainy summer evening to a sort of out-of-town entertainment complex that I haven’t been to since I was about 15. For that matter, I don’t think I have been to the cinema with my entire family (and certainly not on a Friday night) since I was about 15. It was great. We went to TGI Friday’s, where I shared a milkshake with my sister and ate an amazing burger called ‘The Monster’; then we went to see Prometheus in 3D. My first 3D film and it didn’t disappoint – I thoroughly enjoyed every minute, particularly those involving Noomi Rapace (and, OK, Fassbender).
On Saturday, it was my birthday! I was woken by the lovely small dog and a cup of tea, and then presents. Considering I thought I had probably had it with presents now until 40, it really was an embarrassment of riches. Beautiful books on Leonard Cohen and Lucian Freud, along with some fabulous pieces from APC, from my boyfriend who knows me so well. Perfect jeans and cool running clothes – and a Kindle! – from my parents. Summer lounging pants so comfy – and so cool I want to wear them out – from my sister. Holiday treats from my Nan. Running accessories and birthday cakes from Tom and Jonny; Champagne from Lou and Chad; a bracelet all the way from St John from Sherri; a very well-judged book from Joyce; very useful cheques from my dad and in-laws. What a lucky lady.
Dressed and breakfasted, I popped in to see my Nan for a birthday cup of tea, then headed by boat to The Bounty. We ate cheesy chips and Jonny’s cakes, had a few drinks, even enjoyed a bit of sunshine. Friends dropped in, there was much chatting and even a pug puppy, and it was just the sort of chilled out birthday I had imagined. After some Champagne and much hilarity on the boat back, we were even home in time for a curry!
Sunday saw a lovely lie-in (followed by cookery programmes in bed with my mum and Lily the dog, which is our favourite thing to do when I am home for the weekend), and then a day of hanging around at home and cooking. A day in the kitchen with my mum is my favourite. The others variously watched the Kardashians and played computer games while we made many, many cakes and a vat of coronation chicken. We sang along with the radio and then my nan came over and we watched the Jubilee river pageant on TV while we chopped and stirred and timed. She told us the story of the coronation, 60 years ago – when her husband had bought a television especially for the occasion, only to find on the big day that it didn’t work, and so they all had to troop round to Mrs Dent’s (my great-aunt’s mother-in-law and the only person they knew with a TV set) to watch it. We rounded off the evening with The Inbetweeners movie – surprisingly sweet and totally enjoyable.
Monday saw the Jubilee party itself, the destination of all those cakes and chicken. A street party in my parents’ very nice road, with other specially invited guests welcome. Both Louises wore amazing Jubilee-themed frocks. Josh devised an official Royal quiz (in which we came second-to-last). The food was great and the music and dancing even more so. The late-night-festival style coldness only added to the Englishness of the occasion – we all huddled under blankets and in borrowed jumpers, as we noted that we hadn’t encountered this very specific feeling since long-ago Glastonburys. Eventually, Jimmy, Chad, Lou, Katy and I admitted defeat and headed indoors for a cup of tea (and a last plate of lasagne, in my case) before bed – but I’m pleased to report that my parents and their friends were up dancing until 3am.
When we woke up and headed out to help with the clear-up yesterday morning, there were empty beer bottles discarded behind the curtains, and the badminton racquets used as makeshift guitars strewn across the sofa. The marquees and trestle tables were already coming down outside as we made cups of tea for the troops. When the job was done we fortified ourselves with coronation chicken sandwiches in front of Friends.
It wasn’t long before Jimmy and I had to haul ourselves onto the train home to Brighton, happily laden down with walnut cake and presents. We made it back in record time and so had the afternoon to ourselves at home. As we ate noodles and watched some David Attenborough, we felt that familiar combination of cosiness, bittersweet sadness and delayed Sunday blues. I played with my Kindle and we had a nap to Star Wars and fell asleep on the sofa.
And now it starts again.