Part 3 of turning 40 was the big event, a medieval banquet at Coombe Abbey. I'd invited my family and Clare's family, plus my best friend and his parents. That made us 19 in total.
By the time we arrived, darkness had already fallen, which made for wonderful scenery amid the Christmas decorations:
There was even a reindeer in the courtyard:
Clare and I arrived early so that we could go to our room and get dressed up:
Clare's family similarly decided to wear period clothing:
Our parents hadn't seen each other since we moved into our house in 2009, so it was probably time to reunite them!
And then we were off for the meal. It consisted of four courses. I'm told that my mother assumed that the waiting staff had forgotten the spoons when the soup was served. Alas, no; this was a genuine medieval experience. The food was fairly good and the courses were interspersed with comedy spots and singing from a band of actors, encouraging lots of activity from their guests.
The evening passed rather quickly, I felt. Not a bad sign, then. As everybody else left, Clare and I retired to our room:
And that was that. A day of celebration from start to finish, starting with the two of us plus Heidi and Pebbles, a surprise party with the younger members of the family, and a feast with the grown-ups. It was a lot fun and I'm really pleased that everybody gave up their day to come and join us. We're lucky in how life is going for us and I still hold no regrets about turning 40 (complete with a reasonable head of hair in spite of the genetic curse!), although I noticed the next morning that you appear to feel not quite yourself, a bit sluggish or queasy once you turn 40. Oh well; still no regrets!