Some vintage Clos du Papillon to toast you on your birthday. Only the best for you my girl. How you loved birthdays: yours, mine, anyone’s close to you. Christmas was my thing but birthdays were yours. Not just a day but sometimes a whole week dedicated to celebrating the wonder of being alive.
Last year on your birthday, we went to Demuth’s in Bath for dinner to revisit the scene of our first date. In 2013, we were in Portugal and made dinner for our neighbours. In 2012, we invited some friends to join us round the campfire at Thistledown. In 2011, we were at Gifford’s Circus for the show and dinner afterwards. In 2010, we stayed in Long Island with Karen and Dick after our trip to Minnesota with the black bears. And so on, back until I first knew you. Every year was as special as we could make it.
This year, I’ve brought your photograph with me to Finisterre –World’s End – on a headland I discovered last week. We’re looking out over the Baie de Dournenez at a tranquil sea. At 7.00pm (UK time) a small host of people all over the world, joined together virtually to raise a glass in your memory and to celebrate your 49th birthday. I sipped the Clos du Papillon and ate some blinis with faux caviar.
As I write these words, the side door of the camper van is open toward the sea; Teddy is cooling off in the shade after scoffing his birthday dinner (extra tuna on his dog food); it is silent apart from the sound of waves lapping the rocks; the sun has some way to go before it sets over the far horizon, but the shadows are already long and the birds are coming home to roost. You’d like it here.
Happy birthday my love, wherever you are.
Happy Birthday Chris!
Although I only met you once, at the Ashmolean in Oxford, I remember you so clearly.