Robin McKinley wove a brilliant tale. She had vampires, an ambiguous heroine who till the (complicated) end remains unsure of where she fits in and a plot that conveyed much in its subtleties. I enjoyed it for reasons quite different to the usual vampire story.

The heroine wasn’t the main protagonist, sure she existed and we saw things through her eyes but she was a narrator of someone else’s story. I like that. Novels interest me largely for their differences – fiction keeps me coming back to it because I find new things to enjoy in each book.

M held a lovely High Tea ceremony in honour of her 23rd birthday today. It was to be held at a mystery location that all the guests (J, J2, M2, M and myself) were to reach by meeting the hostess at Circular Quay and following her lead. I woke up this morning with excitement and and groaning. Excitement due to the celebrations of my best friend’s birthday and groaning as I was supposed to paint my front door this morning.

For anyone who wants to know: the painting did not occur as the very keen tradesmen we have hired decided to work bright and early this morning thereby throwing all my painting plans out the door – literally. You cannot paint with dust flying around.

The celebrations looked to be in shadowing light when rain began pattering down on me as I waited at the station. In typical me fashion, either I am early or late: being on time is an art I have yet to perfect. The girls arrived… and so did the bloody rain. I say bloody because it was much like a vampire novel where blood flows freely and the humans are sporadically placed in between.

M had bought my new umbrella (clear plasticy with a map of the NY subway system – v cool) which promptly broke with the metal rod coming into my hand and the plasticy cap falling sideways. Just my luck. There shall be returning and demanding of another one as this was entirely a transportation fault I think – the rod was a little bent when I received it. Ah well.

So now we began our trek towards our destination: a lovely restaurant specialising in lovely bathrooms and High Tea celebrations overlooking the Sydney Opera House. tres chick. Of course by the time we got there we had braved high scale torrential rain, flooded puddles invading our shoes and the invasion of our underwear’s by the zipping drops of rain that demanded entry.

The High Tea itself was lovely. M had ordered miniatures of every kind of snack food they had available: from salmon filled sandwiches to cupcakes, truffles and my new discovery of macaroons! Orgasmically wonderful! Seriously. Delicious. As a bonus M had brought cupcakes shaped like characters from Alice in Wonderland that we all loved far too much to eat.

We had a lovely afternoon full of subtleties that made it so. Four people who didn’t know each other well – bar the fifth whose birthday it was – bonded on a calm and cosy level. We created new in-jokes and smiled most if not all of the time. The in-jokes stem largely from the attack of brides we braved, who knew every single bride who married today (this miserable, wet day) would choose to take pictures with her entourage in front of our restaurant? Well, now we do. The main point is, we weren’t there for it to be about us, it was for and about M, showing someone who is kind and lovely to everyone all year around a little appreciation for a few hours.

So, Sunshine wasn’t the mainstay of our day, that honour goes to raindrops and M. I think for me, for many, many years Sunshine equates to M: she’s the best person I know, and she always makes me smile, she’s my best friend and I couldn’t be luckier. So she fits that description better than anyone else ever could. Happy birthday M!


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