My birthday started rather badly. Nathan went to work. I had my evening plans cancelled and I ended up home alone. It was all a little desperate. I sat in front of the telly editing my film whilst wishing I'd thought a little harder about what I might do today.
Nathan, bless him, must have texted some of my friends, because I had a series of lovely messages, many of which took the form of little films and photographs. My favourite came from Goddaughter Deia, who was on a trampoline. Her head kept bouncing into shot whilst she sang a deeply scatalogical version of Happy Birthday. There was also a photo from my cousins Matt and Boo, which their three children in Stockholm holding a sign which read "Happy Birthday Ben." Lovely. People are so kind. And inventive.
I spoke to my Mum at lunchtime who suggested I took a trip up to Thaxted, and it struck me that this was the right thing to do. If in doubt, head to the parents! I tried to post some letters before leaving. The queue for the Highgate Post Office stretched out into the street, just like it gets in the run up to Christmas. I hung around, ineffectually hoping it would miraculously disappear if I muttered swear words under my breath. Peering into the shop I noticed that the man at the front of the queue was sending scores of parcels, so I gave up, and decided to go to Muswell Hill en route. I'm not sure what it was about Monday August 8th, but that branch was similarly chocka. I'd paid for 25 minutes' parking, and, after twenty, was no nearer the counters, so gave up and drove to Thaxted in a foul mood.
Thaxted provided me with exactly the tonic I was looking for, not least because my parents' old friend, Mo was there. Mo was a colleague of my father's at the school he taught at and I went to, so she's known me since I was perhaps 8 years old. She lived in Crouch End whilst I was at Mountview and used to take me out for cups of tea and chocolate croissants to make sure I was okay. She sat on the front row at our wedding and is in a lot of the shots. She looks a little like my Mum, so I assume the TV people thought she was my aunt. Frankly, she might as well be. She's an absolute riot and has always reminded me of Joanna Lumley. In the last year she's lost a phenomenal amount of weight after being diagnosed with type two diabetes, which she's actually managed to reverse. There is a revolutionary new treatment plan which the university of Newcastle has created involving fast weight loss which genuinely seems to work. If the body is shocked into eating its own fat reserves, it will, apparently, swallow up the thin layer of fat on the pancreas which prevents insulin being created. I think it's the pancreas, but I'm no biologist. I did single integrated science at GSCE like a proper thicko! Whatever the science behind it is, it seems to have worked a treat with Mo. Her nurse calls her a miracle, and she looks a million dollars.
We strolled down to the magic place and communed a little with nature. It felt powerful, somehow. My friend Jo tells me that amazing energies are heading towards Earth at the moment which I reckon we could all do with. And I guess that believing they're there is half the battle. If we start to expect happiness, we'll start to notice it more when we feel it. We'll smile more and happiness will spread. I'm sure the same is true of negativity. Surely the strength of a recession, for example, is governed by how consumers respond to news that there might be a recession? Or am I over-simplifying things? I can sense Brother Edward reading this and hanging his head in shame!