Birthday: Part 1

5.28am: Two minutes until my alarm goes off. Normally I'd groan, roll over and savour those two minutes of sleep. But this wasn't a normal day. This was my birthday. Instead I leapt out of bed, before realising it was freezing, and jumped straight back under the cosy bundle of duvet, this time complete with goodies. For days, hand written envelopes and pretty wrapping had been sitting on my desk calling for me to rip them open; so the moment my eyes creaked open, I was ready for them. Within seconds big '21s' were scattered on the bed as I read the cute messages and little letters inside. But before I could get too swept away I had to hotfoot it over to the airport to catch a flight to Port Lincoln - home of the Great White Shark!

9am: Surely that couldn't be it? I'd been expecting a little plane for my regional flight but this one looked like one of those miniature planes you see slightly overweight, bespectacled, middle aged men playing with down the park - cool but not something you'd want to rely on to fly you over swathes of the Southern Ocean. It looked like someone had ordered this birthday girl a private jet. Unfortunately, I ended up having to share it with 20 other sleepy bodies. Having said that, within the 45 minutes we were in the air, I was treated to full on luxury in the shape of snacks and coffee and a stewardess who called me a taxi from the plane! Well done, Regional Express!

11.30am: Having made it to my hotel hours before check in, I took a wander into Port Lincoln itself and along the beach front.

The skies were dull, the wind sharp, the icy, grey sea rushed up to meet me and for that moment I could have been in England shivering on the shore waiting for the sun to peak out long enough to dip a toe in the chilly channel.

But that salty, fishy smell that I've grown to love filled the air and I was back in the present - 21 years old and ready to explore a new town.

12pm: There are some lovely little shops in Lincoln. My favourite was the delightfully hippy shop where I made friends with a wisp of a woman who hailed me as part of the 'brave, independent women' movement and made my morning! I can't remember the name of the shop but there aren't that many so seek it out and say hello to the lovely lady!

1.30pm: My phone rang. It was the middle of the night in England but my Dad was calling to wish me a happy birthday. With his voice dripping in sleep, he told me a story long forgotten by all but my parents.

The family were at the hospital deciding what to do with me. I was well overdue and had stopped feeding but I still showed no signs of making an appearance. I've always been a stubborn one. As the doctor explained the need for an emergency c-section my father began to panic. As he changed into his scrubs he began to hyperventilate. As my poor mother was being prepped for major surgery, my dear old dad was about to pass out in the waiting room. I'll spare you all the gruesome details and skip to the part where he'd pulled himself together and I was thrust into his arms before being handed to my mum.

"I was the first one to touch you", he said, "and I think it was one of the best days of my life". (NOTE: 'I think' and 'one of').

He won it back though with, "the second best day will be when you come home". He can be a right charmer, that one.

3.30pm: Finally I was allowed to check into my hotel room. I crossed the car park and struggled with the key card at the entrance to the suite block before finally stumbling into my room.

There in front of me was a huge 21 balloon, the most beautiful bunch of flowers and a cheeky little box of chocolates all the way from England!

How pretty?! I ran around the suite squeaking to myself before opening up the fridge to find an extra surprise!

So obviously, when 5.30pm hit, it was champagne bath time!

7.30pm: Once I was fully spruced up, I nipped back across to the hotel restaurant for a celebratory meal.

I was a lonely one at the table but was soon joined, however briefly, by a few friends on Skype and the family via the telephone.

I ordered one big glass of wine.

Which I slurped at until my starter of deep fried brie arrived.

This was delicious! But for all of you from Chipping Norton, it was essentially just a massive Whistlers rip-off!

Then next up was seafood skewers on a bed of creamy chilli linguine. The pasta was absolutely delicious but the fish went cold really quite quickly. It was very tasty though and if it wasn't for the copious amounts of wine I'd consumed I'd have easily polished off the whole plate.

But as it was, I was stuffed and ready to waddle off to bed to watch films and prepare for the rest of the fun birthday weekend!


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