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so i’m halfway through my birthday week. it’s been a funny kind of week; a big mix of emotions.

my birthday day was really lovely. picked mum up in the morning, and found that dave had left a present and a card for me on the table (DVD of king kong). went to say goodbye to mum’s best friend sandra, who was flying back to manchester in the morning and she gave me a book – a short history of tractors in ukrainian by marina lewycka, which sandra assures me is a brilliant novel (though oddly titled). we had to take a detour into town to drop off my second birthday camera (i had bought the digital camera (dad contributed), and i had gone to pick it up the night before. there was all this rigmarole about how the order hadn’t shown up at the shop even though the guy i spoke to said it would be there. eventually they gave me a camera and were very nice about it; the next day the original camera was waiting for me at the post office. two for the price of one? sadly, no).

then drove up to leura with mum and met jennie at loaves and dishes, where we had a pleasant lunch and chat (mark and jen gave me the strangely addictive game bohnanza, which we had played at new year’s, and a beautiful card that said the most wonderfully affirming things). we wandered through the shops, bought candles (mum bought me a chocolate candle for work and a spanish rose candle for home, I bought stacie some cinnamon candles and myself a cinnamon votive and a coffee and chocolate votive) and books (going postal by terry pratchett), then went to lilianfels.
<-- me and jen in the lounge

we checked in and had devonshire tea (with fig jam) in the lounge, which has overstuffed couches and crackling fires, just as jennie and i had been dreaming about for the last couple of months. we had to leave jen there to go and have our massages in the gorgeous spa. it’s a lovely place, so peaceful. my masseur was a bit intense and recommended that I try Neuro Linguistic Programming instead of counselling because counselling hadn’t helped her and her schizophrenic and manic depressive sisters. I just smiled and accepted her note with the details on it (i’m not a huge fan of masseurs who boss you around, which is part of the reason why i stopped going to the guy in glebe, even though he was the best masseur i’ve ever been to, just because he wouldn’t stop lecturing me about how much water i was supposed to drink). regardless, she gave me a fantastic massage.

we went back to our lovely little room and lay around for a while. it was a very sweet room, calm and peaceful, with a well-appointed marble bathroom and comfortable soft beds. we got dressed, me in my new black dress and high heels, and walked down to darley’s for dinner. it’s a gorgeous restaurant, although, as with the last time we went, you seem to be forced to eavesdrop on people nearby. maybe the tables are too close together? or maybe we always just end up sitting next to people who are very self-important, very loudly.

anyway, this is what I ate:

  • appetiser of Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle cream
  • for mains, free range pheasant, roasted breast, slow-cooked leg, spatzle, fresh chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, salsify, spec
  • for dessert, ‘Jaffa’ orange blossom ice cream, dark chocolate mousse and cumquat marmalade
  • and to drink, a half bottle of Henschke Keyneton Estate 2001

a very very nice meal indeed. and very expensive, all round. I was going to pay for the massages and dinner, but mum insisted on paying for the lot. gulp! thanks!

the next morning we got up and went for a swim in the gorgeous indoor heated pool, then sat in the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. so luxurious! and aside from the old man doing laps in the pool, we were the only ones down there. we had breakfast (some fresh fruit, eggs benedict, coffee), checked out, and sat in the lounge reading the Saturday paper for a couple of hours, drinking peppermint tea. we eventually felt we had to move on, but it had been really restful and restoring.

i feel so lucky that we were able to have such an oasis of a weekend in the midst of a very stressful and emotional time. this week i’ve been off work, but i’ve found it really hard to chill out (despite the incredible kick start of relaxing at the mountains). haven’t been sleeping properly, and have been having many bad dreams. i’ve also been really, really, inexplicably sad, which is a little bit frustrating. i’ve tried to ameliorate it by making sure i am catching up with friends, and have things to do, while at the same time i’m craving quiet, alone time. yet when i have it i feel depressed and aimless.

it feels very selfish to feel that way when over the last week i have realised how blessed i am with friends and family who love me, and how i have every thing i need as well as amazing luxuries that are just over and above what i need. the overwhelming sadness feels wrong somehow, but it’s very hard to get out of even when i want to.

having said that, i think it’s starting to pick up, and tomorrow i am hoping to sleep in and maybe read all morning or something like that, and just be kind to myself. and i’m having a buffy night with the baddeleys tomorrow and cocktails on friday! things to look forward to!