Third day of debauchery.

For my actual birthday, I had a kind of debauch of quiet: once I'd come back from a lunch with friends, in the next village over, I still had time to disappear by myself to Ely (the eely place) for evensong in the cathedral. It's a building that stops me in my tracks more and more, the more I visit it. If things go according to my current plan, I'll tell you more stories about Ely Cathedral tomorrow.

For now: on the way to the train station, I saw my first ducklings of the year. In Ely, at one of my favorite bookstores (which happens, somehow, to have ended up on the High Street of that little town), I ended up buying the Routledge edition of Hans Christian Andersen's Stories and Tales, the edition with the rubber duckie on the cover. It wasn't until the end of the evening--long after my slice of lemon tart with the carmelized top and the spidery splotches of coulis, long after my slices of toast with chocolate spread on them, long after I saw the eel hive near the cathedral and the eel statue in the park, long after my Skype dates and my phone calls with loved ones--that I realized the coincidence. The awful joke begs to be made: it was, in the end, a perfectly ducky day.

And now I am in my next year--and, for yet another year, have been shown into the new one by some truly generous and loving gestures, for which I am grateful beyond anything I can say here.