Big Brizzle Birthday Banger!


Thali Cafe, Bristol
At the Thali Cafe, Bristol

My birthday celebrations went on tour this year: a weekend of fun, food and friends in the lovely city of Bristol!

Thanks to my parents, for coming to London and looking after the girls – three girls, as they bought my niece Izzy with them. And thanks to Conny and Caroline, who graciously let twelve of us surly Londoners scuff up their beautiful homes for three days. 🙂

We arrived slightly later than planned on Friday afternoon, after our train ground to a halt upon leaving Paddington Station.  The driver came on the tannoy and asked to speak to the train manager  – never a good sign – after a signaller reported “something” on the back of the train.

Speculation was rife that it might be a stowaway, but it wasn’t.  More like an unclosed hatch or something.

So, we limped into Reading Station around the time we had been due to blaze into Bristol Temple Meads.  Still, at least we got a seat. 🙂

In Bristol, 20 of us took over the upstairs of the delicious Thali Cafe in Totterdown, London folks catching up with their Bristol brethren – some of whom we hadn’t seen in quite a while.  Curry and drinks flowed, and there was much laughter, which carried on at the pub just down the road.  I could probably have done without that second bottle of champagne, to be honest, but we Londoners have our profligate reputation to maintain. 😉

On the bridge in Bristol
On the bridge in Bristol

The next morning, we took a walk into the centre, planning on some lunch, sightseeing, crazy golf, shopping, and a few more drinks.  Unfortunately, the combination of cold, the after-effects of the previous night and the fact that I’m now 43 years of age left myself and a few others needing a nap.

So, we had a nap to ensure we were raring to go for a night at The Lanes – and some karaoke… Ohh, the karaoke!

Some of my male friends were aghast that I wanted to do karaoke.

Liz sings the blues
Liz sings the blues

As someone who really enjoys singing, but usually only ever at home (I’m even a little embarrassed to sing in front of the girls!) I really wanted to give it a go, and I’m so glad I did.

Locked in a room with 12 crazy women, all belting out tunes like there’s no tomorrow – there’s something incredibly cathartic and liberating about it. I can understand not liking karaoke yourself, but the idea of me doing it seemed to literally astonish a few people.

I ignored them, ignored a nagging cough and blocked nose, and had ENORMOUS fun singing anything and everything that came up on the screen.  The two hours we booked went by in a fabulous flash, and the rest of the evening felt a little low-key by comparison.

Table football
Table football

There was dancing and bowling and bands, but I mostly spent the evening catching up with dear old friends – interspersed with a bit of ass-kicking at the table football, er, table.

Eventually, we went back to Conny’s house to talk and laugh a whole lot more, laughing at Luthfa’s endless story about…well, I forget, and singing along to Bond themes. 🙂

Sunday took a bit of organising to get everyone up and in the same place for glorious Full English, but we managed it just in time before heading up the M4 back to London, courtesy of our driver, Liz, who took us all the way home in style.

The crowning touch of the weekend was pulling into our street to find Millie, Amber and Izzy all there, eagerly waiting us, resplendent in various gowns and perhaps a surfeit of makeup. 😉

It was, all in all, the perfect 43rd birthday.

Huge thanks to absolutely everyone who made the journey with me, who put me up, arranged entertainment for me, fed me, sang with me, laughed with me, made me smile and generally made me a tiny bit sad to return home.

You guys are ace! 😀

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