Sunday, 4 February 2007

Your 50th don't come for free

How much should a man spend on his fiftieth birthday party? I've been planning mine in my head for a few months now. I want it to be more than just a normal bash, which nowadays usually amounts to getting a few friends together down the local gastropub. All very nice, don't get me wrong. But the Big Five Zero merits something special. And that means a little more outlay. However, my grand plans were cut down to size with one, ugly, chilling word from my wife - budget. "Start with a budget", she said. "I prefer to start with an idea, and then see if I can afford it", I countered. But I was outgunned. Friends agreed with the missus. So that kiboshed my ambition to hire the country house which sleeps fifty where my friends had got married. It was perfect. In secluded gardens in the Devon countryside, with loads of rooms. All it would have needed was a DJ (we all have at least five friends who are DJs), a caterer (ditto), maybe a live band, and some money behind the bar. Boom. Three grand. Yep. Three large ones. My wife checked. She rang the couple who'd been wed there. Bugger. OK, couple of pints, seared tuna and a banoffee pie down the Bar and Kitchen, it is then, I thought. But then I rang my mate Richard. He'd rented a Hove promenade cafe, got his mates to DJ and hired a stripping magician for his 40th. He'll have ideas, I thought. I was right. He didn't disappoint. All I have to do now is find an existing Easter event, chat up the venue, and tag mine on to the end. And the bill? £500. A grand, tops.

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