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Birthday outing

On Saturday, I reached the grand old age of thirty-two, and went on an outing to Castle Howard to celebrate. I had redkitty23 and her partner, Vincent, as house-guests for the weekend (en route to a Primatology conference in Edinburgh), so we were able to pile into Anna's cute little retro-style Fiat 500, swoop big_daz up from Wortley, and head off out into the countryside.

At first, we were guided on our way by 'Ken', the Australian voice on Anna's Tom Tom, but he unfortunately let us down by taking us straight into an all-but-stationary traffic jam going past York. Luckily, however, we had an alternative Yorkshire navigation system available to us: Daz Daz, armed with Local Knowledge and a road atlas. And so it was that we found ourselves bowling through Georgian brick-built villages and along sunlit country lanes, listening to The Cure while our hair whipped around in an invigorating breeze, and only got to Castle Howard half an hour later than Ken had said we would. miss_s_b and matgb, alas, were not so lucky, and despite gallant efforts to join us were eventually forced to turn back before they had even arrived. :-(

And this was a great pity, not only because it deprived me of the opportunity to lust over their new purple Ka, but also because Castle Howard is ace! It really is a stately home par excellence, with expansive grounds, beautiful formal gardens, fountains, peacocks, endless opulent drawing rooms, rococo furniture, plutocratic portraits and so on. But I think what I liked best about it was the extensive collections of Classical sculpture (which seemed to go on and on in every hallway and corridor), and the answering neo-Classicism of the building itself and the works of art which adorned it. It began to feel as though you couldn't turn a corner without seeing something Classical or Classically-inspired: which is quite frankly exactly how I think the world should be. ;-)

Anyway, a day like that is probably best told in pictures, rather than words, so here are some of my favourite photos from our outing:



... and if you liked those, you can see the full gallery here.

As we left in the late afternoon (Ken still relegated to the boot in favour of Daz Daz), Anna suggested that we should eat out in the evening. I'd planned to cook us a casserole, but who would cook on their birthday when friends were offering to take them out instead, eh? So we ended up at Jino's, where we guzzled delicious Thai food, and the waiters put a candle in my ice-cream when Anna told them it was my birthday, and then returned home to mine for frighteningly potent cocktails.

Presents were mainly books from my family, but Anna got me a beautiful orchid, while Daz (who clearly knows me far too well) got me an enamel K-9 pendant like the ones shown below (just one, though!), and my parents got me a Tiffany floor lamp to go in my dining-room:



So, all told, an excellent day, and some nice mementos of it to take away with me. So far, I'm enjoying being 32. It feels like a nice solid, self-confident age to be - properly into my 30s, in contrast to 31, which felt a bit apologetic about it. It's also a multiple of eight, which I've always thought of as being 'my' number - not necessarily my lucky number, but just the number that signifies me. As being born on the 2nd of the 8th and growing up in a house with the number 82 will tend to make you think...

Here's to my thirty-secondthird year on this planet, then. I intend to make the most of it.

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
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aellia
Aug. 4th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Purple skirt and Peacocks :-)
Lovely pictures of your birthday treat.
I'm glad it was good and your lamp is really nice
xxx
strange_complex
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yes, I love that skirt - and I can see that it would be very much your style too. :-)
(no subject) - aellia - Aug. 4th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Aug. 4th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
captainlucy
Aug. 4th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
Now THAT is a stately home! Absolutely stunning!

Belated happy birthdays, too! :)
strange_complex
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
No kidding! It's the one they used in the TV series of Brideshead Revisited, and in the new film that's just come out of it too. We were even able to see some of the sets they'd used for the new film.

And thank you! :-)
ms_siobhan
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
Wow it looks lovely and sounds like you had a fab time - am especially enjoying the sound of DazDaz.

See you tomorrow :-)
strange_complex
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
He's definitely a better navigator than Ken. Every car should have one!

And you too - although would you be open to trying Sukhothai (the new Thai place where the old Dynasty restaurant used to be) instead of Jino's now? We did try to get into Sukhothai on Saturday, since I knew I'd be going to Jino's on Tuesday, but they were booked out. No worries if not, as Jino's is great - but I'd prefer to ring the changes if poss.
(no subject) - ms_siobhan - Aug. 4th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Aug. 4th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
strange_complex
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
Me too! Still, though, you have your lovely new purple shiny, and it will need to go on lots more trips now anyway. So you can always take a day-trip over there another time (once you've got over the trauma of this weekend's attempt). I would definitely recommend it.
davesangel
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Yay, peacocks!!! :D
I'm really glad that you had such a good day.
strange_complex
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :-)
(Deleted comment)
strange_complex
Aug. 4th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
Oops, yeah! Didn't really apply the brain when I wrote that. Halp, is it senility??
ingenious76
Aug. 4th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday! Hope you have an enjoyable and successful year!
itsjustaname
Aug. 4th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
I adore Castle Howard, in particular the length of the drive between gate and house. A girls' school (I think) was evacuated there during the war, which just sounds amazing (I can't remember if it was they that burned part of it down which would have been ingratitude on a very high scale!).
kissmeforlonger
Aug. 4th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
Glad you had a fun day.
rosamicula
Aug. 4th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
Belated happy birthday! I so envy you going to Castle Howard.
dragophelion
Aug. 4th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
Belated Happy Birthday!

Castle Howard looks fabulous!
We accidently ended up there on our way to Whitby in April after using Janet (English SatNav Woman) to help us avoid the aforementioned Stationary Traffic Jam which would appear to be a permenant feature! We had to tell her each of the villages as we went cos she kept wanting to go back to the traffic jam!, so needed my map as well! I was impressed with the gates and long straight roads through the grounds but we didn't have time to stop unfortunately! :o(

oooh & K-9! *Squeeee*! :o)
strange_complex
Aug. 5th, 2008 09:10 am (UTC)
she kept wanting to go back to the traffic jam

So did Ken! Every time we got to a roundabout, he kept telling us to go right round it and back on ourselves. I kept expecting him to say "Strewth, you buggers! A fella'd start to think you had it in for him!"
boblink
Aug. 5th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday Pen. Just spent half an hour satisfying myself that that is not the Staetly Home in 28 days later.

Traffic Jams. Yeuch. Don't want to come home to that!
ajntornj
Aug. 5th, 2008 07:51 am (UTC)
Gah - Happy Birthday hon!

First time in years that i have forgotten - many apologies.

Glad you had a great time though.
nalsa
Aug. 5th, 2008 07:52 am (UTC)
Those photos give a good overview of an excellent day! (And, that skirt is fantastic!)

Not been to Jinos for a while. Must fix that :)
lostlorelei
Aug. 5th, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)
Glad you had a lovely day! all birthdays should involve peacocks :) xxxx
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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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