Curiosity Killed The Cat

There’s an exciting week of birthdays ahead in the Hargreaves house. Namely, the short one is turning one and yours truly is turning 40. To her credit, Lilly had the sensibility to choose her own birthday and not muscle in on Mummy’s. Still, having back-to-back birthdays means we’ll be keeping Daddy on his toes for years to come!


Lilly’s special day is giving me good cause to revisit the rituals of my own childhood birthdays, and to consider which ones I want to keep up with her. A birthday table is a definite must, and I am delighted to have tracked down a special candleholder, apparently called a birthday ring in English, as the centrepiece. You add a new candle every year, and I even found the exact ones I remember having as a child, each imprinted with lovely little images that I used to study for ages. Having only been graced with this nocturnal inspiration last week, I am keeping my fingers crossed that my find arrives in the post on time. There’ll be cake, naturally, and we are planning a family day out.


My own big day, however, is entirely in the hands of the husband. And despite having carefully scanned the environment and prodded for clues, I am rather left in the dark. I feel a bit like Inspector Clouseau, or even worse, Inspector Clueless, since the former usually does end up solving the mystery by chance. As for me, I know that we are going away but the buck stops here.

Seriously, nobody’s talking. This secret is watertight. Important friends that should be included in potential celebrations keep telling me all about their plans for this weekend. Even if one or two have hinted with a casual shoulder shrug that they might be in on something, the best I’ve gotten are random comments such as ‘You’d enjoy clay pigeon shooting, wouldn’t you?’ Yes, that sounds like a grand plan. I am sure I would have a blast.

In six years with the husband, I’ve normally been able to glean some sort of indication as to what might be going on for special occasions. This of course is a classic girl’s dilemma – the delicate balance between desiring to find out whilst being utterly delighted by the prospect of a surprise. Still, it’s almost like we can’t help ourselves – we want to be swept off our feet and yet that damn curiosity gets the better of us and we wonder if we can figure it out.

To be fair, there are times when it’s great to know about plans ahead of time. Like going on our magical honeymoon in South Africa, or visiting my favourite niece for her High School Graduation. Both occasions were supposed to be surprises at one point or another, but knowing about them beforehand had the definite benefit of everyone involved having something to look forward to.

Sometimes the fun is in the knowing. This isn’t one of those times. This time, the fun is definitely in the suspense.


Nevertheless, I’m sure my inner cat has given up a few quality years by now.

From Simon Bond's hilarious '101 Uses for a Dead Cat'

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