It started on Thursday night. We had organised Friday and the following Monday off work, so celebrations (read: drinking) started early, and by 10pm I was merry enough to suggest that Dee get her presents early — it was technically her birthday already back home, so why not? I’d already told her about one gift so she didn’t organise anything else: tickets to Chicago (the show, not the city) for Friday afternoon/evening, followed by dinner at a French restaurant. I’d booked them online, so created a flyer so I actually had something to give her.

So, it’s Thursday night and we’re merry. I bring up the world-map showing times and daylight and we watch the sun creep across the Pacific. Dee can’t remember exactly what time she was born, but it’s Friday in Australia and that’s good enough for me — I hand over a shiny, holographic bag containing a small wrapped box and a card. Dee opens the box first, on my recommendation, and finds a jewelry-box containing a silver-and-steel ring from Suay Designs and an Egyptian necklace.

We had seen the ring at a market stall just off Brick Lane, but Dee had been hesitant to buy it (I had no such qualms, and bought a silver-and-steel men’s ring, my first bit of jewelry for many years now). Then we’d seen them again at the Camden Lock market — which, by the way, is the best market in the world, period — but had been feeling cheap so didn’t even look. To get the size for this one I had snuck into her cupboard and found a ring I knew she’d worn … which is how I knew she didn’t have a jewelry-box either!

The Egyptian necklace is a small silver cartouche with “Danielle” in hieroglyphics, along with an ankh (the symbol of life). I’d spent most of a day learning hieroglyphics so I could check … and I still spelt my own name wrong when I signed a piece of papyrus to go with the necklace! Oh well. (The jewelry-box was also Egyptian, and finished in a shiny pealescent material — is it called tortoise-shell? I don’t know, something like that.)

Then the pièce de résistance: a 1-hour flying lesson in a four-seater aeroplane. Dee was incredulous, then stunned, then scared, but it didn’t last — as the night wore on (and the idea took root) she became more excited about it and less fearful. She loves flying, although wouldn’t tell you that herself, so I think it’s going to be fun. And since it’s a four-seater I get to come along!

Friday was just as good — we got up (reasonably) early and hot-footed it down to a posh hairdressers. No, not for me — you need hair to dress. Dee got a nice new look with a cut and colour, which looks great (and would look awesome if she could just stop tucking her hair behind her ears!! :-P), but it really was a strange place: there were parrots in gilded cages, stuffed owls, a bar and too many trendies. The wash basins were downstairs in a room with walls of gold-brick, large Christian crosses and Buddha/Kuan Yin statues in little alcoves. I went for a walk and Dee had a champagne cocktail!

From the hairdressers we headed for lunch, winding our way slowly towards the West End. We stopped at a few (random) places along the way, but found ourselves outside the Cambridge Theatre at the appropriate time. I picked up the tickets and we headed inside — great seats! Front row on the first balcony! We even “upgraded” ourselves by moving closer to the centre when the doors closed without anyone in those seats. I spent the first half sipping fruit juice and accidently comparing the live show to the movie.

We came out of the first act and found the champagne waiting for us that we’d asked for — “ooh, can we have champagne at half-time?” Dee had asked innocently. Was it a show or a football match??

So much fun. After the show we rushed outside (you have to leave the theatre within 10 seconds at the most if you want to use the toilets some time before the heat-death of the Universe, apparently) and met up with Dayna and Simon. A quick trip to the supermarket for supplies and we were cabbing it back home. Drinks, conversation, Xbox, Uno and Pass The Pigs. A late night.

Saturday was similarly merry, with the addition of Stuart and Mal and a trip to The Dove. I swear it’s the only pub we’ve been to when Dayna has visited. She probably thinks it’s the only pub in Hackney, oops.

There’s more, but this post is too long already. Suffice it to say it was a fun, wholesome weekend!