1. The birthday cavalry comes, Aunty Katie and Ella with a balloon ("We got some smiles coming through town") and a chocolate cake. They take us out to lunch -- oh it's glorious to have someone to help Alec put his shoes on. I throw caution to the wind and have both a glass of wine and some pudding. By the end of the meal, because I have sat with Alec on one side and Bettany on the other, my cream linen skirt could be used as an illustrated menu.
2. An intriguing parcel arrives from Lucy Box Elder. There are presents for each of us -- most particularly for Our Betts, a knitted cotton jumper with three apple buttons. Lucy explains that haute trois pommes describes the height of someone about Bettany's size.
3. I discover that Katie has also sent me an Amazon voucher so I blow it on the next two books of Roger Mortimer's Letters, Dear Lumpy and Dearest Jane. I've previously devoured with relish the first book, Dear Lupin, which is letters to his son. His two daughters, Louise and Jane have jumped in with their own collections. Lumpy is more of the same, an affectionate account of middle class family life told by a witty, bookish father. Jane has more of the daughter's voice, and digs deeper into the past. I start with Lumpy, telling the children that we all need a quiet lie-down on the bed. They are surprisingly compliant.