Twilight is the in-between light – between day and night, and in this case, in between the two main events of my special birthday.
We had a fairly lazy morning – or at least, I did, sitting about and being plied with breakfast, Bucks fizz, and lovely gifts – and then went into Stratford for lunch at Vintner. As a parent I made virtually every mistake in every book – most of them more than once – but one thing I did that I’m pleased about was to try to make sure that we all sat down and ate a meal together every day, and that those meals involved conversation rather than newspapers and phones. As the Offspring got older the week-night meals were quite often rushed because of homework and extra-curricular activities, but on Sundays we would often sit for a couple of hours over the lunch table, having long conversations during which no topic was out of bounds, as we bounced ideas and jokes off each other – and those are some of my favourite memories of family life. And even though they’re huge children now, and come home very infrequently, when they do we seem to be able to slip right back into that mealtime vibe – so lunch was long and chatty (though I hope not too inappropriate for a public setting), and I loved every minute of it. It’s a testament to how long we can occupy a lunch table that I took this photo as we were heading back to Old Town afterwards to collect the car, peeling away from the party for a couple of minutes and nipping up onto the Old Tramway Bridge to capture the last of the light on the river.
The second treat of my day was that we then all went up to Birmingham to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra perform at the Symphony Hall. I love Jools Holland, who seems to be on a mission to support other musicians at both ends of their careers: on this tour he’s supported by Louise Marshall and Mabel Ray, but also gives quite a big spot to José Feliciano, with whom he’s recently made a record; Feliciano’s voice has held up pretty well for a man in his 70s, though sadly his guitar playing hasn’t improved over the past 45 years, and he was rather sweetly funny. But good as the first hour was, the performance really stepped up a level when the force of nature that is Ruby Turner came on stage – to a roar of approval of course, because Birmingham considers her to be one of its own and loves her accordingly. The last half hour of the gig was an absolute blast, and I was so happy I thought I might just pop.
By the time we got home I was still happy, but so tired I thought I might in fact have popped. I think that might be an age thing.