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  • Despite my new found age, I never cease to surprise myself with my stupidity.
    I was having a small, relaxed bbq to celebrate this birthday with close friends.
    Civilised and casual. No house rave.
    I went shopping for various birthday decorations.
    I bought pink and white balloons. Easy.
    I bought two "Happy Birthday" banners.

    It wasn't when I was balancing on a chair,
    strips of sellotape in my mouth,
    leaning to the high corners,
    with a banner in my hand.

    It was when I jumped down,
    to admire the slightly wonky hanging.

    "Welcome Home!" it read.

    Typical not to notice it the shop.
    It's like when you try on shoes, they feel fine in the shop,
    as comfortable as slippers,
    then get them home,
    and they cripple your feet in pain.

    The doorbell rang. I was nervous. A collective mix of friends were invited; a few from uni, an old school friend, the life-long friend, the work friend. One of each group,no majority. I was the glue.
    There was no need to worry.
    We sat outside,
    warmed by smokey heat from the bbq,
    dotted lanterns,
    drinking home-made pimms. The boys making there way through the local beer.
    regalled tales of job centres,
    of travelling,
    of wanting to travel.
    We ate wild boar burgers and Heston Blumenthal duck and cherry sausages.
    The wonders that Waitrose has to offer.
    I was wearing my new jeans,
    and a smile.

    We went inside when it got colder, the disadvantage of an autumnal birthday.
    Scatteries was played, competitvely.
    People started to leave just after midnight,
    with a piece of cake or two wrapped up in a napkin.
    Old School style.
    There were those staying the night, resting from travels,
    we solved the worlds' problems to the wee small hours,
    glasses of gordon came out around 3,
    cat stevens was playing.
    I felt loved,
    and whole,
    and life was good.


    And no-one noticed the banner.
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