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Waking up in a huge four poster bed, in a peaceful room in the Palazzo Di Pietro in Chania Crete, I was suddenly taken aback by the fact that the large sideboard at the edge of our bed, was the same style as the one my Nanna had when I was a child. Perfect place to put all of my birthday cards which I’d opened that morning! Felt like home!

Breakfast in the Red Bicycle, was a mix of champagne (Karens fault!), eggs and bacon (the boys) and waffles/yoghurt and jam (me) – and a whole lot of funny looks for drinking so early! Shopping followed briefly, followed by The Mohito Moments – ie the gentle stroll from bar to bar to check out the ingredients in each Mohito and rate them on (initially) 1-10 then later, if we could finish them!

Returned to room to find a huge heart on the bed, filled with a large bottle of bubbly, so we all rallied around and enthusiastically ‘hit the roof terrace’  to consume aforementioned bubbles , adding beers for the boys. (Share our bubbles? NEVER!).

Hiccup!

Snooze then off to Thalos Restaurant, a delightful ‘cut away’ treasure one building along from the hotel (Luckily for those of us with ‘bubble feet’), where we ate , drank (helps the economy) then ate some more. One of the waiters was VERY excited because he kept telling me he had a ‘surprise’ for me  – which turned out to be much bigger than he anticipated: as he happily set off his ‘surprise’ birthday fireworks, unknown to him, the riot police were in the square just up from the restaurant and the fireworks scared the rioters – so the police set off tear gas………………yes, really.

Firstly, everyone in the restaurant began sneezing, followed quickly by experiencing burning eyes. Then some panicked, shouted for their bills and ran from the restaurant, faces buried in napkins and hankies. We sat, bemused and eyes streaming, wondering if the world was ending and the we were being gassed. However, Tony assured me his tummy was fine and that this was an ‘independent act’ – and I had to believe him. Even by his and Barneys joint efforts, this was something else.

In shock, we sat tight – but it was seriously scary and cleared only after about 15 minutes and lots of uncertainty.  Sadly, the riot was to mark the death a year earlier, of a young man shot by police. Thankfully for everyone locally, short of lots of tears and a huge scare, no shots were fired – but many Mohitos were consumed later as we relived the experience.

So, it was a day of much laughter, love, friendship, pressies (hoorah!) and some reflection; for me , it was one of the most special days ever but it was hard not to be touched by the pain of those who were challenging the authorities over their actions.

Home now and another year is underway. My laughter lines have become ‘giggle gorges’ – but I’m happy with them, as will be the cosmetic company I approach to try to disguise them! Aging is scary but it so beats the alternative!

I’d recommend a Cretian birthday – but we do fab birthday celebrations here in Cyprus too, so email me for details of how you’d like to spend yours and in which holiday villa! The photo is of my birthday cake  from the team – again – but I don’t care! I loved that cake!  enquiries@cyprusvillas.uk.com

birthday