A lot of subterfuge had been going on since our arrival in Dublin, whisperings behind my back, conversations stopping when I went into the room. My friends had told me that they were treating me to a night out and to dress nicely for the evening, I could even wear high heels as we would only be walking from a taxi to the building. I did not know what they had lined up for me, though I had an idea of where we may be going.
In the evening we all got dressed up to go out and I must say we looked really lovely - we are getting good at this dressing up lark nowadays! I came through to the living room and there were my presents and cards along with an "enthusiastic" rendition of Happy Birthday. I got fantastic presents, a silver necklace with a key on it (the key to a new life), a lovely handbag, a purple stone necklace and a beautiful bracelet which had a charm on it that symbolised nursing. Their cards were special too - and they even had a huge card made from the photo of Bono and me from when we met him last year! What great, thoughtful friends I have.
The taxi drew up outside our accommodation in Dublin and Debbi ran out to tell the driver where to go without me hearing. We piled in and drove into the city centre and headed for the place I thought we might go - The Clarence Hotel. We went in and Debbi got a bit furtive and hung back and told us to go down the corridor, Dianne, Julie and I moved on and kind of hovered, then Debbi called us back and we were ushered into The Study. On the table there were four Cosmopolitan cocktails and nibbles. That was such a big surprise, only residents are normally allowed to go into that room, so we were really honoured to be able to go in, Debbi had arranged that with a member of staff from the hotel.
The bar manager, a pleasant young man called Jordan, came in to see if everything was ok. He said he'd mixed the drinks himself, we said they were perfect, (as they were) just the way we like them.
We sat in The Study for about an hour chatting and drinking our cocktails which went straight to our heads as we had eaten very little that day! We tottered through to The Tea Room Restaurant at 8pm (not an easy task when you are tipsy, unused to high heels and are walking on slippy wooden floors!) We got there without any undignified stumbles or trips and were seated at the same table we had last year when we dined there when we stayed in the Clarence Penthouse (when got champagne and drinks from Bono!) we all sat in the same seats as well.