My nephew Jake has just returned from a trip to Rome. It was a surprise birthday gift from his girlfriend, Sam. Thoughtful Man and I went there, 25 years ago for our honeymoon.
Jake brought his mum back a gift. Something she would appreciate…
*/squint… Yeah, we know David is in Florence knot Rome, Click. Butt I’m telling the story of my afternoon…*
“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday Mrs Minge…”
I opened the front door a little wider to let Juju in, without letting a very excited Poppy out.
“… Happy birthday to you.” Juju finished her greeting and kissed me on both cheeks.
Our dopey dachshund rolled onto her back, presenting her soft, pink belly and wagged her tail. An arc of pee hit Juju’s shoe.
“Ugh, Mistress Ploppy! Every time!” Juju laughed. I handed her a roll of conveniently place kitchen towel and made for the kitchen. Now, sister just loves to make an entrance but, as far as Princess Poppy is concerned, any accompanying splash is entirely the dog’s prerogative. It is her house, after all.
Later, ensconced in the Library with hot beverages and smokes, we caught up on each other’s news. Juju gave me my birthday cards and told Thoughtful Man and I about Jake and Sam’s recent trip to Rome.
“They loved it. Absolutely, loved it. Did you see what Jake got for me?” Juju handed me her cigarette case and her lighter. “I’d recognise those bollocks anywhere.”
“But isn’t David housed in Florence?” I lit a rollie and handed the lighter back. Reluctantly.
Juju smiled. “That’s what I said to Jake.But I don’t care. I love it all the same.”
“Florence? I’m just reading a story about Florence.” Thoughtful Man stirred himself from his computer screen and turned to us. Poppy was laying contentedly across his knees, on her back. He stroked her belly. Bond villain cats have nothing on our girl.
“A massive sink hole opened up there this morning. Swallowed up a bunch of cars.”
“Blimey!” I woke my PC from it’s snooze and opened a new page to look for myself. I’d been tweeting before Juju’s arrival.
“OMG! Is that the time?” Juju clocked the time onscreen and eased herself off the library sofa. “I’ve got to go and get something for Jake and Sam tea. Give the boys a kiss from me.”
Poppy and I saw her to the door just as two shadows loomed large through the glass. The boys were indeed home from school.
“Happy Birthday, mum.” Louis smiled broadly as he handed me a bunch of flowers. “The card is from my friends.”
I turned it over.
I read the card out loud. “‘Dear Louis’ Ma. Thanks for giving birth to such an amazing friend. From Callum, the llama you adopted.’ That’s very sweet. And you went the extra mile in Design and Technology as well. Well done.”
Thoughtful Man joined us in the hallway and scooped up a hyper Poppy so she could give Juju a thorough goodbye lick. Juju hates that more than the wet shoes welcome, as Thoughtful Man is well aware.”They wanted to surprise you for your birthday. They swore me to secrecy. I gave them a fiver.”
“We only spent £2.50.” Kit Kat whispered solemnly in my ear and patted his jacket pocket. His favourite lesson is Business and Finance. He loped off to raid the fridge.
We said our goodbyes and Juju made her escape from Poppy’s sloppy farewell kisses. Loopy went to look for a vase for the flowers and Thoughtful Man went looking for Kit Kat to get his £2.50 change. Poppy and I returned to the library sofa.
Juju had forgotten to pick up her cigarette case. I opened it and found a lone rollie and a promotion card she’d picked up from her recent trip to New York.
I examined the back of the card. “goUndergroundforlunch.com.” Curious, I opened another page on my PC and typed in the address.
I smoked Juju last rollie and smiled.
*Pretty. Okay, Clicky. Let’s finish up this birthday with a Song.*