On Saturday, I reached the grand old age of thirty-two, and went on an outing to Castle Howard
to celebrate. I had redkitty23
and her partner, Vincent, as house-guests for the weekend (en route
to a Primatology conference in Edinburgh), so we were able to pile into Anna's cute little retro-style Fiat 500, swoop big_daz
up from Wortley, and head off out into the countryside.
At first, we were guided on our way by 'Ken', the Australian voice on Anna's Tom Tom, but he unfortunately let us down by taking us straight into an all-but-stationary traffic jam going past York. Luckily, however, we had an alternative Yorkshire navigation system available to us: Daz Daz, armed with Local Knowledge and a road atlas. And so it was that we found ourselves bowling through Georgian brick-built villages and along sunlit country lanes, listening to The Cure while our hair whipped around in an invigorating breeze, and only got to Castle Howard half an hour later than Ken had said we would. snapesbabe
, alas, were not so lucky, and despite gallant efforts to join us were eventually forced to turn back before they had even arrived. :-(
And this was a great pity, not only because it deprived me of the opportunity to lust over their new purple Ka, but also because Castle Howard is ace! It really is a stately home par excellence
, with expansive grounds, beautiful formal gardens, fountains, peacocks, endless opulent drawing rooms, rococo furniture, plutocratic portraits and so on. But I think what I liked best about it was the extensive collections of Classical sculpture (which seemed to go on and on in every hallway and corridor), and the answering neo-Classicism of the building itself and the works of art which adorned it. It began to feel as though you couldn't turn a corner without seeing something
Classical or Classically-inspired: which is quite frankly exactly how I think the world should be. ;-)
Anyway, a day like that is probably best told in pictures, rather than words, so ( here are some of my favourite photos from our outing )
... and if you liked those, you can see the full gallery here
As we left in the late afternoon (Ken still relegated to the boot in favour of Daz Daz), Anna suggested that we should eat out in the evening. I'd planned to cook us a casserole, but who would cook on their birthday when friends were offering to take them out instead, eh? So we ended up at Jino's
, where we guzzled delicious Thai food, and the waiters put a candle in my ice-cream when Anna told them it was my birthday, and then returned home to mine for frighteningly potent cocktails.
Presents were mainly books from my family, but Anna got me a beautiful orchid, while Daz (who clearly knows me far
too well) got me an enamel K-9 pendant like the ones shown below (just one, though!), and my parents got me a Tiffany floor lamp to go in my dining-room:( Presenty goodness )
So, all told, an excellent day, and some nice mementos of it to take away with me. So far, I'm enjoying being 32. It feels like a nice solid, self-confident age to be - properly into my 30s, in contrast to 31, which felt a bit apologetic about it. It's also a multiple of eight, which I've always thought of as being 'my' number - not necessarily my lucky
number, but just the number that signifies me
. As being born on the 2nd of the 8th and growing up in a house with the number 82 will tend to make you think...
Here's to my thirty-
third year on this planet, then. I intend to make the most of it.