Sorry this post has been such a long time coming. I've been trying to recover from Christmas, New Year and birthday, and fighting a bit of a sniffle, while still keeping on top of things like doing the dishes and whatnot. Looking at the computer screen has been causing problems.
Anyway, Steve and his plotting. He'd spent pretty much all of the Saturday (the day before my birthday) out with Pip, so that I could get some big proper rest in and they could scheme and connive.
We went to mum's house, where everyone except my stepdad was feeling much better. I got a gift token for my favourite massage place - well, I say "gift token", mum had expected to go in and buy some sort of monetary-value voucher, you know, "£20 towards treatments at..." Instead Jane asked her to choose a blank-inside greetings card, and then asked her to please come back the next day so she could "do it properly". The result is a beautifully calligraphed card, not even fill-in-name-here type of thing but all written out nicely. Apparently mum felt awful about scrawling "with love from Mum xxx" on it, even though her handwriting isn't bad.
Mum also suggested we go on a bit of a shopping trip at some point, which will be nice. Alas, we both have to be feeling well enough for it, so this may be more "Easter" or even "Summer" than "January sales".
Steve encouraged me to have a nap before we had to set off for the "lunch appointment", which turned out to be at a nice restaurant with Steve, Pip and the Littlun. That was when I got my presents. Pip is a bit skint at the moment, but he'd got me a bag of my favourite dark chocolate from my very favourite chocolate shop. I always get a very little bit when I'm in that part of the city, but this is a big bag. I have declared birthday chocolate to have no calories and am thus able to fully enjoy it.
The other gift in the bag was from Steve. A box containing a brightly coloured wooden duck-on-a-string, on wheels. This is the first gift Steve gave me on Kingdom Of Loathing, (in a virtual sense - it's a handy weapon in the game) and so he wanted to get me a real one. So far so sweet, and I was very happy, and I assumed that was where the swimming reference came in: duck, water, wet.
I was then encouraged to get the ducky out of the box, to play with it. That's when I found another present, inside the duck packaging - a little jeweller's box containing a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings. I was beyond gobsmacked by then. Pip and Steve gleefully told me about the look on the jeweller's face when he offered to gift-wrap the earrings (cinnamon stick anyone?) and they cheerfully announced that they already had their own packaging and plonked Ducky onto the counter. I get the impression it may have made Pip's year...
After lunch, Pip whisked the littlun off "for his nap", there's wishful thinking as, at two and a bit, Littlun is starting to feel that he doesn't really need a nap most days (instead he starts to grump and rub his eyes at about 4pm, until the dinner-bath-bed routine starts). Steve and I got into Steve's car, and he told me to pick some music for about 45 minutes worth of drive, during which I may want to nap.
Just under an hour later, we pulled up here. Not only that, but we were booked into a big, and I mean BIG suite. Four-poster bed, couches, chairs, a chaise longue, and a bathroom with a shower cubicle, two sinks, and a whirlpool bathtub bigger than the whole bathroom in my flat!
The next 24 hours were pure decadence. Steve had sneakily packed me my stuff, pills and whatnot, while I was napping, and we were able to buy me a surprisingly-not-hideously-overpriced swimsuit at the hotel so I could enjoy the leisure centre (this is the one bit where the Sprowston Manor falls down - the accessibility around the leisure centre is a nightmare). We had a good time splashing about and then went back up to the room to de-chlorinate in the amazing bathroom before dinner. Dinner was a wonderful four-course job in the hotel's lovely restaurant, and we even had late check-out so we could have a lie-in, take our time over breakfast, and have a really leisurely bath before gathering up our stuff and leaving. Steve even offered to take me into Norwich for lunch and shopping, but I was just too tired (although I realise this makes me a disgrace to womankind).
I don't believe I've ever been quite so spoiled. It was great! :)
Now all I have to do is work out what I should do for Steve's birthday, in February. Eep.