A Perfect Bellini Birthday

It was yet another early morning rise but hey! We had the make the most of the day.But lucky Mummy had the Concierge to take me out for my morning walk so she saved a half hour!

By 08.30 we were at the Milano Central station –A big imposing building built during the Mussolini era. He wanted the station to represent the power of the Fascist regime!

Mummy was so pleased to see her birthday on all the signage – she said it was like them wishing her a happy birthday! LOL!Does she not realise that they do that every single day? Never mind, she can think that it was all done for her.

It’s a very busy station

and the architecture is definitely strong and imposing.The train left at 09.15 and we arrived in Venice at 11.46 – and stepping out of the station, were immediately on the Grand Canal!
We waited for our Water TaxiAnd it soon came … and since I have never done this before, I was a little unsure what was going on.  But I soon got the hang of it and sat there watching the world go by from the water.

Interesting buildings … and interesting way to travel. Wonder what George would have done?

It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the Gritti Palace …And we needed a hand to get off the Water Taxi …The room wasn’t quite ready and we had an appointment to keep – lunch at Harry’s Bar! So along we went, along the narrow streets, crossing bridges over canals and arriving at the front door …Yup, the same menu the world over – and it never changes – and voila! Mummy thought they printed the menu just for her! LOL!But first, a Bellini! Cheers, Mummy!Happy Bellini Birthday Mummy! I am so glad we are in Venice together.  May your last year of being 50-something be as sweet as the Bellini and as full of sunshine as this day itself. And if the weather forecasts says it will cloud over and rain is on the way, you know I will be right by your side through every raindrop that falls and I will be walking with you through muddy paths and puddles along the way. Maybe you’ll realise they can be quite fun too.

Time to eat and Mummy had her usual – Tagliardi with Bolognese sauce!And the grissini monster …emerged from under the tablecloth.

Harry’s Bar is always a must-do for Mummy every time she’s in Venice but now she’s even a bigger fan knowing they’re also dog friendly!  The last time she was here, she didn’t have a dog! LOL!The weather was been amazing and perfect for pictures – We got a Chinese tourist to take this for us.  Since the last time Mummy was here, she said the whole demographic of tourists have changed!

Onto Piazza San Marco for the photo op.This was taken by a Eastern European tourist – we couldn’t make out the accent.
But it was hot and a good reason for Mummy to stop into shops I got to lay down on the tiled floors to rest –And Mummy tried on shoes. Good compromise.

Even for Mummy, it was time to get a bit of rest.  Our room was ready and we were only too happy to see our place of refuge from the sun and the crowd.  I think we like our room … 🙂

It even has a big balcony – and we checked out the gondoliers – down in front of the hotel.Mummy had bought be a Venezian black-n-white striped t-shirt along the way home to wear on our gondola ride paired with the red scarf which came from Aunty Jane – something that was made specially for me by her mother when I was just a pup. So its a special scarf.And we picked our gondolier! Oh yes!And we’re off …

There are a lot of old walls submerged in water, Mummy –Are these buildings built on solid ground?Oh look! Someone’s taking our photo.I guess it must be strange to see a dog dressed as a gondolier in a gondola.And then there were more people taking our photos!We were greeted heartily by other gondoliers too! We soon emerged from the smaller canals onto the Gand CanalAnd the waters are a bit more choppyAhhh, we’re back to a familiar sight.
Thank you, Thomas!That was an experience.

Now for more rest before we’re onto another appointment …
And we had to spend some time writing the blog!

Soon it was time for dinner and we took the Hotel Cipriani boat across to the hotel.Ahhh, Mummy was once again in her reflective mood – as memories came flooding back. She wondered about the people she once met there, Iris and Lenny – and wondered where they are now. We had dinner at the CIPs Club by the canal. The sun was just setting then and the mosquitoes were out with a vengeance.Mosquito alert was required!

For dinner, the Veal Milanese of course – As I was eyeing that juicy bone.And I did get the bone. Two for the price of one!

All this while the sun was setting …Just as we were done and ready to pay the bill, they brought Mummy a little birthday tiramisu cake.When Mummy was making diner reservations from London and asked if they were dog-friendly, she had to throw in every possible emotional bribe so they would say yes. She had told them we (she + dog) were coming ALL the way from London to celebrate her almost important birthday and that was the place she wanted most to have dinner at. Without hesitation, the lady had said – yes, of course. Mummy reiterated – with dog. “Si, si,” she replied. But Mummy never thought she would remember but she did and she made sure Mummy had a candle to blow out – but actually the breeze blew it out instead.

The sun had disappeared by the time we left …
It was a lovely end to a perfect day.And though the moon wasn’t full, the half-moon shone brightly in the starlit skies. Mummy, I am so glad everything worked out well when it was momentarily threatened by the train strike in France. But we managed and I think we did almost everything you wanted to do with me. To share memories with me and together we make new ones. Now many of our new friends will remember that we were there together.

Oh, yes, there was still Florian We’ll come for breakfast tomorrow.

And to top it all off,  Little Tyke called and sang the funny version of Happy Birthday – which he prefers to sing and then because now he’s all grown up and know the meaning of it, he sang the “real” one. And Big Tyke called to wish her Happy Birthday from London.  And there’s Lady Tyke (her god-daughter) in Washington D.C. whom we have not properly introduced, sent an image of her all pretty and grown-up. All that meant a lot to Mummy.

May’s comment:  Ten years ago I celebrated the 40’s with friends at The Cliveden. They were heady days. I was in the corporate fast-track and I had flown back to London for the birthday celebrations. Who knew that soon after, my world changed completely.

Ten years ago, it never crossed my mind to have a dog. My life was full and I had so many plans – so many places to see, so many things on the bucket list. But I wasn’t completely happy – at work nor at home.  Something had to change and the next year, when I turned 50, it did.

Someone had told me that a woman’s life began at 50. And I thought – how can it get better than to have all I needed, at the top of my career and a partner who afforded me many things. But life brings us things we need, not what we want.

Looking back at the last nine years being a 50-something, I never imagined I would be where I am today.

These days instead of sitting at long drawn out meetings in board rooms or meeting deadlines, I run around shopping for objects to make people’s homes more beautiful.  But I still feel this cannot be a serious job because I am having too much fun. Each day instead of sending emails about what needs to be done, I sit and write a blog about my dog!!! Again – more fun.

Maybe not as affluent as I once was, but I am definitely a lot richer in other ways. The last ten years taught me to love not in the way I expected. I am able to make a living by doing something I am passionate about, and writing is my hobby and I get to do that everyday.

No more dreams of candlelit dinners on the French Riviera and romantic walks on the beach in tropical islands. Today I go to the beach so my dogs can run and play. I plan my travels to where my dogs are welcomed and have dinners at dog-friendly restaurants. And so we live on. So in unconventional ways, my life has been full. Full of love, new friends, new adventures and opening up to emotions I never knew I had – like being heartbroken for dogs I have never even met.

So yesterday was an almost perfect day. The only imperfection was because I bought a shoe in the wrong size – its a long, boring story – and let’s leave it at that. Otherwise, I re-lived my Venice memories and made new ones with my loyal companion, my BFF, my devoted one. And she did me proud.

So this is my last year of being 50-something. And what does 60 bring – no one has told me yet. I await with bated breath when next years rolls around.



  1. Maria

    Fabulous . A dig on a gondola how wonderful. No wonder people were taking photos. Happy birthday xx

  2. Sandy

    Lovely photos ? I enjoyed my visit to Venice in the 70’s

  3. Fiona

    May, looks like you had a superb day. You really celebrated in style. And with your best friend too, what could be better. Happy birthday and Have a good year. ?

  4. Julie Entwistle

    Venice is so wonderful and to spend it with your favourite girl is the best. No way are you 59!! You look amazing x

  5. Annie Rhodes

    The sixties are even bettter if you can imagine that. You look great and best of all healthy. So Happy Birthday May!

  6. Sandra Curran

    What a lovely place to celebrate a special birthday and with someone so special to you x

  7. Lee-Anne

    Happy Birthday May. Wishing you a fabulous year filled with much love, laughter and happiness.

  8. Frank Gee

    What a wonderful birthday celebration you never cease to amaze me. Wishing you many glorious years to come. X

  9. Alison

    Love these memories, enjoy Italy

  10. Katherine Shiatis

    Happy Birthday you gorgeous lady!!! Thank you for all you do , the joy you you spread and the people you bring together all over the world! We love you May!! Lyra and Katherine xx

  11. Marion Hannon

    Inspirational. Thank you

  12. Cheryl and Susie

    What a lovely birthday celebration May, 60 is the new 40!
    Have a lovely year of travels with George and Darcy.x

  13. Anne McCormack

    Happy birthday, May. Enjoy your last 50-something. The next decade will be just as exciting and something to look forward to and welcome.

  14. Laura Cordovano

    Happy Birthday May! You truly are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your birthday with all of us. You brought back my wonderful memories of Venice and the incredible times I had there. I think my Jasper would look dandy in one of those T-shirt’s. Darcy sure does. Love the wisdom on her face. And love you. XoxoLaura

  15. SamanthaR and Lola Cockapoo

    Wonderful, magical, beautiful May. The changes you chose to make have touched so many people in such a positive way – you are a very lovely lady and friend. xx

  16. Christine Agius

    Reading your blogs over time has inspired me to do more travelling with out beloved companion. She’s called Honey & is 16 months old.
    We’ve arranged a trip to the south of france in June. She has just got her passport so now I’m super excited!!!!

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday & a pleasant trip. XxX

  17. Judy

    Happiest of birthday wishes to you! Brought back memories of a few years ago in Venice.

  18. Jacky Taylor

    Have a wonderful birthday. We live reading your blogs
    Jacky and my BFF Rupert x

  19. Patti

    Beautiful, I adore Venice. Happy birthday and much love from Esther and I xx

  20. Raquel

    Happy Birthday!!! Amazing blog! Lots of Love from Beans ?

  21. Michelle Fagan

    Wonderful photos ?

  22. Kit Lam

    Happy birthday May, you certainly don’t look your age! I love the way that you take your dogs to so many places overseas. I’m quite envious actually.

    Safe trip back!

  23. Maree

    Happy birthday May what a wonderful way to spend your birthday.

  24. So wonderful!! Happy Birthday, sweet May! I will celebrate with you next year!! ❤️??

  25. Cecilia

    Happy Birthday May and with many many more! I love Molly as much as you love Darcy and George, how I wish I was able to do all those travelling and fun things with her, they are the luckiest to have a mommy like you,

  26. Neyra

    Happy birthday, May! Thank you for taking us along on all your fabulous adventures. Wishing you, and your fur babies, good health and joy.

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