18 Aug 2009
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.