Thursday, 19 March 2015

When is a balloon not a balloon? When it is family

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean it's not true.

On Monday night 'the girls' took me out to celebrate my big birthday.  When the eight of us arrived in two taxis at the restaurant they persuaded me to enter first.

Aware they were about to spring a surprise of some sort I entered slightly warily,  The corner table was set for  8 with a string of 6 helium balloons in the centre and one larger one with "Happy 80th Birthday " was tied to the back of 'my' chair.

Little glittering sparkling tinsely bits were strewn over the table top and there was a little box with  a small cuddly bear in front of my chair.

To cut a long story short it was a wonderful evening.  Lovely food, good wine, lots  of happy chat and quite a volume of noise.

Luckily being Monday, it was a quiet night for the restaurant and we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

During the evening more little gifts manifested themselves and at exactly the time of my birth 80 years earlier a cake with a sparkling 80 on top was brought in with the waiter joining in singing the inevitable Happy Birthday .

Three hours later as we gathered up bits and pieces to  leave they insisted I was to take the balloons home.  Six smaller ones went in the 'other' taxi, and they had tied 'Mummy' balloon to my wrist so I wouldn't leave her behind.

They all came back to my house for a brief final tot of Tokaij (a bottle I had been keeping for years)  and I had a box of chocolates ready as a final mouthful.

They had stood the balloons  on their heavy base in one place and I set the big one just behind them.

After they had gone I tidied up washing glasses etc., gave a look round said 'goodnight' to the balloons and went to bed.

Next morning as I left for St Mary's they were all standing just as they had been so with a muttered 'bye', off I went.

Returning at lunchtime to my surprise 'Mummy' was standing in her place but the other six were all sitting on the floor in front of the TV.

I have no idea what they had been watching but I ignored them all and went to get lunch ready.

As usual I brought in my tray, sat in my chair, feet on footstool and switched on the TV just in time for the last bit of "Loose Women".

One of the six balloons raised its head about a foot (affected I suppose by the heat from the TV) and effectively blocked my view.

Tutting I found myself saying "you can't sit there I can't see through you", and I picked up all six of them and dumped them on the sofa out of the way.

Since then they haven't moved (at least, not while I was there), and (Mummy) is still where she was.

The only change is that the six are a little smaller.

Nobody warned  me that balloons have personalities.

PS  I have put some pictures of them onto my computer but couldn't manage to up;load them for this blog.


  1. I'm glad your big birthday was such a wonderful friends did something similar for my sixtieth. It was soon after I'd become a widow for the guest time and they had prepared dozens of small packages...
    I still have the bright pink pension book cover!
    The other guests in the restaurant got nearly as much pleasure as I did from all the my last name was the Sharples I got a couple of hair nets!

    1. It is a lovely feeling isn't it? The warmth of friends whose only wish is to give you a happy evening.
      I hope their cards were not addressed to Ena.

    2. As a teacher whose last name was Sharples I spent years of my life in school being called Ena! I got used to it!

  2. A belated Happy Birthday Ray. It sounds like you were properly spoilt and that makes me happy x.

    1. Thanks Jane. I have never felt so thoroughly spoilt or so completely 'cared for'.

  3. What a wonderful evening and the best bit is the depth of affection and kindness that went into the planning of every detail. Oh yes, balloons have personalities and can be very stubborn too!

  4. I couldn't agree more Perpetua. It is a wonderful thing to have such good friends so late in life.
    The balloons by the way, are still in residence, or at least what remains of them. Somewhat prune-like in appearance and less than half their original size, but I am trying to keep them as long as possible.

  5. Congratulations! And thanks for sharing your lovely evening with us. The helium balloons do indeed have personalities. I tried to take some on a small passenger ferry once. They went all floppy and nearly expired totally before I could use them at a Children's Talk illustration at church!
    Blessings from Dalamory

  6. Thanks Freda. The balloons are still with me, albeit shrunken and a bit sad looking. Not bad though for 16 days.