18 Aug 2009

Lady's birthday

Lady with her Grandma and Pippi.

My girl is growing up!

A week has passed since Lady turned 11. I still don't understand how I can have so old a daughter! We celebrated with a party, friends, a clown boucy castle, copious quantities of junk food, party poppers and two home made cakes. Best of all, her BFF (best friend forever for those who don't speak Girl) and her sister came over from London for a few days with their mum. It's been 2 years since they last visited so we were very happy to have them over again. The girls had a few hours to reconnect, then the rest of the party people arrived. It turned out to be a grand day, fine weather, great company, lovely gifts (thanks all!) and a bunch of happy sweet children running about keeping themselves busy.

Some of us went for a walk to the beach that evening. The girls played on the beach taking a heck of a long time to leave when I was ready to go home. Eventually they appeared, muck to the eyeballs, having climbed about the rock pools and grass and fallen into what Lady dramatically called "a trench."

The following day, I drove Lady, her friends and their mum to Delamont Park, a favourite of ours. The children went on the miniature railway then did their thing in the adventure playground while we mums drank a warm, brown drink we'd been told was coffee. Then we walked about a bit, enjoyed the scenery, took photos by the lake then watched as the clouds lowered to eclipse the view and we went back to the car, damp and hungry.

Then off to Downpatrick where we had lunch in the St Patrick's Visitor centre. The girls ran about the garden for a while then browsed the shop but we didn't bother with the exhibits.

I'd never taken the ferry from Strangford to Portaferry so took a detour that way. Then, not altogether on purpose, I drove up the east side of the Ards Peninsula, where the nice views were sadly spoiled by a glut of flags in many of the villages. These places could be so much more welcoming to visitors like my friends, places we'd want to stop off in, if more of the residents could see themselves as outsiders might.

Our visitors had to go home the next morning. It had been just lovely to have them over. There have been secrets and gossip shared, promises made and some close and special friendships renewed.

10 comments:

Sharon daVanport said...

Great blog you've got going here - I'm glad I found it!

Jax said...

Belated happy birthday to Lady :)

Liz Ditz said...

Happy birthday to Lady -- sounds like a lovely time.

I didn't get the comment about the flags -- can you explain to a Californian?

Anonymous said...

Hey, happy belated birthday to that wonderful daughter of yours. And good luck explaining the flags lol. Mx

Casdok said...

Happy birthday Lady!

Sharon said...

Sharon, thanks so much and I'm gald you think so.

Jax and Casdok, thanks for the birthday wishes.

@Liz Ditz, it's explained a bit here but I'll try to summarise.
Each summer, members of the "loyal orders" like the Orange Order and their supporters, some of whom are not the most decent of people, march, light bonfires and drape towns and roadsides with British flags and anti-Irish paraphernalia. The main march day is July 12th and the bonfires are held the night before. Over the past few years, more and more flags have been put up on lampposts all over the country even in places where no one wants them. Some places fly the Irish flag on lampposts, but you don't see so many of those. They are intimidating to outsiders and are designed to mark territory as belonging to one tribe and unwelcoming to anyone else.
For a place that like everywhere is else is badly affected by recession, it is just barmy to me that instead of trying to welcome visitors and increase the appeal of their town, many people just piss on their posts so everyone knows who's the alpha dog there.

Unlike other cultures which treat their flag with reverence, these flags will mostly stay up on the lampposts until they are eroded by wind and rain. Way to show respect to your symbols there people!

I wish people could just decide to fly one flag on a proper flag poles in places where there's a consensus about their desirability.

Bet you wish you hadn't asked now Liz!

Miche, so how did I do? You want to add anything? (I think I was quite reasonable for a Str***** woman!)

AnnB said...

Happy birthday lady - wishing you every happiness.

bullet said...

Happy belated birthday :D.

Manuel said...

Little Miss Manuel and I did pretty much the same drive as you on pretty much the same day...her birthday was the 12th of August and whilst it was all very pretty the flags really do add nothing to the view...

ps

gotta new blog home...

http://www.crikeyandotherprofanities.com/

Nick McGivney said...

Still sounds like a lovely day, and hard to believe how quickly them crawlers grow up to be elegant young people. I'm just catching up with you after a long while (kinda glad you didn't have 20 posts done, cos I'd just be here all morning!) SOunds like ascore in the charity shop too. Joyce and Tolstoy will keep you busy until Wednesday ha ha.

Anyway, great to see everybody well. Keep, erm, flying yer own flag there Missus Str*****!