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I know this is a bit late in the writing but it’s been a bit of a busy old time lately. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it!

So last week I entered my 40th year on this mortal coil. Okay, it wasn’t my 40th birthday – that’s next year – but technically this is indeed now my 40th year on this planet we call home. Quite a scary thought that and actually makes the coming of my 40th Birthday a bit less traumatising as, well, I’ve already started that [supposedly] significant year. Anyway, enough of all this waffling and on with what I’ve been up to.

It all started the weekend before my Birthday. Russ came down for the weekend, without Rachel unfortunately as she wasn’t feeling too well. As it was a nice weekend we went to the Bull hotel in Sonning on the Saturday for lunch and then took a little stroll along the Thames in the sunshine. It was lovely to be by the river and I must sort out some weekends to start walking the entire Thames Path this summer.

The evening was spent in Henley where we caught up with Matt and Hazel and my dear friend Shelli. Drinks were had before heading to the Spice Merchant for some top-notch Indian cuisine. The food is absolutely amazing there and, if you’re ever in the area, I’d highly recommend a visit. Bellies full we headed to the Hotel Du Vin in the old Brakspear Brewery building for another drink before heading off to slumber fully satiated by great food and beer – a great way to start the Birthday celebrations!

The celebrations continued Monday evening in London; where else other than the Bear and Staff, the trusty old watering hole? Okay, Monday night drinking isn’t normally the best way to start the week but it was the only night everyone could make it so what are you going to do? It was a cracking evening and great to catch up with some more family and friends. Thanks everyone for helping the old celebrations along.

I think I’d pushed it a bit too hard over the previous days especially considering I wasn’t exactly in full health to start with. Tuesday my body hit back with a vengeance. My earache went through the roof and I had to leave work early as it was beginning to affect my vision. Not good. That was the hardest drive home I’ve had in a very long time. Not fun at all. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent resting up.

On Wednesday, after resting in the morning, I drove up to see my friend Ann in Stourbridge. I took a stroll round Stourbridge for a bit and finally settled in at the Duke William pub for a couple of pints while I waited for Ann to return from a shopping trip in Birmingham with her parents. A really nice pub with some great beers on. I sampled the Butty Bach and Jaipur India Pale Ale, a nice gentle 5.9% ale for the afternoon. In the evening we went to a nice pub (forget the name now) for some really nice food and a good catch up.

Thursday we decided – as I was feeling better from the earache and general aches and pains – to drive to Snowden and conquer the summit, the first time I’d ever tried. In fact, as we drove there I was desperately trying to remember a time I’d actually been to Wales before which in the end I couldn’t – how mad is that?! So, first time in Wales and first time up Snowden…nice! It was a long day and a tough climb but the weather was divine and I snapped away with my trusty little camera, the one that made it all the way up the country with me. There’s a gallery in the photo section if you want to see what it looked like – the views were stunning!

After all that fun and games it was back to reality and madly rushing round the house getting it ready for the girls’ visit at the weekend. We had a great time and they helped me make a Birthday cake, blowing out the candles for me. And no, I didn’t put 39 candles on it before you start to talk about fire hazards and small children! We had lots of fun over the weekend but as ever it was all too soon before I had to take them back to Kent and say goodbye again for two weeks. Sad.

All in all though it was a pretty good Birthday even if my girls do think that 39 is really old! Thanks to everyone for helping me celebrate the passing of another year – you’re all great!