My very good friend Julian put me in my place last week. We were chatting about holiday plans (or lack thereof) as I was loading his camping gear into my car to borrow for a trial weekend. You see, we’re not having a ‘big’ holiday this year, because we’re skint. Or apparently, we’re middle class skint. Not the same thing at all.
I celebrated my 40th Birthday in March. Or rather, my birthday was in March, but I’ve been celebrating it all year. Loosely themed ’40 Days of Fun’, 2009 has been an excuse for me to indulge myself, enjoy myself and try out a few new things.
Some of these have been cheap, even free. We witnessed the serene and inspiring migrating birds at Slimbridge, we built snowmen and igloos in the garden when I couldn’t get into work. We’ve entertained friends for lunch and dinner, had picnics at Westonbirt (where I occasionally volunteer), and we had a terrific time on the beach at Bantham.
Others have been not so cheap. A fabulous day drinking champagne and Guinness at The Cheltenham Gold Cup, theatre trips to see Joseph, The BFG, Waiting for Godot and Othello. We enjoyed a beautiful weekend in The Lakes, staying at our perennial favourite getaway, Overwater Hall. And at the end of this month we’re going to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for dinner. Not to mention seeing U2 in Cardiff or England-Australia at Lords.
And then there’s the experiences I’ve tried. Clay pigeon shooting, a fish cookery course at the excellent Chef’s Table right here in Tetbury, wine tastings, my first (and probably only) surfing lesson.
Writing all this down feels very self-indulgent. And it probably is. But it is all (just about) budgeted and paid for. Middle class skint indeed.