The Empty Nest – she’s 21!

Family Check:-

Eldest – mini crisis – where to put next tattoo. Having a small one myself I can’t complain. My thoughts are that placement is essential. It shouldn’t matter but it can affect job opportunities – and… she’s too young to worry but old, crinkly, tattooed skin can lose its charm.

Middle:- no crisis– looking forward to up and coming birthday.

Youngest- no idea if any crisis – had limited contact.

Memajor crisis –trying to book Middle’s 21st birthday celebrations.

Other Half – usual mini crisis – too much work – not enough time and wanting to get in the garden to tidy up veggie patch but being dragged round the shops by me to choose a sofa.

For the last 20 years the 5th November has been a special celebration for us. No, not because of bonfire night, but because it is the day that I produced Middle (who aptly shot out like a rocket, but perhaps that’s too much detail).

We usually spend the evening with 30,000 revelers who brave the cold, autumn air to watch the biggest celebrated 5th November event in the world –  Lewes Bonfire Night.

For anyone who hasn’t witnessed this spectacle don’t be put off by scaremongers who tell you it is dangerous, too crowded or wild. You will see families with young babies enjoying the revelry and I have taken various children over the years, always counting them out and counting them in again with none lost, injured or scarred to date. ( I would recommend taking some ear plugs though as often firecrackers are let off right in front of you. Although leaping a foot in surprise does give you an added vantage point.)

For such a huge amount of people packed into a small town, there is usually very little hassle. Yes, you get jostled. Yes, there are drunken revelers vying for a good spot to watch the bands, magnificent costumes and large effigies that are pulled up and down the streets and yes, one year a woman turned into Miss Trunchbull and told me off for pushing (in a crowd of 30,000)! But the party atmosphere is enticing.

This year Middle wanted to do something different on the 5th.  So I got the jungle drums beating and sent out a request for a family gathering.  I’ve learnt a sure way of securing the offsprings’ presence is to offer to pay. To offer to pay for a birthday meal and night in London is guaranteed to bring the chicks roosting – maybe not as far as the nest but definitely in the vicinity. Result!– I get my desire to see them all and Middle has a birthday to look forward to.

To do list:-

Book hotel: check. Have you tried staying at this chain? The Hub. Small rooms, fantastic beds but not outrageously priced. Perfect for a quick stay in London. They’re popping up all over.

Book restaurant: check. Our favourite of the moment is Brasserie Zedels Wonderfully opulent, staff who are attentive but not overbearing, delicious food and again, not outrageously priced for London.


You won’t be disappointed.

Book pre-dinner drinks for meeting place. Nearly unchecked. My first choice the Skygarden couldn’t accommodate the 10 of us for a cheeky early evening cocktail, even with plenty of notice, so I returned to my favourite  Bar American. Even when put on the spot, they delivered spectacularly.

So the stage was set with all the ingredients for a great night of celebration.


As it turned out, I managed to keep going until 2 am (for a girl who likes to be in her PJ’s by 10 pm that is a major achievement), the birthday girl ended up having many in-depth conversations she can remember nothing about with her hangover the next morning but  ‘had the best birthday weekend anyone could wish for’, and our numbers swelled as the evening progressed by the unexpected but wonderful arrival of more friends…

…although we didn’t quite make it to our usual 30,000.


About Teresahamiltonwriter

Recipe for a Writer Ingredients: • 1 woman • 1 writing habit • 2 husbands • 3 children Method 1. Whisk suburban childhood; followed by a tablespoon of teaching. 2. Mix with travel to produce a stewardess. 3. Stir in love potion, marriage; resulting in daughter. 4. When mixture reaches boiling point, beat in divorce. 5. Slowly marinade extra love potion and 2nd husband. 6. Blend in two more children. 7. Steep in inspiration by relocating. 8. Toss in imagination and perspiration producing: articles, novels, children’s stories and a memoir. 9. Bake in Sussex countryside. 10. Serve with competition successes, red wine and enjoy.
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2 Responses to The Empty Nest – she’s 21!

  1. Yasmine Patpatia says:


    Your writing style reminds me of the queen of escapism herself (J.K.Rowling obviously). I love how you manage to coat normality in such magic and enchantment. Thank you for sharing this beautiful blog with the world and letting us into your life.

    Forever inspired by you,
    Your biggest fan. X

  2. Hi Yasmine. What a lovely thing to say. THANK YOU! I’m so glad you are enjoying our family tales. I thought it would be a good way of showing the numerous ‘mummy toddler’ bloggers of what to look forward to next. Hope your new business is going well. xx

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