J’ai vingt-huit ans. That’s how the French put it. Not ‘I am 28’ but ‘I have 28’. As if years are assets. As if years are not defining qualities, just possessions.

Well, perhaps they are. I am in the priveledged position of having lots of friends who are a little bit (or quite a bit) older than me, so I rarely feel old. I suspect I look old (older than I am) but hopefully I pass off for older because of my crazy-arse wisdom and particularly mature turn of phrase; my intelligence rather than neck-wrinkles.

Yesterday was my birthday, yep. I was woken by an exuberant toddler and served pikelets (what was left of them after Elena got her fill) with cream cheese and apricot jam, fresh pineapple and coffee.

Then I spent most of the day cooking and eating. It was great!

I made Pumpkin Thai Red Curry Soup, a variation on my friend’s Butternut Thai Red Curry Soup. I couldn’t get butternut pumpkin or red curry paste at our usual supermarket, so I got a tin of red curry soup and threw that in with the coconut milk, ginger, ordinary pumpkin, onions, and chicken stock.

I had a friend coming for lunch and a large salmon steak in the fridge, leftover from a four pack we used part of another night this week. So that went in the oven, on green beans, with a little butter, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, parsley and garlic salt on top.

Oh, it was good. And the friend also bought out the bakery – muffins, doughnuts, pastries and cake! We saved the cake for the party (today) but shared the other spoils with the kids for afternoon tea. And we finished the rest off (oh, there was plenty) for dessert in the evening. Louis and the babysitter had the donuts and Luuk and I devoured the last muffin au caramel after returning from our movie.

As to the movie, we saw ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, which here is called ‘Happiness Therapy’, but we did see it in V.O. (Version Originale) and the French subtitles made it even funnier, a Rom-Com-Comédie, peut-étre.

Before the film we wolfed down some delicious sushi at one of about six Japanese restaurants over the road from the cinema. After the film we walked past a protest rally on our way back to Luxembourg Metro – always exciting. I do love protest rallies – all the energy and democracy-in-action, and those French flags waving did make me think of Les Miserables… and we were in Paris too, where the barricades went down, or up, and later down.

protesting at luxembourg

It was all very strange in a myth meets reality meets history meets fiction kind of way. And there is a difference between fiction and myth, as I learnt in Religious Studies at university – yikes! 10 years ago! It still comes up often, things I learned in Rels. Great subject. Should have majored.

And back to the birthday… I got pressies too.

dangley earrings

Pretty new earrings from the kids (though I bought them for myself about a month ago and obligingly forgot about them till we were mid-pikelets) and the big surprise – a mini ipad! I have been the stoic iDevice-less person. It’s been part of my identity. But I’m not complaining. It’s shiny (literally and in the Firefly sense) and does funky stuff, including board games and internet (much more swishly than my kindle) and will be fabulous for travelling.

So that was my 28th birthday. But it’s not over: today the girls are coming over with all their excess clothes, accessories, etc. and we shall schwap.

I’ve sorted out all my clothes and will soon be arranging everything beatifically around the house as if it’s a boutique. Luuk and I did a huge spring-clean this morning while the kids hid from the vacuum cleaner – Louis by choice; Elena would have rather ridden the vacuum cleaner, I suspect, but we didn’t want to hit her in the face with the pipe…

hiding from the housework

So they sat on the sofa, penned in by the coffee table, reading the books and scaring the parents.

Earlier this morning, before vacuum cleaner chasing, Elena did, for the first time, stand up! But she didn’t oblige and do it again for the camera. Little minx.

And now both the kids are asleep or doing a very convincing impression. And cue cries… gr. This afternoon Luuk is taking them off to watch a friend’s rugby game with our rugby friends.

Here, at my very clean house, we’ll be playing dress ups and shopping without spending (hurrah) and enjoying a grande goûter. I made chocolate truffles and blueberry cream cheese delights yesterday, and today I’ll put something together with baguette and cheese and smoked salmon and who knows what else I find about the place. It’ll be fab.