Special Birthdays In Lockdown

(**Update**. I am aware that so many people are spending birthdays alone today, or worse still, in hospital. This post is not meant to suggest that either Julie or I are badly off, in any way.)

Most of us feel something different about birthdays that announce a new decade. Whether it is 30, 40, 50, or even 80, there is undeniably something special about them. When you are 20, you are no longer a teenager, and if you see your 90th year, you are doing pretty well even in this day and age.

My wife Julie is 60 today. Bad enough having a January birthday in winter weather and so soon after Christmas in any year. But in one of the worst periods in living memory, a lockdown birthday when you have to go to work puts the tin hat on it.

When I was 50, Julie treated me to a long weekend in Rome. It was mid-March, and we enjoyed exceptionally warm weather. When she was 50, I took her to Prague to celebrate. Cold but dry, and very interesting. A couple of years ago, we started to plan where to go for Julie’s 60th. A few days in a place neither of us had ever been. Perhaps Valetta in Malta, or Gibraltar. Our neighbour kindly offered to take care of Ollie in our absence. Our plan was to book that holiday in January 2020, a year in advance.

Well, we all know what happened.

On the 26th of December, the second lockdown arrived. I couldn’t take her into Norwich to choose her special gift from the jeweller’s shop, as it is non-essential. And the restaurant where we had hoped to celebrate can only supply a takeaway meal. The one we had chosen doesn’t offer that option.

That leaves Julie celebrating her big Six-O with no gift from me, and an Indian takeaway that we could have any other night of the week. And she has had to go into work. As she works for the NHS in a local doctor’s, it would have seemed rather lame to request holiday leave because it is her birthday.

And just to remind us that we live in Beetley, and it is January, it has been raining solidly for 24 hours.

Happy Birthday, Julie.

110 thoughts on “Special Birthdays In Lockdown

    1. I had to come up to Norfolk, as Julie was already living here. It was a bad week. I retired on the 12th of March. My mum died on the 14th of March, and my birthday was the 16th. We went to the north coast that night, and had dinner on a Dutch Barge. Pancakes and waffles, my choice. I wasn’t feeling it, as you might imagine. But Julie bought me a wonderful (and very expensive) limited edition framed print, by my favourite artist, Stephen Wiltshire. I had to return to London soon after, for my retirement leaving ‘do’, and to try to sort out my mum’s funeral and clearing out her flat. Between the 14th of March and the end of April was the most tiring and stressful time in my life. I was drinking two bottles of wine every night, just to be able to sleep.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hectic as the kids say or was that what was said when I was a kid? It was certainly all happening around your 60th but your nee life came from it and living permanently with zjulie was a nice outcome. Your Mum lives on in you and that is a good thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I think Malta or Gibraltar in a couple of years sounds like a good idea. They say 62 is the new 60. As it is, I know you guys love a good curry. Happy birthday Julie, thank you for tireless work that carries with it a great deal of risk and stress. I’m sure you take great care of the patients. Stay safe and best wishes Pete and Julie and Ollie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1a) “When I was 50, Julie treated me to a long weekend in Rome.” Weekends here in Las Vegas are way too short. Saturday and Sunday only add up to 48 hours. How many hours are in a Roman weekend?
    (1b) I was going to book a Roman holiday, but was told Audrey Hepburn was no longer in town.
    (2) At my 10th birthday party, I was told to put my ten hat on.
    (3) Bad citation: “Our neighbour kindly offered to take care of Olly in our absence.” (Angela and Leah were occupied elsewhere. Good thing the Pakistani lady was available.)
    (4) “That leaves Julie celebrating her big Six-O with no gift from me…” I wanted to celebrate my big Five-O in Hawaii.
    (5) Did you perform a rain dance while Julie was eating her Indian food?

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO YOUR WIFE, JULIE!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A big Happy Birthday to Julie! A shout out on WP might not be a big trip or a lovely gift, but at least she is getting birthday wishes from all over the world. That’s something! This month was our 45th, our children have birthdays (one turning the big four-O), and grandchildren have birthdays, too (one becoming a teenager). Sigh! Somedays it’s harder than others to remember to be grateful, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It turned out really well in the end. Five bouquets of flowers arrived by delivery, as well as numerous gifts. Julie got almost 200 Facebook messages, and was delighted with her international blog comments too. Then she had Face Time with friends and family on her Tablet, followed by a very tasty Indian meal. We both appreciated things could have been very much worse.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Firstly, happy birthday Julie. Sounds like despite the change of plans you made the most of it. I can understand the disappointment re the celebrations, my son turned 18 in November and we couldn’t do anything. He has ASD and this was one of those events he had been a bit obsessed with over the years and discussed many times e.g. officially becoming an adult, being able to vote, tell his mum that she could no longer tell him what to do (we debated that one lol), go to the pub etc. I had said we would hire a room in one of our locals and have food, family and friends. There were so many elements to it that he was looking forward to – first proper drink in a pub with his mates, (they’re not really drinkers as prefer gaming and have never ventured into one lol) family get-together, presents etc. He was gutted when we realised it couldn’t happen. I reminded him it’s only on hold. We will get round to it when it’s safe to do so. The important thing is knowing that the intentions are there and as much as we wanted to share it with him, the health and safety of our family and so many others comes first. These certainly are strange (and sometimes scary) times for everyone but we do what we can, when we can with the best of intentions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday, Julie!

    We went into the November lockdown the day before my 40th birthday and we had to cancel all our plans, which also involved going for dinner in London. We had initially planned to go to South Africa but that went out the window pretty early. I took it very hard to start but so many of my friends made an effort to spoil me and send me gifts and cards. I did manage to take the day off work and spent it on my own, which is a huge treat for me. That said, part of being human is celebrating our milestones and I really hope we get to do it again soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sure in her heart of hearts, Julie knows what’s important, and I’m confident that she will be happy spending her special birthday with her special person. All the very best to Julie, of course. It’s interesting what you say about turning 20: do you think 18- and 19-year olds still think of themselves as teenagers? I always find it curious how the media choose to describe young people of that age, generally according to the subject matter of the piece, rather than adopting a consistent approach, given that in England anyway, 18-year olds are regarded as adult, in the eyes of the law. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Julie really enjoyed her birthday despite everything, Jon.
      My idea of being a teenager is outdated of course. I went to work at 17, voted in elections at 18, but I was never considered to be ‘grown up’ until I was 21. That was in the early 1970s though, a very long time ago now. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  7. I turned 60 a few months ago Pete, Larry had a few close friends drive by and honk horns while we sipped wine in the driveway. Not exactly how I was hoping to celebrate my 60th. We’re planning on doing something fun when things open back up, could be a year from now? Tell Julie Happy Birthday from an old girl in California! Cheers, C

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Birthday, Julie! May you have 60 more! (Assuming you WANT to be 120!) The bad news was given in Pete’s post, but the good news is that you “are “still here.” Still on this side of the ground, you have hundreds of options. Once Covid has been vanquished (and it will be), you guys can go anywhere — everywhere. You have each other. (Everybody doesn’t have someone who loves them so much they complain because they can’t “do” for them or give them gifts. What a blelssing.) You both have Ollie. You have your good health — that was a possible obstacle you (and we, with you) side-stepped last year. I’m so glad you’re still here! I love Pete’s stories and I love that you make him happy. Thank you, Julie, for being. Happy Birthday and God bless you and Pete and Ollie today and every single day to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Somehow I got all messed up on which birthdays were “special.” I owe it all to Jack Benny. When I was a child, my family listened to the Jack Benny show on the radio for decades and once we got a television, we watched the Jack Benny show there too. Now, the thing is Jack Benny was forever 39 or he was always having his 39th Birthday. So, I got the notion, very young that 39 was Special. (I guess you could say I was an impressionable kid). So, unlike my peers who all strove to be 21 (then the drinking and voting age in Americal). I looked forward to my 39th Birthday. So, I had, in my mind, one special Birthday when I was 39. It must have been one hell of a doozy for I don’t remember that day at all. Despite my experience, I wish Julie the best damned birthday ever. Warmest Regards. Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy Birthday Julie, on the bright side it will be one to remember and knowing you Pete I’m sure you will more than make up for the postponed celebration. Keep safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your positive thoughts, Abbie. I am sorry to hear you will be alone on your 60th, but I hope you manage to celebrate in some way. Julie’s birthday turned out very well, thatnks to the modern innovations of ‘Face-Time’, and deliveries ordered online.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds like a good celebration to me, going out isn’t much fun now anyway even if it was possible. And definitely go to Malta, so much there. Stay in Valletta as all the buses leave from there so you don’t need a car. Gozo is a nice trip too and we even visited Sicily for a day on an organised coach trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, John. She did very well with presents, cards, and three large floral bouquets delivered. Online buying worked for her lockdown birthday. 🙂
      Indian meal being collected by me at 6:30, so she’s happy enough.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy Birthday to Julie. I wish it could be more special but hopefully you can make it up sometime soon. I had a birthday in September during a phase that allowed indoor dining. We too are in stricter lockdown currently with takeout only. Difficult times but I’m happy you both are well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy Birthday, Julie! 🎂

    These are difficult times and trying to celebrate seems impossible. I am hopeful we will get through these horrible times and you will be able to take a holiday and celebrate in grand style when it is finally safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Pete
    Aw what a shame, sure you’ll make up for it with extra celebrations when you are able. Hope you are all well, pretty miserable at the moment isn’t it! Lots of love to you both and a big hug and Happy Birthday to Julie 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can certainly understand you wanting to give your wife a superb birthday, but think of how many things have had to be put on hold for other people. Just grin and bear it as the saying goes and plan for something even larger than Gibraltar when the lockdowns are finished!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. At least she hasn’t got Covid! It was our 40th wedding anniversary last October and the kids had planned a surprise. Unfortunately we never found out what it was due to Covid restrictions. However, I think they might be saving it for our 50th!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Happy Birthday Julie. It’s the thought that counts,Pete. Valetta would have been better than Gibraltar. The architecture is fascinating and the pea pies delicious.
    I have a birthday later in the month and we are going to celebrate with one of my Christmas puddings. I always make three, My special one is 2022 but as it is the age when folk treat you as ancient I’m not looking forward to it. Perhaps if we go somewhere interesting instead of having a party?
    We did go on a river cruise for one anniversary but it would be great to get the family together as we missed out this Christmas. We did as we were told and kept apart and expect to do the same this year. A vaccine for my birthday ,perhaps? That would be good.
    Hubby is a few months younger than me but still over 75 so perhaps we can go together. I just don’t fancy going at 3am in the morning now they are boasting about making it 24 hours!
    It’s raing here, too and I’m not going out.
    Best Wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to go out in the rain soon to walk Ollie. I don’t have the luxury of choice. Thanks for your tip about Valetta/Gibraltar, and I hope you have a great birthday whatever you decide to do. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  18. Happy Birthday to your wife. And I hope you‘ll be able to make up, together, for what she had to miss today. Maybe if all of this is possible again in a year, for her 61st birthday instead (even if you can‘t book the trip a year in advance)?

    Liked by 1 person

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