In a little over a week, the Maidment clan will be gathering again to party and play in celebration – and I’ve been running around making it all happen. Perhaps a career in event planning should be something I need to develop next. The event in question is a joint birthday bash for my parents, who both have significant dates to celebrate this year.
In years gone by, we would always take our holidays together around the country, even as we married and began our own family units. Our long summers were always spent in Scotland, or other similarly largely rural areas around the British Isles. Mum and dad would hire a large cottage, which we would then use as a base to get out and about and explore the area. When we were young, this would largely entail all four of us boys being crammed into the back of the car while we travelled. As more of us learned to drive, or as we were joined by grandparents with their car as well, the model of the holiday would often come to resemble a mass expansion and exploration, followed by gathering together in the evening for a shared meal.
We’ve all got good memories of it, but with our wider distribution around the country these days, as well as jobs and other demands on our time, it’s not been practical to try and recreate it as a celebration. Inspired by a number of conversations though, I’ve tried to capture some of the feel of those slightly rambling and eclectic holidays and couple it to a slightly more grand celebration.
To that end, we’re going to be meeting at a hotel which has a cottage in its grounds. I’ve arranged for us to take that cottage over for the weekend, and for us to have a grand meal on the Saturday night. The most important thing about this gathering though is that our parents are not going to be allowed to pay for anything. Through a combination of negotiation with the hotel and my brothers we’ve managed to apportion out the costs of the weekend fairly so that people can pay for their portions in advance while I handle the little extra details – like birthday cakes, wine, champagne…
It’s had it’s ups and downs, but I think we’re nearly there. Now I just need to stop and take a quick breather before finishing off the last details. Hmmm, sounds familiar.