Yes folks, today is the day I've been awaiting, for - never mind for how long. Today I get to join the Red Hats of the world! The purple clothing I have already worn most of my life, being a dedicated Purple People. (In fact, I wore purple last night, while giving a creative writing workshop in Diss. A purple sparkly Indian dress over purple harem pants.) I have also worn hats of many shapes and styles, and colours, including purple. (It must be admitted that even while working in the TV/Film world, my own oddity colleagues were prone to saying that I dressed very ... unusually. "Weird" is a term I have heard, too!)
But today, I am officially a Red Hatter, and this morning I am heading into Norwich market to find for myself - yes - a RED HAT! With bells on! (Oh yes, that would do nicely, thank you. Perhaps an embroidered belly-dancer's hat: I wonder if the good Norfolk stallholders will stretch to that? I shall report back!) I intend to then celebrate with lunch at the Thai On The River restaurant, followed by a bone scan at the Norfolk & Norwich. At 50, one can't be too careful.
I became authorised for the above mission shortly after midnight - at about 00:04, if my mother is to be believed. I was asleep by then, of course - at 50, one should observe the beauty niceties. The surprises have begun already: my erstwhile husband got up about an hour earlier than usual, to get me coffee and wish me happy birthday. (He forgot to get me a present. I'll make him pay for that later, at the market.)
I have been instructed by my daughter (and therefore by default also my son) to wait at home for a delivery this morning - a token gift to mark the day, since we'll all be getting together in June to celebrate the fact that we have a string of family birthdays during the next three weeks, not to mention Mother's Day and Father's Day to throw into the mix.
So I watch the sun frolicking on the fields outside my window as I drink my early morning coffee, and enjoy a thrill of anticipation.
After all, it's not every day that one reaches one's half-century.
Jonty Rhodes, eat your heart out!