Albertina who was Debbie's houselady until January this year, came in to help with the housekeeping while it was Emily's day off. Her little girl accompanied her so I bought a "beer box" cake so the three children could have a small party in the garden. In case this is a South African innovation let me explain: A "beer box" cake is baked in a large baking tray and then placed inside an empty cardboard beer box. It is then iced and sold for a fraction of the price of a smaller, round cake. It is economical, large, and ideal for parties, as it treats at least a dozen young guests.
Before the party that evening, my husband and I arranged that he'd phone our grandson on Skype. In order that our granddaughter wouldn't feel left out (she's still young enough to get excited about birthdays), I asked her that when my Skype phone rang, would she answer and talk to Granddad first? I explained that this would give her brother an idea on how to talk when his turn came. As my husband rang, I placed the earphones on gd's head and clicked "answer" on the screen. As his voice came through I heard him say: "Happy Birthday, my boy" (he thought gs was answering the call) Then quick as anything, gd said: No, granddad, it's me and I'm teaching "boetie" (colloquial slang for "my brother") to use Skype." Sooo sweet. She chatted for a while and then placed the headphones on her brother's head, bent down and said: "Say hello, Granddad", now...I think it made my husband's day; he misses most of the family celebrations so I try to involve him as much as possible.
A typically South African scene. After dinner talk over copious demi-tasse of filter coffee.