This weekend the family held a 90th birthday party for my Grandpa. I don't think he liked it much. Like a grumpy teenager, he hung around with his mates from down the pub and avoided cousins. But we all had a good time.
I pretty much strategically only spoke to cousins I like, so that was very nice. And to great aunts. Nothing like a bit of great-auntage to make an afternoon enjoyable, I say. To be frank, none of us in my generation are particularly clear how we are all related, so choosing who to be related to on the basis of entertaining conversation seems valid enough.
My mum organised everything, including copious afternoon tea catering, the bowls club location and so on. Decorations were provided by my brother (balloons, streamers, big silver number 90s), but put up by my mum.
My brother also ordered the cake. The woman who took the order told him in great detail all the great stuff that was going to be on there, including the words 'Happy Birthday'. When Mum went to collect in on Saturday it was a plain, brown rectangle. The woman's excuse for not doing a single decoration on the cake was "I'm not very good at cake decorating". Ahem.
Well, no. Not precisely good at customer service or honesty, perhaps, either, but she appears not to have noticed that. Luckily my mother (who has been practising fierceness on the Labor Party) insisted on a refund, and found another suitable cake and someone who could put stuff on it (white chocolate swirls, and a white choclate name-platey kind of thing with appropriate Happy Birthday messages). I wish she'd taken a photo of the plain cake.
Although frankly, after the mini-chocolate mousses and the individual pavlovas, birthday cake was frankly a daunting option. Luckily we ate some for dinner, so that was OK.
I gave a speech, which was neither amusing nor touching. Grandpa gave a speech which was droll. He's so frequently grumpy, it's easy to forget how funny he can be.
I think he was glad we'd all made the effort, but he would have preferred the whole thing to happen without him actually having to turn up.
When I turn 90, I'll meet you all down the pub, eh.