It was my birthday on the first of August. And despite the fact that I’m now in the last year of my forties, it was a great day!

Caiti made me some beautiful presents. I’ve tried several times over the years to teach her how to use the sewing machine, and to knit, as these are things I love doing. I feel duty bound to pass on what Mum taught me, all that mother to daughter stuff. Now, in the interests of equality, I did try to initiate Benj in the useful skills of sewing and knitting, but that go nowhere. There was every danger he’d sew himself to the machine as he treated it like a racing car, revving it up as fast as it would go. And on the knitting front, well, we settled for pompom making. I went into Innishannon School several years running with some other crafty mums to teach the whole class to sew and knit. Most of the boys turned out to be very good. But not our Benj!

Back to Caiti’s pressies. We did some sewing a little while ago, and suddenly she’s taken to it. My machine vanished up into her bedroom and then on my birthday she presented me with these wonderful homemade goodies. There’s a padded camera case, a fabric-covered notebook and a truly brilliant Kindle carrier. Aren’t they fab?

We went for a reasonably long family bike ride, past the peculiar truncated tower at Tercillat. We passed a plum tree spilling its small yellow fruit on the ground, so, of course, we stopped and helped ourselves to windfalls. I can’t resist plums.

I had several dips in the pool, amidst the usual farm-related chores and some writing. And to finish the day, a traditional Dagg family birthday tea with Pringles, tomato tart and pizza, cake and ice-cream. This year Caits made me a buckwheat cake with chocolate frosting and a chocolate, toasted hazlenut and melted Snickers filling. It was as awesome as it sounds. Buckwheat, sarrasin, is gluten free and has a lovely rich, nutty flavour. On the downside it’s more fattening than ordinary flour, but it’s more filling so a little bit goes a long way. After eating a slice of the cake with Caiti’s cookie-dough icecream, no-one of us had room for the chocolate hazelnut tart Caiti had made as well. Possibly you’ve guessed that I like chocolate and nuts!

Our friends Pat and Roger, who are here for a month in their holiday house nearby, joined us under the gazebo for the celebrations. Benj and I had erected the pavilion, the People Republic of China’s best, during the afternoon. It was brand new but started falling apart during the process, so we were frankly amazed that it was still standing come teatime. We took it down quickly today as a stiff breeze had got up which our gazebo was not going to be able to withstand for long. I think we should have gone a little more up-market when we made our purchase.

Catch-up day today, then back to ‘normal’ tomorrow. See you then.