Fabulously Fifty

Posted on April 5, 2016


My mother always says old age does not come alone, I think she means, it comes with a few groans and a stiff joint here and there. I think it also means that the older we get the more friends we have, the bigger our circle of friendship becomes and the memories are richer, funnier and more cherished.

So, turning 50 in March this year, for me, was a time to celebrate my friendships, my experiences and the fabulous memories I have from the last 50 years. I decided to have a party, not just any party, but one in a magnificent marquee, at a stunning steam railway, set in the most magical forest on the face of the earth!

I said a few words on the night of the party. I want to remember what I said, so putting it in a blog means it’s always there, and my family and friends will always know how much they mean to me.

‘Usually when I stand in front of a group of people you can’t see me over the lectern, or when I have a microphone in my hand I am tempted to sing ‘thank you for the music’, the last time I did that it was in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria, and it was well received, mostly. But don’t worry Sam, I’m not going to do that tonight.

A few thank you’s and then some audience participation.

First off, my small and perfectly formed family. Thank you to my son, don’t worry, I am not going to say how brilliant you are or how much I love you, thank you to my Mum, I am going to say how brilliant you are and how much I love you. My cousins, and the sister and brother I picked out myself – Leanne, Gary, Jackie and Alan.

Thank you to Kat and David for the fantastic venue at Perrygrove Railway, to Stuart for the marvellous marquee, and to Yvette from Harts Barn Cookery School for the fab food.

Audience participation bit, if what I say applies to you, give me a little whoop, so pay attention [in blogging terms, the whoop now means leave a comment below about which bit applies to you]

And you lot, thank you for travelling all this way to celebrate with me tonight, from Devon – particularly the Devon Divas, the Bad Mothers Club and possibly Ashley later; Kent, Brighton, Bath, London, Portsmouth, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Wales, Redcar, Birmingham, Leicestershire, Rutland, Gloucestershire, Nottingham, Dubai and those of you who have made the huge trek from the Forest of Dean.

And thank you for the experiences and shenanigans we have had together (pay attention …)

You’ve tied my shoelaces so that I could go out to play, you’ve been to school with me, danced at discos at Hinckley Leisure Centre, been on French exchanges, played Canasta and Dominoes, holidayed in New York, Barcelona, Portugal, Le Touquet, Mojacar, Longleat, the Kingdom of Fife and the beautiful, beautiful Banks of Loch Fyne.

You’ve invited me to your birthdays, weddings, Christenings and confirmations. You’ve welcomed me into your homes, cooked for me and opened the odd bottle of wine or two. You’ve given me jobs, and some of them I have actually wanted.

You’ve camped with me, had sleepovers with what felt like hundreds of ‘beavers’, barbecued and partied in my back garden and on beaches, and shared Mexican feasts.

You’ve interviewed me, joined me in mad photo stunts, been willing participants in the 4 minute warning club, promised to keep me away from the karaoke machine no matter how drunk I got (and failed), you’ve made me drink vodka, sung with me on the singstar, drunk champagne and danced on the tables.

You’ve been Monkeys, Dolphins, Lions and Elephants.

You’ve been trusted colleagues and friends. You’ve been brilliant teams – the English Riviera and Birmingham Chickolets, the RDA Phoenixes, the Glevum Gals, and the Fab Foresters. You’ve supported McAllister and Co wholeheartedly.

I’m blessed to have met each and everyone of you, I cherish our friendship and I look forward to making more memories with you all over the next 50 years!’

This charming life.

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