My father celebrates his 65th Birthday in this year. And after a long and successful career in the transport industry it is now time for him to step down and take his retirement.
He started his career on the London busses back in the 1960’s, and often tells me about the day England won the World Cup in 1966, how he had smuggled a radio onto the big red bus he was driving, so he and his cheering passengers could keep tabs on the game. There must have been such a buzz on that bus, I would have loved to have seen the excitement when a goal was scored, and when the final whistle blew!
He worked his way up the industry quickly, becoming a young area manager in his twenties, and then progressing onto senior management moving around the country for his career before settling into the position he holds today, over twenty years ago.
He has achieved so much in his working life, yet he is the most modest person I know and told my mother he didn’t want any fuss over his retirement, so we agreed.
Well, that’s what he thinks! Obviously a life event can’t pass by like this without some form of celebration so we have set about deviously organising a surprise bash fro him. I have just booked the venue, his favourite hotel, and now we have a matter of months to find, contact and invite key colleagues and friends from the breadth of his career, gather photographs, and organise the event; which will involve a sit down meal for 100 people. It is basically going to be like planning a wedding reception but without the dress.
The biggest challenge will come from keeping it all a secret. Mum won’t be able to make many calls as Dad would notice on the bills so I will be taking care of most things from down here, and god forbid anyone should accidentally ring the house and leave their RSVP on the answerphone.
And then there will be the search for the appropriate outfit. It obviously needs to be quite formal, without looking like I’m preened up for a wedding. I just want to look smart and stylish without looking over the top and as though I have tried too hard. Mum is kindly slipping me a few of the queen's notes to help me out, which should ease the pressure of my search, but I need to find my inspiration first.
I can feel the pressure on already to get everything organised in the next few months, but any stress gathered along the way will be so worth it to see the surprise and smile on his face when he walks into that room to be greeted by so many old friends. I can’t wait.