The Silver Cross

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Chapter Twenty

The next morning I had orders to stay in bed and not come out. I heard lots of paper rustling and whispering going on before they all burst into my tiny bedroom and sang ‘happy birthday’, with Mum holding a cake lit with 16 candles. They all cheered when I blew out the candles in one go and told me to make a wish. I made a secret wish about seeing my father again, and then I opened up the presents that Karina, Annabel and Mum gave me. I opened Annabel’s first, which was a gorgeous silver charm bracelet with six charms on. I put it on and gave her a kiss.

“You can never have enough lucky charms!” I laughed.

Annabel was also wearing hers, which matched mine exactly.

Then I opened Karina’s present, which was a lovely watch, so thanked her too. Finally, Mum’s present was a new mobile ’phone! I was thrilled with all my presents, and I already thought that this was my best birthday ever.

There was a really cute miniature railway at Gratestone so we decided to go exploring, as it was a nice day. We went right to the end of the line in one direction, which was in the middle of nowhere by Gratestone Power Station. There were miles of shingle in every direction, and after some exploring we found a nice restaurant on the beach and had fish and chips. After lunch we caught the little train back and stopped off every now and then when we thought somewhere sounded interesting, had a look at the beach and then caught the next train a bit later on. Right at the end of the line was a little town called Heath which was full of interesting boutique shops, so we had a good look round there and Karina and Annabel bought souvenirs for their families. I bought us a 500 piece puzzle so that we wouldn’t be tempted to switch on the TV. Meanwhile, Mum was doing a lot of looking in estate agents windows, I noticed.

“Wouldn’t it be lovely to live by the sea?” she said, dreamily.

“You’d need a car, Mum,” I replied.

“Well, maybe it’s about time we both had lessons.”

That got us talking about cars because we all wanted to start learning to drive as soon as possible. Then Karina and Annabel were trying their best to persuade Mum not to move to the seaside because they didn’t want me to leave, which was quite sweet. We found a nice café that sold cream teas and cupcakes, so we had something to eat before catching the train back to the holiday camp.

“We’ve all caught a colour,” Mum noted when we got back.

It was already dark by this time, so we started on the puzzle, which was really addictive, and before we knew it, it was 8 o’clock and we had to drag ourselves away and get ready for the clubhouse entertainment. Mum was particularly keen to go because it was a tribute band of one of her favourite groups, and they were really good so we all enjoyed singing along. She actually got up and stood at the front of the stage dancing with some of the other Mums, which was funny to watch but we all thought was great. When one of the men on the entertainment team started dancing with her we laughed until our sides ached.

“You’d never catch my Mum doing that,” said Annabel, a bit wistfully.

“Well mine would, after a few glasses of wine,” laughed Karina.

I’d had such a lovely birthday that I didn’t want it to end, but after doing a few last bits of puzzle it was past midnight, and Mum said we should all get some sleep.

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