Birthday cake is tricky…there are unwritten rules and conventions to be observed. I had failed to grasp this principle and paid the price – bigtime. My improvised tea fruit cake with drizzle orange icing sugar was roundly mocked.
To be fair, it became a sticky, stodgy disappointment before I put the Happy Birthday candles on it and presented it to the birthday girl. My belle-mère or mother-in-law, if you positively insist on the less charming English, was very complimentary. It might have been alright as a postprandial amuse bouche with strong coffee, but as a rushed preprandial ritual it came up short.
The pints and lack of sleep had left two of our party like the walking dead, faking an approximation of humanity. Pizza Express set out to expose zombies by depriving them of coolth in the noisy, crowded restaurant on the Lisburn Road.
We five ate our way through pizzas and pasta, with oxygen breaks for the zombies. The plan had been for four of us to go and watch an action movie, but the zombies weren’t up to it, so we split up. The cake situation was rescued by our youngest who nipped round to M&S and bought a caterpillar cake – the girlie version. He lit the candles again and we posed for photos.
Later we got together at our house where the birthday girl unwrapped presents and recounted the verbosity of the taxi driver and his domestic troubles. 1am was time for bed and I am not going to tell you where I poured a mug of hot tea when I fell asleep on the sofa.