Friday 13 was bad luck for Google - the Blogger service was down globally for the entire day. Which means it chewed up my birthday post of yesterday and spat it out god knows where.
Fortunately I still had it in my Google reader - so yesterday's post is being reheated as today's offering. The only buggar is that I have subsequently lost all the lovely birthday messages posted by friends from around the world. Bad, bad Google...
So here goes again - THURSDAY 12 MAY
Travel is supposed to broaden the mind and expand one's horizons. It also challenges our preconceptions and brings into question the karmic balance.
Exhibit A: the recent Emirates flight I took from Dubai to Heathrow. Not only did they seat me at the arse end of the plane, next to the loo, they also thought I'd enjoy sitting next to a four-year-old. Those of you who know me know that I consider children to be on a par with the Ebola virus - to be avoided at all cost. I wondered what I had done to deserve that particular hell.
But the oddest thing happened: not only was the rug-rat the quietest on the planet, his mother Maha turned out to be the sort of seat companion long haul travel was invented for. A financial journalist and author, she was ridiculously erudite, funny and generous. So much so that a copy of her first novel (pictured above) plopped through my front door this morning. A lovely unexpected birthday present, and proof that there are still some good 'uns in the world.
Yes, today is my birthday and so far it has been a roller-coaster kind of day:
Down: My age is now so high I get vertigo from saying it out loud.
Up: I couldn't give a toss anymore. I'm proud of the skills and achievements I've been fortunate to accumulate over the years; you don't get to this level by being an airhead teenager.
Up: The glorious bunch of flowers the Animator bought me.
Down: They activate my hayfever any time I go near them; hence the unceremonious way they've been plonked into a vase.
Up: The beautiful cards, texts and emails from all over the planet.
Down: Unless someone has invented a tardis I don't know about, I won't be able to spend my special day with loved ones on the other side of the world.
Up: Landing a writing gig with a film company of my acquaintance; nice to be doing something other than churning out media releases all day.
Down: Have you been smoking crack? Read the sentence above again. There is no down; the Patron Saint of Careers finally swung by.
Up: Breakfast and lunch were joyous carnivals of cholesterol. I have no reason to believe the pattern will be broken at dinner.
Down: Accepting those calories will never leave my hips; not without surgery, anyway.
Up: Wanting to bake a chocolate torte for tonight's celebrations with friends.
Down: Realising the health and safety implications of this; anything to emerge from the Slum's kitchen is likely to play fast and loose with one's digestive well-being.
Up: Getting the green light from my darling Aussie/British mate Gina for the copywriting I've just done for her website. And being asked to help out with her business.
Down: there isn't one - I've always secretly wanted to be a florist.
Up: Going for a leisurely run around an almost deserted Downs.
Down: Realising that no matter how many times I circumnavigate that sodding park, I won't lose the lard I've accumulated since arriving in the UK.
Up: Finding the perfect French Connection top to wear at the weekend - a mere snip at 3 quid (did I mention how much I am going to miss Bristol's superb charity shops?)
Down: Accepting it's yet another item to be shipped home.