Last year I celebrated a milestone in birthdays when I reached a half century. Over a number of days my closest friends gathered for various events to celebrate. It was very memorable.
Amazingly a year has passed and this week another pile of birthday cards hit the mat. Not a very exciting number this year, and I hadn't put any thought into whether I would do anything to celebrate it or not. However, once again my friends stepped up to the mark. Last year Pauline and Andrew put in a lot of work to make my birthday very special, and ever the reliable friends that they are, they made time to entertain me with their great company this year as well.
The day before my birthday I met up with Andrew at the Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh, to view the short films made by the school students that I had run workshops for over the winter. That was fun, and then Andrew treated me to a great lunch at one of my favourite restaurants in the city, Browns.
It was a glorious sunny day on my actual birthday, and I set out on a leisurely cycle to meet up with Pauline. Given the glorious weather we set off for a walk up nearby Blackford Hill, site of the old observatory and one of the venues of my birthday last year. From there we dropped down into The Hermitage, a local nature reserve gifted to the City of Edinburgh in 1937 by John McDougal. I still find it surprising that the deep gorge that is The Hermitage was formed by the movement of glaciers thousands of years ago.
From here we reached the busy area of Morningside. By now it was mid afternoon and time for coffee and cake at a small coffee shop called Cafe Blush.
Pauline is a very good cook, and made a delicious stir fry for supper, and we were joined by our mutual friend John. After a delicious three course meal and good conversation, we set out for an early evening walk, heading once again toward The Hermitage. This time however we had a specific goal in mind.
At one of the entrances to the reserve is a small pond, a favourite mating spot of toads, and this is the time of year when they start to make their way to the pond. Despite thinking we may not see any we did spot 2 small males. If we were in any doubt as to the difference between toads and frogs we were in luck, as further on we came upon two frogs for comparison, as the grainy photos below show.
The final stage of my birthday was a couple of days later when I met up once again with Pauline and Andrew at a local cinema to see the new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. A strange but enormously entertaining film.
So once again, thanks entirely to my friends, my birthday stretched out over a number of days.
Only downside is I need to wait another year to see what they come up with again.