Fifty: family, friends, fabulous

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Rather than taking leave of my forties at a stroll; turning 50 was a commando roll. In the midst of plans & preparations for our move to Taylors Arm November 29 snuck up on me as the focus suddenly shifted to celebrating my 50th birthday, which until the light dawned -literally- on Sunday morning, seemed notional.

In preceding months the G.O.’s question of what did I want to do for my birthday was met with varying answers all of which I suffixed with “but I don’t know’. Fortunately Dad had thought about it.

Dad’s suggestion to replicate his February family birthday gathering at Lifeboat Seafood at Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River was the solution staring me in the face. He made some calls. I made some calls, and Dad made a booking for 15 for lunch. In the week before 2 opted out and 2 others, my best-friend-may-as-well-be-family Mrs S. and her husband opted in.

My intrepid Melbournite landlord-sister decided to take advantage of discounted fares and try the overnight train from south of the border, arriving in time for breakfast Sunday morning at our-her apartment before getting onto another train to take us to the Hawkesbury River. En route the rest of the Sydney contingent, Mr & Mrs S (actually from the Blue Mountains & Canberra) and my aunt & uncle, found us in the pre-agreed third carriage… the first and last designated quiet carriages being totally unsuitable.

Most of Hunter Valley group travelled en famille in my youngest sister’s new 7 seater 4WD with my new niece whose cuteness stole my limelight garnered everyone’s attention. Waiting on a couple of stragglers we, in customary family style, reshuffled tables to accommodate 11 of us in an adjacent shady café and settled in with drinks to catch up.

We seated newbie Mr S. next to Dad for traditional gentle hazing and passed the time playing pass the parcel niece around the circuit of laps until my brother & his partner arrived and we crossed the road to similarly annex the restaurant. The waitstaff struggled to make themselves heard over the conversation but they produced glasses & beers, my uncle produced a bottle of chilled white wine and the party got started amidst musings over the fresh, local seafood menu offerings. My youngest cousin, last & solo, roared in on his motorcycle, settled himself in the midst for a while until musical chairs quashed any thoughts of seating proprietorship.

Quiet other than communication necessary for passing and sharing food reigned briefly once the meals were distributed… it had gotten a bit loud trying to figure out flathead-blackfish-snapper-grilled-battered-prawns-crab-chips-salad and who ordered oysters?

Hours later my voice was hoarse, my sisters had gone off with my niece in the pram hopeful of her falling asleep (not a chance!) in search of ice-creams, and we were almost done I thought when Dad reminded everyone why we were all there and my stepmother produced a container of gooey cream cheese iced carrot cake slice. We parleyed over big-small-half pieces, and then had to move in order to walk it all off, took half an hour to finish conversations and say goodbyes before the Sydney-bound train was due.

We commandeered a generous section of train carriage then chatted around my sister who’d finally succumbed to her interstate travels and fallen asleep, made plans for future meet ups before half got off half-way and the remainder headed back to the inner city for a stroll along King Street towards home in time for my sister to revive before we walked her back to the train station for the overnight return trip to Melbourne.

The G.O. and I arrived home finally, did what we had to, enjoyed a peaceful glass of wine, showered and went to bed. My last words for the day were “I’m so pleased it’s another decade to my next zero birthday”.

The morning following my birthday, Monday the 30th the first day of the rest of my life, I felt merited a kindness to myself of an extra hour in bed. Start as you mean to go on.

I received lots of beautiful cards and gifts but best of all was the company... "some people make you laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter, and your life a little better."
I received beautiful cards and gifts but best of all was the company… “some people make you laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter, and your life a little better.”

Birthday out of the way, we’re on the countdown… off to Taylors Arm this weekend to make enough space to fit in the contents of a one bedroom Sydney apartment. The removalist truck is confirmed for the 15th. New tenants move into the apartment on the 19th.

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

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44 thoughts on “Fifty: family, friends, fabulous

    Cecilia Mary Gunther said:
    December 3, 2015 at 6:12 am

    I love that this was all done by train, collecting everyone and coming and going – how delightful. I love train travel/. And to take a train out for lunch sounds deeply romantic to this land locked soul! Happy birthday honey! c

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 6:18 am

      Thank you. Oh yes, the train trip is tradition, like the old days, meeting up and going on a jaunt to the river for a day!

      Liked by 1 person

    roughseasinthemed said:
    December 3, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Commando roll looks like a sideways tippleover. Can’t get that annoying website on Halpad, I remember trying the last time!

    I *think* my 50th was a week at the finca. Peace and quiet. Nice. But, if you enjoy family birthday parties, that would be just as nice. Belated greetings and glad you enjoyed it. 🎂

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 6:40 am

      Correct…it’s a sideways roll that launches you very effectively at pace 🙂 Lifeboat Seafood’s full website requires a Silver-light plug in… I only ever get as far as the front page for the contact details.
      As far as my family get-togethers go, my 50th was small and quiet. My preferred birthday mode is the verandah at TA, a bottle of wine and G.O.’s seafood barbeque.

      Liked by 1 person

    Francesca said:
    December 3, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Happy Birthday Elladee. Sounds like a great day out with the family- nothing better than a lunch at a top place and going there by train. The best years are coming, but then thay are all good really.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Thank you. A truly lovely day, and if I couldn’t be on the verandah at TA it was the next best thing 🙂

      Like

    Nola Mackey said:
    December 3, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Congratulations. May you have many more quiet ones at TA, but in ‘fabulous’ style.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you. Quiet birthdays in TA are my style 🙂

      Like

    Lori said:
    December 3, 2015 at 7:08 am

    What a fantastic family celebration for the one and only, Miss D. How nice of them to be there for you from near and far. Welcome to the 50’s club. So nice to have you. May your decade (and beyond) be filled with bountiful blessings.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Thank you. I was honoured that my family & friends joined me for the day. I’m very lucky. 50 to me means another F word – Freedom 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Gerlinde said:
    December 3, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Happy 50 EllaDee , it was the best decade for me. What fun to go out on the train with your family.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Thank you. Family trips on the train are happy memories. I’m looking forward to the new beginning, coincidental but good timing 🙂

      Like

    katechiconi said:
    December 3, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Sounds as if your family knows how to celebrate *properly*! I wish I’d known in time to send a card or proper greeting on the day. Talk to you later!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 9:33 am

      It was great timing for a get together, pre Christmas and pre our departure, and they like getting together for birthdays particularly those with a zero.

      Liked by 1 person

    ardysez said:
    December 3, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Belated and very best wishes, Dale. What a wonderful description of a family gathering. I could just picture everyone talking at once and all the food arriving. The train travel is such a nice option. My 50th was spent on our patio watching the sunset and eating fish and chips with friends. Not fancy but very memorable. Onward!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Thank you for the birthday wishes and kind words 🙂 There is always the attraction of quiet and simple (and memorable but not fancy) for me when I celebrate but it was lovely to do our usual family thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    Kourtney Heintz said:
    December 3, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Happy 50th Birthday! I love how your dad helped out. This sounds like the best way to spend a big birthday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Thank you. Dad really enjoyed that it was his idea and the day with the family too which made me very happy.

      Liked by 1 person

    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    December 3, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Happy Birthday. Now that the first 50 years are out of the way, you are ready to really live.
    (Sigh. What a nice event. Having such a family and such gatherings must be wonderful. You are rich beyond measure. ….and always knew from past posts your dad was cool)

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you. It feels like that… those younger decade are such hard work figuring out who you are. Now I have that out of the way I just wanna have fun!
      I know how lucky I am to have in my life the G.O., Dad, my family & friends and more lately those more far flung of the blogging community. Priceless 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    acflory said:
    December 3, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    It’s been ten years since we last moved…good luck. 🙂

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you. I just got the delivery of packing boxes this morning… it doesn’t look like enough. Yet it’s a repeat order from our last move. Surely we haven’t accumulated that much extra stuff in 4 years. We’ve a few storage tubs, and always the option of garbage bags.

      Like

        acflory said:
        December 3, 2015 at 5:36 pm

        Hah! Famous last words. :p
        I had to hire a small truck like thing to transport all the potplants I’d accumulated through 10 years of renting – masses of roses and fruit trees in tubs I couldn’t move…-sigh- Sorry, I should be more encouraging. I’m sure everything you really want to take will fit. -hugs-

        Like

          EllaDee responded:
          December 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm

          You obviously have a greener thumb than me! The potplants are going up in the ute this weekend.

          Like

          acflory said:
          December 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm

          lol – no, I just had longer to collect them I think. And a ute’s pretty big too. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

    Glenda said:
    December 3, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful day, Ella. A great start to the rest of your life.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you. It was a lovely birthday and nice to share it, and I believe an auspicious start to a new year, decade and era 🙂

      Like

    anne54 said:
    December 3, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Happy Birthday, EllaDee. How lovely to know that the ones you celebrate from now on will be in your new life! It sounds like a special celebration for a special birthday.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you. It’s always nice to get together with family & friends on any occasion but extra special this time as our move will take us a little in distance from them but hopefully we’ll have more time to spend in balance.

      Like

    davidprosser said:
    December 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    A belated Penblwydd Hapus Dale. It sounds like you had the perfect family celebration. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself so much even with your limelight stolen temporarily.I have my 65th next month so you’re still a sprog. I’m doing my very best to make sure NO celebrations, especially surprise ones.At this age the memorable ones come at 5 year intervals so make the best of this 10 year gap.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 3, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Thank you. Good luck with the no celebration thing. I’ve noted before Yvonne’s similarity to my lot, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they have selective deafness in common too.

      Like

    Richard Guest said:
    December 4, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Belated Happy Birthday, EllaDee!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 4, 2015 at 5:52 am

      Thank you 🙂 Birthday out the way… on with packing and shifting now!

      Liked by 1 person

    memoirsofahusk said:
    December 4, 2015 at 3:46 am

    I missed it ;-( but not too late to wish you a very happy new decade, Dee. It sounds like you had a fab time and I now feel HUNGRY! Good luck squeezing everything into the hobbit hole (such a great quote) – hope you’ve installed a peephole – you don’t want to open the door to a wizard with a beard if you want to enjoy Taylors Arm in peace for a while… 🙂

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 4, 2015 at 5:54 am

      Thank you 🙂 Very clever! The chain on the front gate always alerts to visitors so I’ll be on the look out for wizards although beards are somewhat common thereabouts. I’ll wait awhile but an adventure sounds like fun.

      Liked by 1 person

    sara said:
    December 5, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Aw…love the quote you finished it on! What a lovely birthday. Very civilised (except for that train trip your sister took from Melbourne! Down and back in the one day!) I’m turning 40 next year, and would like to do something special…haven’t decided what yet.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 9, 2015 at 6:01 am

      Thank you. It was the best birthday gift of all -time and good company 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    diannegray said:
    December 5, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Fifty and fabulous, Dale!!!! Happy Birthday. I love the sound of all that seafood. What a great day you must have had (and yes – your niece sounds adorable) xxxxx

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 9, 2015 at 6:03 am

      Thank you. It’s a lovely simple garden café with fresh caught seafood… never disappoints. And yes, so nice having a baby in the family 🙂

      Like

    ChgoJohn said:
    December 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday, EllaDee, surrounded by a loving family. Of course, there had to be an attention grabber in the group, as is so often the case when families gather. 🙂 It cannot get more special than train rides and seafood. Y’all did it right!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      December 9, 2015 at 6:05 am

      Thank you. I like quiet birthdays -and seafood- I’m not a party girl so it was perfect. It’s fun having a next generation of our family coming through.

      Like

    Pete Denton said:
    January 12, 2016 at 4:18 am

    A belated Happy Birthday!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      January 13, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Thank you… I’m really only now taking time out to enjoy it 🙂

      Like

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