|Philo's in Ruddington|
|Mingling with the neighbours|
|John welcomes guests|
|"Hmm" says Alex "where shall I start"|
|John & Ruth's three boys - our grandsons|
Sam, Alex and Luke
So, it would have been much easier to say no to Pat’s suggestion and have a quiet birthday at home – just the two of us - with perhaps a nice meal. Or, it would have been more within my comfort zone to have simply had my children and grandchildren for a nice meal in a local restaurant. But when Pat said to me “Now don’t ‘poo poo’ the idea but what do you think about a 70th birthday party?” I suddenly, and surprisingly, found myself agreeing – albeit with some little anxiety. “You're coming up to seventy” - a little voice in my head whispered – “three score years and ten – maybe there won’t be many more opportunities. Go for it!” So, "go for it" I did and I found myself agreeing with this outrageous idea. And I am so very glad that I did! We had a lovely day a few days after my actual birthday. The sun shone making it a lovely spring Sunday, everyone turned up and both Pat and I were delighted to see all our family plus friends old and new all gathered together. And we all enjoyed a truly sumptuous spread at Philo’s our local village cafe/deli/coffee shop.
|Friends old and new: Sean, Howard, |
Shirley and Sheila
|John & Ruth|
As well as our immediate family we had friends from different parts of the country, there were people who we had met almost 50 years ago and with whom we have remained firm friends despite living far from each other, there were neighbours who have been so much part of our daily life here in Ruddington for almost 40 years, there were ex-work colleagues, and there were newer friends who we have met more recently all - “mingling”, chatting and smiling as the spring sun shone through the windows. My son, John, gave a little speech of welcome and I mumbled a few brief words to all these people that have meant so much and been such important parts of our lives.
|Our son in law Andrew and|
his dad Howard
And, a few days later as I stood at the side of my son John, daughter Kate and Pat my wife and surrounded by all these people who have, largely through fate, become so much a part of our lives in their many different ways I realised, too, that I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined 60 or so years ago that on my 70th birthday I would be standing as I was, comfortably off, having had a moderately successful career, in a village far from where I was born and brought up and surrounded by my wonderful family – of whom I am hugely proud – and so many friends. As any readers of my blogs will know I came from quite a humble background and could never have imagined that in my life time that I - a scruffy kid from a back street in a northern town - would have visited the far flung places that I have, seen the wonderful things that I have seen, done the things that I have done, met the many, many marvellous people that I have and, most importantly, have such a super and successful family of whom I am hugely proud. In one sense it makes me feel very humble and very lucky; in another deeply grateful. I have been fortunate indeed.
|Our very oldest friends Geoff, Pat, Dave & Molly|
|"Happy Birthday to you......."|
|With daughter Kate -|
official photographer for
|The Beale clan: John, Pat, yours truly and Kate|