My 80th birthday party – key “to do’s”

by | Jun 9, 2024 | Personal development | 0 comments

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14 people were invited and 14 people showed up. There is always the moment before when you’ve done everything you can and say to yourself, what happens if?…..    I’m glad to say that people did show up, they bought presents, everyone except one person made the attempt to dress up for the part and the occasion.

As I’m de facto administrator as well as being a birthday boy everything ultimately falls on me and I found I didn’t have a lot of time for more than half a dozen conversations with people and was more concerned about the flow of food and the fact that people were aware that refreshments were now being served.

I invited people to come from 2 pm. At 2:30 p.m. I gave a talk lasting 20 minutes reflecting on various aspects of my life. This was followed by a testimony from a couple of people and then we had a symbolic holding of hands and then everyone went out into the garden and we had a toast.  Increasing numbers of people do not consume alcohol so I bought some no alcohol champagne as well as two bottles of real champagne.

I had taken the precaution of writing to everybody saying who was coming and something of their history so in my observation anyway initial conversations were far more meaningful and directed. I also wrote to them on the morning of the party warning them not to have an early lunch as we had plenty of food.

I had to get someone to start the ball rolling by grabbing some food and walking around with it. At 10:00 a.m. I had my doubts whether there would be enough food to go around but when Francoise was joined by Simone who had made the journey from the Brighton area someone 150 miles distant, between them they prepared the food just in time and in enormous quantities as well. We could have fed 10 more. We gave away food at the end and stuffed the rest in the fridge.

I reckon the rule of thumb is that if you are serving a buffet, or cold food, do everything you can the previous night and just leave things like preparing salad and indeed fruit salad until the last moment otherwise it will tend to wilt. We could not store the birthday cake in the fridge as it was too full but we kept it in its box on the floor where temperatures are cooler.

I was very happy with the number of people, 16 in all, because if there are too many souls it’s very difficult even to meet everybody and it becomes more like a football crowd.

At about five pm,  I lit a fire pit type fire and people sat around it and chatted. There’s only a certain amount you can do, the rest is up to people to socialize and take the initiative and talk to people they haven’t met before and this happened in spade fulls on this occasion as we all had one thing in common, the so-called red pill thank you the Matrix film for introducing this idea. We were all alternative thinkers.

As for costs, you don’t think about that sort of thing but we probably spent about £300 on the food, birthday cake, helium balloons, quite a lot of liquid refreshment of various sorts (use your imagination) so that’s something you just do knowing that it’s only going to happen occasionally. It is interesting how the idea of a party and the planning of it starts at least a month before the event at least it did in our case.

We must clean all the rooms, we must move out what is necessary to enable people to sit around in one circle, we must decide where to put the food, the drinks, people’s coats, sitting accommodation outside, the state of the garden in general, all these little things that do add up. As I write this two days later I am still reeling from the energetic effects of the party because it is quite something for 14 people to engage your property and leave their stamp or mark on it. I don’t think I’ll ever be quite the same again.

I had a note from a friend saying how much they enjoyed the party and they will looking forward to the next one so that is always nice. Some people thank you, some people do not, and that’s the way I have found it to be in my life of entertaining. I found myself on overload a bit, feeling and responsibility to everyone and making sure they had a good time but actually the party ran itself for the most part so in retrospect I could have relaxed and enjoyed myself a little bit more but never mind. The last guests left at about 7:30 p.m. Which was quite impressive considering the distances that most of them had to travel.

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