For my birthday weekend, I had planned to enjoy the company of my family and best friends and then spend Saturday and Sunday playing in a couple of pool tournaments. As it turned out, it wasn’t to be as one of my closes friends arrived from Germany to surprise me.

OK, let’s start at the beginning. It’s 3:30pm on Friday afternoon, 16 December – my birthday. It’s been a good day at the office and things are nice and quiet – all the kids have gone home from school, the domestic staff and school staff have all left and there are only a few Admin staff, the Head of Care and a couple of others left in the main part of the building. Lisa and I started to slow down towards the weekend when the doorbell rang. Who could be coming to the door at this time on a Friday? Answer: a young lady called Sonja Husmann, one of my closest friends anywhere in the world and someone I hadn’t seen in around 14 months, had travelled from her home in Germany to come and surprise me for my birthday! No words can convey how shocked, surprised and generally gobsmacked I was to see her standing there and I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or start jumping up and down when I saw her there.

As she sat in the office, she told me that everyone that was going to be at my party that night – my parents, my sister and her family, my best friends Peter and Janice and Aunt Moira – ALL knew about Sonja’s trip over! It was, without a doubt, the nicest and greatest birthday surprise anyone could have given me.

So, what about the weekend itself? What happened? Well, Friday night was excellent fun. Let’s see, there was my Mum, Dad, Mhairi and Callum (Sister and Brother-In-Law), Lewis and Cameron (Mhairi and Callum’s 2 boys), Peter, Janice and Andrew (my 2 best friends and their baby son), Aunt Moira, Sonja and Susan (next door neighbour) were all in the house having a great time. Lots of food, lots of conversation and lots of fun was had by all. It was great to see all 3 boys – Lewis (2½ years), Cameron (7 weeks) and Andrew (4½ months) – together and they all seemed to get on fairly well in each other’s company.

Saturday, Sonja and I were up early to head into Glasgow to do some shopping. First stop was Starbucks – a place Sonja really wanted to go to since there aren’t any in Germany (must be one of the few places where there aren’t any Starbucks!). After that, I took Sonja to Tam Shepherd’s in Queen Street, Glasgow’s World Famous Trick Shop. I wanted to introduce Sonja to Roy Walton, the owner of the shop for the last 40 years and a true living legend within the world of Close Up Card Magic. Whilst there, we managed to bump into Paul Wilson, star of Stage, Screen and Court Case who was had returned back to Glasgow after filming a pilot for a TV show in London (I’ll post details on it once I know if/when it’s on). I was surprised to see Paul and he, in turn, was surprised to see Sonja. We ended up having lunch together, which was good fun.

More shopping followed, allowing Sonja the chance to buy her boyfriend’s Christmas present, along with those for some for her friends, and me the chance to get a few more presents (nearly finished!).

Saturday evening saw us in Kilmarnock at Carol and Emz’s house with Peter and Janice for a joint birthday party for Emz and I. It was a cracking wee night with it just being Peter, Janice, Andrew, Carol, Emz, Sonja and I.

Sunday and for the first time in ages (yes, I am ashamed!), I went to church for this year’s Christmas Family Service. It was an excellent service, one which I spent most of upon the platform at the front of the church with my nephew, Lewis, who had spotted me in the congregation when he was being brought into the church with the rest of Crèche and would not settle until I went up to sit with him. It was pretty cool, however, being able to sit with him in church and he was kinda settled for most of the remainder of the service.

After that, Peter and Janice were good enough to take Sonja and I a drive up Loch Lomond-side, to allow Sonja to see some more parts of Scotland that she otherwise wouldn’t get to see. We went all the way up “The Rest And Be Thankful”, which has to be one of the most spectacular views in Scotland (with the low cloud base, it was even more dramatic!).

After going home to relax for a wee bit, my parents took Sonja and I out to dinner at the Paraffin Lamp in Lugton. We hadn’t been to the Paraffin Lamp for a number of years and it has changed times a couple of times since we were last there. It turns out that the current owners were doing an excellent job as the meals we had were fantastic! If you are ever in the area and in need of food, I highly recommend it to you.

And that brings us to this morning. Up at 4:45am (yes, AM as in the morning!) to go with Sonja to the airport, where she was on the 7:05am flight back to Germany bringing a fantastic weekend to a close and bringing me back to reality (or as close to reality as my life gets!). Is it any wonder I’m feeling a bit down? Especially after a birthday weekend like the one I had! Too much fun in a space of time that was too short to be good for me!

I cannot finish this entry without saying thank you to a few people. First off, to my family and friends for helping make such a great weekend happen. Also, to Peter and Janice for driving Sonja and I around parts of Scotland and to my parents for helping arrange the whole thing (even though it was all behind my back and very sneaky!).

And finally (before this starts to sound like an awards ceremony acceptance speech!), but most of all to Sonja for taking the time and effort to travel over from Germany for my birthday weekend. The coolest surprise I have EVER had and one that I will never, ever, forget! Thank you, Sonja!

You can see pictures from the weekend by clicking here.

Have a great few days!

The Cardman 🙂

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