Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Great Mysteries of the World Solved: Part XII

It was Cilla Black who first leaned forward and asked what the occasion was. This was despite the cake, the hats and the rather tatty 'Happy Birthday!' sign currently strung between two trees, which lead me to question the Mensa certificate she'd just pulled out of her bomber jacket. Cher had to take me aside later and tell me Cilla's name had been written in biro, too.

I just shrugged and said that I'd just wanted my friends around me to celebrate something I'd been doing.

"Well, every day is a celebration when you get to my age!" said Dame Angela Lansbury, pulling a bottle of champagne out of her carpet bag. I noticed both the bag and the bottle still had the security tags on them.

Cher - imperious as ever in her Cher-Chair(tm) - took the offered glass of bubbly, and raised it with a "salut." It was no real secret she hadn't eaten or drank anything since the war, but did like to feel included. Periodically, she'd tip a little of the champagne onto the grass, so when the refill came around, she could gratefully accept. Oh, the arguments that had caused between her and Dame Aggie when the stage-and-screen veteran had figured out what was going on.

"CHEERS!" yelled Brian Blessed from the other side of the pond. He was in his bathers, splashing around with some ducks he'd accidentally deafened on his last visit. They seemed curiously happy to see him again. But then, it may have been the loaf of bread he'd hidden in - let's just call it 'an area'.

I just hoped the RSPB weren't watching.

"So we're not here to answer some daffy question, chuck?" asked Cilla, waving her glass a little. Alcohol really worked fast on our copper-headed Scouser. "You know, like the time we all had to figure out where baby pigeons came from."

We all groaned at that. Awful, awful day. I said that it definitely wasn't the case this time around, casually waving some flies away from the cake with nerves. I looked up at the Happy Birthday banner caught momentarily in a breeze, desperate to divert myself. I'd managed to find it in Carol Smilie's old room. She'd been an interesting lodger - she had a tendency to wallpaper in her sleep, and every morning needed me to tell her where the door was.

I really should put them in the picture, I suppose.

I took a deep breath, as Cher shifted a little to get out of the evening sunlight. And I told them. I told them it had been exactly a year since I'd started writing my blog - a whole year of contributing to the hypercyberinterweb with my ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

There was a pause.

"Are we on there?" asked Cilla, tugging uneasily at blades of grass.

I nodded slowly.

"FAME!" yelled Brian Blessed. A poor couple on a row-boat were so startled by the noise, they capsized with a grand splash and a scream cut short by the water.

I was acutely aware of everyone else looking at me. "It's not just you lot," I said, uncomfortable under their collective gaze. "There's other things."

"Like?"

"Er." My mind was suddenly blank, palms glazed with sweat. These were my friends after all. "Oh! Girls Aloud. And Doctor Who. But mostly Girls Aloud, I suppose..."

"Is it any good?" enquired Cher.

I shrugged again. "Sometimes. Sometimes it even makes me laugh. And you lot seem very popular. I get letters, you know."

"You do?" asked Dame Aggie.

"Oh yes!"

That seemed to pacify them for a minute. More champagne was passed around.

"So what have you done in that year, chuck?" asked Cilla.

"Solved world hunger?" asked Aggie.

"Used it to get to number one?" asked Cher.

"Shagged more builders than you can name?" asked Aggie.

I slyly looked at her fingernails. They were so dirty you could grow potatoes under them. I shook my head - it was really just to remind me what I'd been up to. An aide memoir, as it where. I wished Judith Hann, doyenne of technology, was here - she'd know what to say. I missed her so.

"Well, I think it's a lovely idea, dears," said Aggie. "I think we should all start one."

There was an odd noise coming from Cher, low beeps and a 'screeeeeeeee!' noise that reminded me of something I couldn't quite put my finger on.

"I just have," she said, looking up suddenly. Ah. It was a modem.

I passed around the cake, telling them I was very glad that they were around to celebrate with me. The sun was heading towards the horizon, lengthening the shadow of the children's climbing frame to fall over our rug. We'd have to think about getting Brian out of the pond soon - and that normally only happened if we promised to get him a Happy Meal on the way home.

The mood had completely relaxed into drunken camaraderie as Dame Aggie rifled through her handbag for a tissue. She'd managed to get cake jam on her Darkness t-shirt.

"You know, I've never understood why men wear white socks with sandals. Why is that?" she said, out of the blue.

We all shrugged, minds suddenly kicking into gear through the pleasant fog of champagne.

"Now that indeed is a great mystery," said Cher.

I smiled inwardly and watched the sun sink lower, as the voices around me started to come up with more and more outlandish solutions. We'd probably be here all evening at this rate.

Ah. Happy days.

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