Sunday, 12 October 2008


Last night, as I was being hoisted from my wheelchair to the bed, my head slightly fuzzy from wine and an evening of company, I was reminded once again how much being part of a community of family and friends is how wealth should really be measured. I lost count of the number of people at the party when I got to around 90. 90 people who had come to celebrate Polly's birthday.

There was wine and food in abundance and a strange confluence of family and friends from many different aspects of my beloveds life. Friends from as long ago as primary school chatting with parents of primary school classmates of our own children. Actors talking to vicars, aunts sharing with friends from church, colleagues with carers. And so many people working together to make it all happen, generously giving the gift of time and talent, decorating the hall, running the kitchen, and building the elephant. Polly looked beautiful in a lovely sari and the boys wore matching 'Indian Prince' outfits. I was dressed.

Now, I'm sat amongst a pile of wrapping paper and presents as Polly gleefully tries on pieces of jewellery and admires cards and wonders what to do with the whole heap of naan bread we have found in a bag. Me, I'm rather glad there are some Indian sweets left over. Polly has promised not to have a 41st birthday party but I did catch her looking at me thoughtfully as she wound up and packed away lengths of bright garlands of flowers and asking what I think about a Hawaiian theme. I'm 50 in three years time.