Tuesday, 14 October 2008

birthday: part I

I've spent the last week in a continual panic, trying to cope with an increasing workload piled on top of me by my increasingly unavailable Manager. At the same time I've been trying to get everything in place for my Mother's 80th birthday (today).

As I've mentioned before, one of my relatives has taken it upon herself to organise a family get-together for Mum at the end of the month, and has taken the preparations so far out of my hands that I have not been allowed to invite Mum's closest relation "because there's not enough room". In many ways, what's being planned for the end of the month has little to do with Mum any more and is really about my relative, who always exhausts herself micromanaging these things and then has a nervous breakdown at the event, when her guests want to do their own thing, and declares that she's never going to organise ever again!

I decided that I couldn't let today go by without marking it in person, just Mum and me.

To that end, I found the most wonderful cake at the weekend, which is a chocolate sponge surrounded by what look like Shoji screens. The chocolate bird's nest and rose are somewhat over the top, but I'm excited at the prospect of eating gold leaf!

I also bought a rather expensive but elegant Sony digital photo-frame and I've spent the last 4 nights delicately teasing photographs from albums (quite scary when they've been glued for decades) and scanning them into my computer in order to transfer the images to the frame. I was up until 4am Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, and 2am last night, working until I couldn't safely wield the blade any more. Last night I painstakingly re-titled the images with numbers, hoping to display them in an order showing Mum's lifetime, but when I finally came to upload them at 2am this morning, I found that the frame's slideshow ran according to other criteria and photographs from the 1940s and 50s were, for some reason, distributed across the other decades. 

Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. And the photos do look amazing. I hope she doesn't cry. I've telephoned the Home and made sure that they're expecting me. They've agreed to present their own birthday cake with the evening meal, so that mine is the first that Mum sees.

It's midday and I'm about to set off.

Happy Birthday, Mum!


citygirl said...

Greg, you are an incredible son for going through all those pictures carefully and loading them onto the digital frame.

You picked the most beautiful cake that I have ever seen.

Greg said...

Thanks, Citygirl.

I saw a show on TV recently where some chefs visited a Patisserie not far from here and I was impressed with the imaginative designs being conjured up in what looked outwardly like a relatively staid Yorkshire cake shop. (http://www.otleypatisserie.co.uk/)

When I visited on Saturday I was blown away by this cake (the only one like it on display) because the side pieces looked like Japanese screens, which was so appropriate for Mum, given the time we spent in Tokyo when I was a child.

It tasted delicious, too, and was so rich that it conquered my chocoholism in one helping. I couldn't face another one! That's some achievement for a cake given my proclivities.