As I type this, fingers of sunshine are pushing their way through the curtains and a BBC breakfast presenter with an annoyingly high-pitched voice is telling me it's going to be a glorious 24 degrees today.
On the other side of the world, Wellington has donned its winter coat: the Stuff website says it's raining and a nasty southerly is rattling its cage. Somewhere in Khandallah, the lovely Brownie is nearing the end of her first day as a 40 year old. I still kick myself for missing Brownie's wedding and now I've gone and missed her milestone birthday too. What a rubbish friend I am.
But, dear B, know that you're never far from my thoughts and every time I use my iPod or accumulate someone's business card, I think of the generous and thoughtful gifts you and Sarah gave me when I left NZ.
At an interview recently, I was asked how my friends would describe me. I'm not sure which jumble of adjectives and nouns Brownie would assemble for me but I'd liken her to a cashmere blanket: stylish, classic and so warm and cosy you want to permanently wrap yourself in its embrace.
We came to our friendship late, meeting not at work or school (she went somewhere far posher than Sacred Heart, which is probably why she's the classiest person I know) but via a mutual friend. Since then, I have been an immensely lucky recipient of B's gift for friendship and, despite the fact that our lives are on totally different trajectories, she has helped me rewrite the script of several life crises.
This vision of blonde loveliness has also achieved that rarest of things – producing one of only two children on the planet I can stand to be around (the other being my niece Amira). Thanks Charlotte for showing me that not everyone shorter than me is to be avoided.
Brownie, hope today wasn't too traumatic. Forty is just a number and I know you'll carry it off with the aplomb and grace that has served you thus far. Happy Birthday, my darling friend xx
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