It’s got to be one of my favourite months of the year. My birthday, the change in seasons, crisp cold winter days, burnt orange leaves and sparkling lights everywhere signpost festive frivolity and hunkering down.
September and October have passed and one has – with a bit of luck – now settled in to some sort of other weatherly routine. Saturday night TV takes on new significance, the eternal sound of fireworks, at least in London, carries on into December and a few more chunky layers of clothing are added. It’s cosy, with a kind of mystery and magic that darker evenings and earthy bonfire scents bring.
I headed to my local wine shop around 7.30pm to get some champagne for the big day. Stepping out into a fresh evening wearing a wool scarf for the first time this year and some boots, I was almost there when the phone rang.
“I want to get a date in the diary for our combined birthdays” Rosie told me. I couldn’t have agreed more and jotted it down immediately for a few weekend’s time. “I’ll see if my brother can get us in somewhere nice.” “Lovely” I replied. “Ask him about Loulou’s? I love it there. It’ll take you straight back to Oxford Poly in the 80’s.”
The door of The Winery ding dinged as I opened it to the soft glow of mellow lighting and a real fire flickering in the hearth.
“I’ve come for some of your finest Amyot” I said. “Oh yes. An excellent champagne – best kept secret and all that” Dan said with a smile.
A couple of opened red wine bottles stood on a tall barrel and I was offered a taste. I savoured my first sip of the season.
The door bell tinkled again. A blonde girl entered and looked at me: “I know you. We met at that Greek restaurant in the summer – remember?” I did indeed. We talked birthdays: “It was mine yesterday” she said. “No way! Happy Birthday!” I said. “Actually I’m having a party in a couple of weeks time. Would you like to come? It’s in Marylebone.” “Love to – thanks!” I replied as she took my number.