Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say, gang oft astray, and so it was with my neighbour's birthday party.
In the end I decided on hand and body cream as a present - aged skin can be quite dry, and I thought it would be something useful, yet feminine.
I created a floral birthdy card, with a little decoupage for depth. I made a slit in the side of the card about an inch up from the bottom edge, and threaded a length of grosgrain ribbon through, stuck it down, then stuck a bow over the join, at the left-hand side.
I hunted out the numeral 9 and 8 from my chipboard stock in toning colours, and stuck those to the ribbon at the bottom right.
I stuck a chunky foam "F" at the top left of the card, and in a matching felt tip pen wrote the rest of her name from that. I know she'll appreciate the fact that her name and age are on the card.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the party after all. I popped round with gift and card, said a quick hello, then left. She was very tired with all the visitors.
Balloons had been filled and tied to some shrubs down the path to give a festive air to the occasion. They are still there, and I'm sure still giving her pleasure as she looks out of her window.
The cards will stay up for a while, too, reminding her of the people who love her, and care about her.
Another year marked, and gone. I wonder how quickly time seems to go for her. I find it whizzes by faster and faster as I grow older, but she's nearly twice my age, is it but a moment between birthday, Christmas, Easter, birthday? Maybe one day I'll discover for myself what it's like to be truly old, only capricious time will tell.