The Birthday Party

As birthday parties go, the one I threw myself when I turned 39 was pretty lame. For one thing, there were only three human guests, two of whom were somewhat bemused by the whole thing.  There were no birthday presents. And it was all over in less than 20 minutes.

Birthday spread

But there was a cake, and candles, and sweets and party packs, and that’s what counts. I even made a wish before I blew them out.

Spending my birthday alone wasn’t part of the plan, but for various reasons, that’s what happened.  My  intention was to get all emo thinking about how I’m sinking further into irrelevance because the world only cares what you do while you’re young, and the best years of my life have passed with nothing to show for it. How successful people try to fix me because I am their worst nightmare: all that brilliance, all that potential come to naught.

Instead, I passed a Maynard’s display stand in the Hoedspruit Pick n Pay, spotted a packet of icrecream gums, and decided then and there that I was going to throw myself a kids’ birthday party.  So I stocked up on essential party gear:


(One hugely significant revelation: red velvet cake has reached Hoedspruit.)

I took my haul to the farm

Arrival at camp

And served it the next day.

Philimon and Nylena

Here is Philimon trying,unsuccessfully, to light the birthday candles.

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 8.45.21 AM

Here is Nylena successfully lighting the birthday candles.

Nylena lights the candles

I made a wish, blew them out, cut the cake and then cleared up.

Then I went to bed to sleep because I’d had terrible insomnia the night before. In the afternoon, I shared my leftovers with the monkeys, so I had a second party with them. (Yes, I know it is wrong to give sugar to the wildlife, and I risk encouraging them to become pests. This was a once-off breaking of the rules. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures.)

Later, I took the bottle of Cap Classique given to me by TEDxJohannesburg and had sundowners.

Birthday Sundowners

Then I had supper with Philimon and Nylena (a flat chicken with onions, organic sweet potato and salad), a candlelit bath, and went to bed, before being woken at 3am by the alarm calls of the vervet monkeys. I went outside to look for the leopard that had disturbed them and heard it calling, but didn’t see it.

I wanted a leopard for my birthday and I almost got one.


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