Taking Stock - February 2, 2015

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Even an old curmudgeon like me can’t find a bad word to say about birthdays. That’s not a hint, by the way.

I tend to mourn not celebrate the passing of another year these days.

But I have been busy on the birthday scene, thanks to the fact the brood all have their big days within a month or so of Christmas.

It’s by no means perfect and does put a bit of a strain on the Stocks Towers purse strings, so much so I’m going to be eating beans on toast for the majority of February and March.

My daughter’s was the most recent, an event which given the scale of this year’s merriment is soon to become a national public holiday.

Her Majesty certainly isn’t the only person in Great Britain to have two birthdays, in fact I think my daughter has about six in what appears to have become a week-long celebration.

It starts with the coming of the minor relations who potter in, eye your tea suspiciously and wind the little ones into a birthday frenzy.

Then there’s the obligatory family treat, governed by the rule of the playground and entirely geared around one-upmanship (I’m pretty sure Jenny from 2T didn’t really go for a pony trek in Mexico with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna).

The day itself is almost lost in the frenzy of planning the party – the public birthday on which it’s necessary to hire out a play centre, pottery store or ice rink depending on just how middle class you want to look.

It’s a far cry from my day when three friends (no more) would be invited to watch Harry and the Henderson’s at Blackpool Odeon (because it was the only thing on) before a brief trip to Wimpy.

There were exceptions – the rich kids would invite everyone to Professor Peabody’s where you could lose the skin on your elbows on what seemed the world’s most enormous slide or Tarzan’s at Hambleton where you could do your best impression of the Viet Cong in the amazing underground tunnel network.

Not that I’m bitter, as long as they’re having fun.

But there’s only another 11 months until it all starts again. I guess it’s time to get saving.