My parents were living at 'The Firs' at Holme in Norfolk (now the NWT Visitor centre) which they rented, whilst father was still in the early days of establishing Holme Bird Observatory. My mother was told she could possibly have a difficult first birth and so she moved to live with her adoptive mother in Loddon to be closer to the old Norwich Hospital. This was a few days before I was born on 27th January 1965. My mother continued to stay with her mother for a few days, before returning with me to 'The Firs', were my first year was spent. There is a picture in the family album of my mother holding me in 'The Firs', I will have to digg it out – will try and find it later today.
Got up at a fairly decent time, but didn't get out birding when I wanted to, as needed to help Mother with a few errands. Opened some presents and cards from friends. It was a gloriously sunny day and quite mild. Calm before the snow storms maybe, which are forecast from Wednesday onwards! Stopped at Tescos to get a bit of shopping for parents. Drove to Ringstead to get sack of sticks at a local farm for parents fire, but there wasn't any, which was unusual. Dropped in shopping to parents, but didn't stop.
At the Visitor Centre, Sue B. popped her head out of the shop door to kindly say 'Happy Birthday' – two other birders greeted me the same!
Walked around Fen Trail and up as far as Island Hide, but didn't see much to be honest. Then had to walk back to meet my sisters Lucy and Vivien for lunch. I managed to get a corner table in the cafe just before they both arrived. We all had main course and dessert, apart from Vivien who declined dessert, which is exactly why she is considerably slimmer than me! We spent a long time in here, just enjoying each other's company and having a catch up. The sun had now disappeared to leave a dreary, dull afternoon until dusk.
We then walked as far as Island Hide. Lots of Shoveler in front of the hide and I could see 2 Avocets distantly, with the usual waders on the scrapes. Lucy decided she wanted to go back, so both my sisters left and went to my parents, leaving me to continue to the beach. On route I found a single Pintail, 5 Little Grebes, Mute Swans, Redshanks, Teal, Wigeon, Brent Geese and a couple of Little Egrets. On the shoreline there were at least 20+ Turnstones, Sanderlings (6+) and 1 Grey Plover amongst the usual gulls. The tide was out, so very little movement on the sea. I started to walk to Thornham Point, but then turned back, dreary weather, and light disappearing fast. Saw a Barn Owl on the way back to the car, but no harriers seen whilst I was there.
What a lovely surprise – there were several brightly coloured '50' Balloons tied to a shrub in the front garden at my parent's house, which Vivien had bought! On entering the house I was greeted with two bouquets of flowers from my sisters and a homemade chocolate cake (made by Vivien) adorned with chocolate and white chocolate buttons, this looked scrumptious! Vivien had also made cheese scones! Opened some wonderful presents and cards. Vivien (I think) had bought a card and managed to get father to write in it for my birthday, don't know how he did this with his poor vision, but it was eligible, just! That was very special. I did request that father put his new trousers on, just for me on my birthday, but he point blank refused – he's still wearing the shorts!
Vivien and I went to Hunstanton to the Indian Restaurant to pick up a takeaway for everyone, except father (he hates anything spicy, always has) and managed to get it back to Holme still hot enough to eat. Vegetable Biryana and Peshwari Naan – my favourite choice! My mother loves Indian food and rarely gets the chance for anything like this, which is why I decided to get a takeaway.
The birthday cake was adorned with candles and lit. Vivien and I were in stitches as the candles for some reason, were really difficult to light and when we had lit most of them, Vivien breathed too heavily and most went out!!! We had to start again! Everyone sung the usual 'Happy Birthday' and a hilarious video was taken! Cup of tea with yummy birthday cake was enjoyed by all.
Vivien then left to drive back to Ely. Mother mentioned that father's nails needed cutting and how she didn't like doing this (because she can't see very well, but she won't admit to it). When I asked father if I could cut them, he agreed (nearly fell over, as he doesn't agree to anything nowadays). So spent quite a while trimming and filing his nails, which he said felt 'very good' and looked chuffed. Lucy and I said our goodbyes and then left. I drove via Ringstead just to see if the farmer had filled up any sacks of sticks – he had, so bought 2 sacks and went back to mother's to deliver, before returning to King's Lynn at around 10pm. Dropped Lucy off and then went home. Took me ages to unload the car with birding gear, flowers, balloons, presents etc.
I had some wonderful presents today including a: Manfrotto MVH500AH Video Head, £100 worth of Vouchers, Thorntons Champagne Bottle with 'Happy 50th' inscribed, M&S Birthday Cake, Home-made Chocolate Cake, Flowers, Balloons, new pens for work, 'I am 50' Badge, Natural Stone/Bird Earrings, a pair of 'Pandora' Sparkling Amethyst Stud Earrings, posh soap, pink highlighter, an owl ornate bag from Thailand, Chanel No. 5 & mini birthday cake! Wow! Cards mean so much and I had some beautiful cards from my closest friends and family – thank you.
Huge thank you to everyone for all my wonderful and extremely generous presents and to my family for making my day so special
Love Penny x x x x x
Love Penny x x x x x
After finally unloading the car and sorting stuff, I turned on the Mac, I couldn't believe how many emails were in my inbox.... 142!!! Also had around 100 facebook birthday wishes, Wow! Thank you all so much!
Pictures to be added