A Historical Happy Birthday

Catalonia, Festivals, Spain

This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge invites us to focus on birthdays. We’re not big on birthdays in our family, but back in June 2019, something special happened. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

We’re in Spain. Emily and Miquel had invited us to celebrate her 30th birthday with them, so off we went to Barcelona on Thursday. Where they immediately announced ‘Some friends have lent us their holiday home near the coast for the weekend. Don’t unpack. We’re off in an hour.’

The sun was setting as we arrived at a village, somewhere near Girona. As the car came to a stop, I was sure it must be the wrong place – there were cars in the drive, and this was no small holiday cottage. We got out anyway…. and a line of people appeared on the balcony singing ‘Happy Birthday’…. to me!

It was my family. My whole family. My three children, their partners and children had all secretly plotted and contrived to come here for a long-delayed 70th birthday celebration, just for me, here, this weekend. And I hadn’t suspected a thing.

On the actual day, two years ago, Ellie was in the middle of chemotherapy and celebrations were in short supply.

So here we are, all 15 of us, all in the same place at the same time – something that almost never happens. For a whole long weekend of glorious weather, spending our days playing with the children on the beach, and exploring, and our evenings on the terrace outside eating, drinking and talking, always talking…..’

June 1st, 2019

Let’s have a miscellany of the house, the sitting-round-together, the beach, the meals, the Catalonian ambience, and even … a praying mantis.

That first evening
Celebrating in town
Eating out by the beach

54 thoughts on “A Historical Happy Birthday

  1. Wonderful family time. Thank you for sharing such sunny happiness. A treasure of a memory that will shine a long time all and an example of how to do it for those of us who notice it can be done.

    Sandy ________________________________

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  2. Exceptional surprise and a marvellous celebration and I remember thinking when you first posted about it that somebody had been exceedingly competent at coordinating and organising arrangements – and keeping it all a secret.

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  3. Ah, those times are so rare! Didn’t quite manage everyone together in 2017 when the Aussies came over, but I did see all my children and their families over the autumn months. The last time we were all together was Christmas in Wales, 2011, in a big draughty former pub in the middle of nowhere. Such good fun though with the ‘boys’ doing the Christmas dinner, two Christmas trees and very windy Boxing Day beach walks! It would be fantastic to try and get the family together again after these past couple of years, plus there has been an addition since 2017. I’m thinking of a large villa in France in the summer, in the sunshine with a big swimming pool, food, wine…
    Such times are priceless.

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  4. I so love this idea; and secretly I’d wish that such a party would be given to me…. but I know this won’t happen. I’ve seen my son twice the last 12 months, at the funeral of my youngest sister in April 2021 and at my mum’s this March. I’d love to see the whole gang of family and friends all together for any reason, it wouldn’t have to be a birthday. The joie de vivre jumps out of those photos and I love that ‘cobbled-together’ meal in the first photo. Those feasts are the best and I am glad that you could make this experience. I seem to remember that you wrote about it at the time – so beautiful and something to go in future (and present) memory lane tales!

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      1. I just see that my comment looks like a complaint. It isn’t; it’s just that I think we should, God willingly, enjoy every single day and make the best of it. If it includes a large surprise family gathering, ALL THE BETTER!

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  5. A wonderful surprise and the memories will shine forever! Lovely, warm photos and the joy shining through every piece – Congrats to you and to the perfect organization of it. You have got a lovely family.

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      1. I threw a surprise birthday party for Kim last year. It was rather stressful keeping it under wraps and especially dealing with her pre-party disappointment when I didn’t make the appropriate 65th birthday fuss in the morning before the event.

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  6. What a wonderful celebration, Margaret. Many firsts that will always stay fresh is your memory. A growing family/new generations that fill your life with so much love. Sunshine and water, dancing and delicious food. Life is the very best.

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  7. This is such a wonderful post and wonderful memory. They completely planned this wonderful weekend without you realizing it!! It looks like a beautiful place. They knew what you really wanted–for everyone to be together.

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