The Ghosts of Birthdays Past…

A few weeks ago, it was my birthday. In previous years, I’ve fully acknowledged and celebrated my birthday on the blog with equal enthusiasm and interest as the real world. However, this year, I didn’t quite get here, and it probably also reflects that my birthday in the real world didn’t go off with a bang this year either.

Happy Birthday six years ago! I look and feel a lot healthier now.

It was good, and indeed better than expected. However, my birthday (30th July) actually marked the day that Greater Sydney was supposed to come out of Covid lockdown, and I, and the collective we, knew after the third week of hard lockdown and with one week to go until our blessed release, that it wasn’t going to happen. There was going to be no extravagant birthday cake covered in candles with either my parents in Sydney or with my much loved friends. Everyone was going to be locked inside their little cells at home, and only let out for bad behaviour (my perspective on exercise).

However, while one is allowed to be a bit self-indulgent when their birthday plans go up in smoke (especially a Covid smoke), I know things could be worse, and that I have so much to be grateful for, especially when I see covid through a global lens. I checked the stats just then (which I don’t do on a global scale all that often) and globally there have been 206 million cases and 4.35 million deaths. In America alone (which ops the charts) there have been 621k deaths. Australia isn’t at the bottom of the charts and we have a much smaller population, but we have had 948 deaths. So, we have largely been spared the full force of this scourge here, although our lockdowns have been pretty tight and for vulnerable people like myself, we’ve spent much of the last 18 months in varying degrees of isolation and social distancing, while, of course, there are others who haven’t complied with restrictions or have lived away from the major cities and haven’t had to worry too much.

Happy Birthday Mister!

The other thing is that given my poor health and the somewhat dire state of my lungs, I am thankful and overjoyed for every birthday I have. So, I’m not saying that I spent my birthday at home crying either.

Me this year at the Mt Ettalong Lookout.

My birthday was on a Friday, and Friday nights are generally quite busy even in lockdown here. Our son has zoom with his youth group which sounds pretty rowdy and a lot of fun, and our daughter has a dance class right at dinner time. We also have our small group meeting for Church and we were getting together for a zoom party. So, we decided just to get Chinese home delivered that night, and deferred our family celebration to the following night, when we had home delivery from a local smokehouse we hadn’t tried before. This is I guess what we’d call “American” food, and I was particularly wanting to try Southern Fried Chicken that wasn’t from KFC. I made a Banoffee Pie for my birthday cake.

What a view – There’s Pearl Beach in the foreground looking across to Lion Island

Meanwhile, during the day Geoff and I went for a bushwalk at the Mt Ettalong Lookout, which has the most magnificent coastal views over Pearl Beach to the right, and Umina Beach (home) on the left. When you see these photos, you’ll have absolutely so sympathy for my tough lockdown situation, and think I’m deluding myself. I’m in God’s country. However, breathtaking ocean views is not immersing myself in a room filled with my friends and being able to hug each other and talk totally oblivious of exchanging the air we breathe and what it might contain.

Looking across to Umina Beach and the outlet on the top right marks the entrance to Brisbane Waters in NSW (Not Queensland just to be confusing).

I know presents don’t make a birthday. However, I’m not going to deny how much they meant to me and how nice is was to open the front door and find a little treasure there. It was wonderful, and it meant so much more during this gloominess of Covid – a gloominess which, if we’re really honest with ourselves and others is at least a somewhat constant undercurrent of varying dimensions.) especially when you’re an extroverted people person like myself.

I was quite surprised when my mum ordered me a violin cake for my birthday in 2012. It was something of a premonition! Good on you Mum!

Anyway, I wanted to share a bit of the brightness which came my way on my birthday and offer each and everyone of you a virtual piece of cake.

Have you have any special celebrations during lockdown and what did you do?

Love & Blessings,

Rowena

7 thoughts on “The Ghosts of Birthdays Past…

  1. lindamaycurry

    Happy Lockdown Birthday. I just realised how lucky I was for my 70th in April as my family from Sydney and Canberra were able to make it to Wollongong. We even went for a surf at North Beach as it was such a lovely day. Now all we can hope for is we can see each other at Christmas. At least we can enjoy the lovely sunny days.

  2. Tails Around the Ranch

    Despite the lockdown and COVID restrictions, it seems as though the birthday was still lovely and as you noted, every day above ground is a good one. Things are getting (remain) crazy here in the states. Despite vaccines, masks and social distancing, the Delta variant is producing too many breakthrough cases but I try to soldier on. It’s all we can do. Hoping the old normality returns soon. Have a great weekend.

  3. maxwellthedog

    Happy Birthday, Ro! Still suspiciously young looking. You have huge feet. Oh wait, that’s just the perspective of the camera on the Lookout photo. Never mind. 😈 Sounds like you made the best of the lockdown situation and had a nice time. My b-day was May 1st but everybody ignored it except the AJF and the Malt. That’s OK, I prefer to ignore them anyway and I have more than you.

  4. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Tom. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really established a good group of friends through Church and while we’ve had some great times connecting via zoom, it’s not the same and I’m not going to pretend that it is. Yet, we still need to carpe diem seize the day and turn a negative into a positive. I was in the bakery on Friday and I’ve been going there for 20 years and this guy was born in Germany and is a philosophical type like myself. He shared a story his father had told him. That there are two sides to every coin. It was a good reminder. His father’s bakery was bombed three times during WWII but he kept going. That takes grit. It was also interesting studying his hand as he talked. His hands are smooth and could well be used for hand-modelling. They had a dusting of flour and flour pressed into the cuticles. By the way, the baker’s name is Ron and he’s rather well-known for having the hottest pie in the Southern Hemisphere, which is known as “the Flamin’ Ron”. Here’s a link: https://www.bremenpatisserie.com.au/the-flaming-ron
    Sorry I missed your birthday.I blame being shut down in Australia.
    How is Max going? Geoff just walked past and Zac and Rosie were jumping around and wanting him to throw the ball, and Lady was lying there doing nothing. So, he asked: “You’ve got a dead dog there, have you?” She’s subsequently moved moved into looking anymore animated.

  5. Emille

    Since your birthday was less than a month ago, still a happy birthday to you! Am surprised; the death rate is not that high! Also I saw on the internet about New Zealand they instituted a lockdown because of ONE covid case.
    Looks you had a pretty good birthday – next year you should pamper yourself and let a store/bakery your birthday cake!! By the way my birthday was August 3. Did not celebrate it, but got phonecall wishes from my kids and brother. Good talking to ya, Rowena:)
    Emille (Jesh)

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