It's always nice to go out on a Thursday night, as even with work on Friday it feels like the start of the weekend. So Ernie and I went to see Ezio at the junction. They were supported by Ecki, a solo singer songwriter we'd seen before at the Junction, and whose album I bought earlier this year. I only realised I knew him after I started singing along to the second song though - he's cut his hair and hadn't introduced himself yet and I didn't recognise him. He was still pretty good, though didn't wow us as much as first time. A good support act though, and nice to see him supporting somewhere a bit bigger than the Portland.
Ezio themselves were brilliant as usual. This is the third time I've seen them at the Junction, plus once at the Soul Tree, and it was nice to be up at the front for a change, right in the middle immediately behind the people on the barrier (in case of "acoustic moshing" as Ezio later commented). This did mean that when I was singing along I felt a bit self-conscious for only really knowing the choruses properly, when everyone else knew every word, but I bluffed along as much as possible and generally had a great time. They're a real feel-good band, and it was a good set, and being part of a crowd that's singing along to some of the favourites is just great. Ezio and Booga (the singer and lead guitarist) doing 2 nights in the 80 capacity Boathouse in January, so ernie got himself a ticket for the Friday night, and I got two for me and Mike. I'll be looking forward to it. They always do a couple of songs at the beginning with just the two of them, and it'll be cool to have a whole night like that.
On Friday I definitely needed a quiet night in, so I cooked a rather nice fish pie (if I do say so myself) and we ate in front of the telly and watched Bend it like Beckham and Buggsy Malone on DVD, which was fun even if a bit silly. And after a lie-in on Saturday I spent most of the day doing some serious tidying and cleaning. The bathroom had been depressing me with how grim it was and it must be 6 months since the house was last hoovered properly, so the whole place got a real blitz, including my room, which now has a completely junk free floor - I still can't quite get over that, and the living room looks like a living room again instead of a weird sofa-based storage facility. Pretty chuffed with that.
The reason for the effort was I'd invited a few people round in the evening to celebrate the fact it would be my birthday on Sunday. It was all a bit last minute, and most people couldn't make it, but the small handful who did were very pleasant company and we stayed up til around 1:30, just chatting around the coffee table and demolishing a small mountain of nibbles. Mmm cheese. Some left around 11:30 to go to Jack's party or home to bed, but Mike, Andrew and Pete sang me happy birthday at midnight, which was sweet, and a good time to eat cake. Before we went to bed I gave Mike a card for our anniversary, which we'll be sort of celebrating all week. The night before my birthday was when we first met - at the Kambar - and I gave him my phone number. Definitely one to remember with a smile.
In the morning I opened my cards and some presents in bed, and discovered I really ought to be more careful about updating my wishlist when I buy myself things. Then Mike won the admiration of all my family by insisting I have a lie-in on Sunday morning while he tidied and did the washing up. We had a late breakfast/lunch, where he finished off the last of the fish pie and I ate some of my birthday card from him, which was in the form of a large watermelon. Had a nice chat with both my mum and my sister by phone, and mum and dad sang happy birthday at me down the phone. We spent the rest of the day completely lazily reading and napping in the late afternoon sunshine, before heading out for a lovely dinner at the Galleria, and a pleasant walk back to his house along the river before cycling home to mine and bed. A lovely weekend.
Tonight is the next bit of anniversary: our first date. We met in the King Street Run for a couple of drinks, and ended up staying til closing time and walking each other home, where Mike came in for a hot chocolate, stayed to watch silly Sisters of Mercy videos, and was persuaded to stay the night. Tonight the plan is to catch a film, find some dinner, and then have a quick drink in the KSR for old time's sake before we go home. I'm looking forward to it. Mike's made me very happy this year, and we're hoping for many more happy years to come.