Firstly, it was my birthday and although I got a little weary of my husband singing “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m...” (fill in the blank), on the basis that being my age is better than the alternative, the most important thing is I am now double jabbed and raring to go.
So a happy birthday it was indeed. And I am looking forward to many more to come.
In fact, never have I had a better one, despite Facebook reminding me of some pretty momentous celebrations from the past. I have been on a boat in Croatia with friends for my 60th, in South Africa for my 50th and Australia for one in between.
I have dressed up in my finery (that’s a phrase you don’t hear too often these days, let alone actually get the chance to do) and dined at some of the best restaurants in Yorkshire and beyond.
We even spent an arm and a leg, helped by the children, at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck one year and I still think it was worth every penny. But never has a birthday, complete with candles on a Co-op cake, and a takeaway pizza tasted better, been more celebratory or felt more emotional.
Two grandchildren in person playing in the sun that finally appeared, a video of the baby rolling over for the first time in New York, with news they are coming to see us in June and a Zoom call from Down Under with the nine year old, who I have to say is suffering the most, having not seen us in person for a year and a half.
That’s when you realise how far away they are. And still no sign of a vaccine there yet for my daughter or her partner. We have a lot to be thankful for, don’t you think?
But in case you think I am turning into Pollyanna, that’s enough unadulterated happiness. It’s just that messages and real-life visits from family and the prospect of proper hugs and embraces from next month make me want to weep with joy.
And that is why I refuse to find anything to complain about this week, especially if that complaint is about a children’s book written by a Duchess
So Meghan is estranged from her father. So any relationship with Charles and her husband is a work in progress. But guess what? It’s a book for children about fathers and their sons, written for Harry and Archie, which I happen to think is rather lovely, especially as Archie also celebrated his birthday this week.
Too often children’s books focus on the bond between mothers and their children. And let’s face it, we have come a long way since I was given books for my birthday about middle- class children at boarding school who drank lashings of ginger beer which, it must be said, was pretty far removed from my weekly bottle of pop from the “popman” and a comprehensive school upbringing in Bradford.
As for Prince Charles posting a picture of himself, Harry and Archie taken on the little one’s christening day, along with grandpa’s birthday wishes, why does that necessarily mean he has deliberately chosen to cut Meghan out of the picture, as at least one newspaper suggested? Yawn, yawn.
The focus is on a two year old. It’s his birthday. And I for one am getting bored with all this. If you want the facts it’s exactly the same photo Harry tweeted out for Father’s Day. So can we please give it a rest now? It’s becoming tedious and filling up far too many column inches.
It’s a book. A children’s book. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. All my grandchildren are girls but if I had boys I might just get them a copy. The illustrations look lovely. And the role and importance of fathers in a child’s upbringing deserve more attention.
As for celebrities, even royalty, writing a book it’s hardly new. The list is endless. Charles wrote about some old man who lived on a Scottish loch.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, invented a very lucrative little helicopter called Budgie. Our very own Yorkshire royalty, Jessica Ennis-Hill, packed up her trainers, picked up her pen and brought us Evie and her Magic Bracelet.
The Vice President of America, Kamala Harris, is the star of a children’s story written by her niece. Fern Cotton has penned a sweet little offering about yoga and Barack Obama wrote A Letter to My Daughters for young readers.
Even the sainted Julie Andrews wrote about The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, which just about sums up this latest manufactured controversy as far as I am concerned.
In fact, find me a celebrity who hasn’t become a children’s author. That might be easier (David Walliams aside, who is an absolute genius and can do no wrong in my book).
The point is we don’t care. We have our own lives to start living again and are really not interested in a story about a story written by a Duchess who if she had described herself as Markle or Windsor would have been seen as even more disrespectful to the Royal Family than she has already been accused of having been.
Whatever she calls herself, however she lives her life with her husband and her family, should she continue to be the focus of so many articles and news stories? All it does is ensure that more people have seen or read something they might otherwise have never seen or read about. (Or care about).
So there you have it, chapter and verse. Time to turn the page. Happy birthday to me. Because it really was a happy birthday. Happy birthday to Archie, who is a little boy whose mummy has written a book about him and his daddy.
That’s all. The End.