One hundred and Eleventy-one

Not quite 111, not even half right. Still a birthday though; one that has to follow the family rules - rule 1 being that it lasts 3 days. The first day of my birthdays, 19th December, started with a mini card and present opening session. Thank you to every single one of my dearest family and friends for sending a present. They're both lovely.

I got a cool present from Sarah - something very shiny and circular….my precious….

Something shiny

Then we started early on another little exploration of Manhattan. I promised myself before we came to walk around Central Park, so that's exactly what we did. Not bad. Especially at this time of year when the park is almost empty - even though the weather's not particularly cold (about 5 deg C max). Lots of runners and dog walkers of course…

We spent quite a long time walking around the park and taking photos. I was desperate to find one of the bridges where the muggers hang out in 1970s movies… like

Death Wish

….remember? Central Park is slightly more refined these days though, I couldn't find any dodgy looking dudes except for this guy….  …who even then only qualifies based upon the shorn kaftan, and his own personal creation, the tril-beanie.

As it was, we had some fun, whilst vaguely snaking our way towards Central Park West, trying not to slip over on the icy paths on the way around the lakes.

Overall, Central Park is a nice place. And I am well aware of the damnation delivered by the feint praise. Been there, done that.

Embedded at the western edge of Central Park is the American Natural History Museum. Somewhere that we both were looking forward to enjoying - even at the rather steep 35$ ticket price. And? Well, perhaps the paucity of photo opportunities sums it up. A bit disappointing, if we're honest. One can be forgiven for thinking that the age of the displays is somehow an attraction in itself. Oooh, look, there's a display of ground-thrushes from the Mongolian steppe, poisoned and stuffed back in 1923.

Oh well. Still convincing however, is the blue whale Sellotaped to the ceiling of one of the biodiversity halls:

Despite being a tad tired by now, we (read, I) decided that I wasn't ready to quit on my birthday without going to the cinema. I note that Beth kept up the tradition and went to see The Hobbit (good girl), and I certainly wasn't about to break with tradition either. We walked back through the swollen streets around Times Square, popped into a camera shop to buy my new lens (sweet), and then to the AMC on 46th to watch

12 Years a Slave

,

which for me, I'm sorry to say, became 12 Years A Sleep.

I can see why so many people like it, in a way, but it is just

so

self-indulgent. I can imagine the Director (Steve McQueen) sitting there reading the book, saying to himself "Oh My God! I'm gonna be famous!!" There is one scene which has to be 3 minutes long with Chiwetel Ejiofor going through a range of facial expressions which could easily accompany a long and slightly constipated session on the  bowl. Don't get me wrong; great actor - I thought he was amazing in

Dirty Pretty Things -

but I think (what do I know?) wrong Director. He was too focused on the prize, not just telling the story, which should have been convincing enough.

Home late and to bed - and a quiet start to Day 2 of my birthdays. Latas.