Last weekend was a double 50th birthday celebration, starting in Portsmouth and finishing in London’s West End.
On Friday Nesbits celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Southsea estate agents’ office and the re-launching of the Southsea saleroom, another business first established in 1920.
‘The park is yours at night, feel free to go skinny dipping in the Serpentine!’
The lunch for around 70 guests was held in the prestigious Mountbatten Room at the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney.
As soon as the event ended I had to drive my three-wheel scooter van at a flat-out 30mph back to Warblington, change clothes and make my way to London for a birthday party on the Saturday.
My wife and I were both working recently during my birthday and wedding anniversary weekend, so this was also a belated celebration of our own.
Regular readers are now familiar with my wife’s talent for booking interesting ‘weekendettes’, as she calls them, and this time she surpassed herself by finding us a one-bedroom late Georgian, classically-inspired lodge in London’s Hyde Park.
Along the Kensington Road there is a large vehicular and pedestrian entrance to the park called Prince of Wales Gate which has two gatehouses. One of these, Prince of Wales Lodge West, is privately-owned.
The lodge has been converted into a one-bedroom house with a private garden and parking space.
The gates to Hyde Park are locked at midnight and re-opened at 5am, but residents to the lodge have their own keys for both pedestrian and vehicular access and we were informed by the concierge who had greeted us that ‘the park is yours at night, feel free to go skinny dipping in the Serpentine!’
The location was fantastic, if a little noisy with traffic and the sound of the Household Cavalry exercising horses along the park’s inner road outside our bedroom window at 6.30am.
The second part of our double 50th weekend was a party for my friend James Burstall, who was celebrating his 50th birthday at the Carousel Restaurant near Portman Square.
James gave me my first TV break in 2004 on BBC’s Cash In The Attic. It was great to catch up with some of my old directors and producers and reminisce about our various exploits.