And so it came to pass: Yours truly officially became ‘old’ at the weekend as I hit the half century. 

The realisation dawned as, pre-party, I stumbled into the summerhouse after another hour’s struggle on the turbo trainer, to be met by two helium balloons depicting the big 50.

Precisely a grand down after purchasing marquees, sound systems, crates upon crates of alcoholic concoctions and various party appendage, we stood in the lashing rain on the Friday as we attempted to erect an ‘easy up’ marquee frame. The 10 minutes manufacturer claim turned into two hours as my kind neighbours wished they hadn’t answered the door and continued watching tenable instead. 

The next evening, after an advertised 7pm start, at quarter past seven, it was just me, my wife, mum and brothers in attendance as I felt the heat rise when I was asked where everyone was (and why I was Billy no-mates).

Thinking it’s not so bad as I still had the match of the day option, the door opened and streams of faces came bowling in, up the path that had been flooded until three hours earlier, resplendent in their Saturday summerhouse finery. Weighed under with gift bags of alcoholic beverages that I will never manage to drink.

Packed, at one point with around 80 people, the sounds of Musical Youth blared, punctuated by the tinkle of cold beer bottles as they were taken from the builders ice buckets, we talked and laughed and I surveyed the scene and felt, through a drunken haze, loved, as if I were back at a 90’s rave in a distant field in west Sussex, alright.

There was cake, a buffet and a microphone was shoved in my hand to make an impromptu drunken speech, which was a low, as I proved once more why I will never make it as a stand up, as we finally sloped off to bed at 4am, richer of spirit and thinking being 50 isn’t so bad, is it?

The next day there was some ‘fall out’. Word came through that a friend has fallen from her bed and broken her finger and I was contacted by others who, through the midst of drunkenness, were suffering from ‘booze guilt’ as they wondered if they had offended anyone (spoiler: they hadn’t).

And now, I am at one with my lot: as I look forward to 60, if I make it that far, where I can truly embrace my age and wear some joggers and a straight out the packet ‘old and grumpy’ T-shirt as the presents morph from bottles of JD to incontinence pads and a saga subscription.

  • Brett Ellis is a school teacher