Louise Minchin on the party season
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:41 11 November 2019
As party seasons starts anew the BBC presenter reflects on the importance of taking time to celebrate life's big (and little) occasions.
This week, as I felt the first chill of winter walking the dogs on Chester's Groves, the sight of the jaunty red and white cruise boats lined up neatly on their moorings brought back one of my happiest memories of this year - the night I spent celebrating my 50th onboard one of those boats, a whole nine months after my actual birthday.
Ever since we moved to Chester I have loved the river - running beside it, picnicking on its banks, plunging into its dark depths. I am mesmerised by its power, its relentless journey and the way it is constantly changing.
When it came to celebrating my birthday, there was only one place I wanted to be - on that river. My family weren't so keen and instead we marked the occasion with a very lovely family brunch. But months later, out walking, I saw one of the boats sail up the river, packed with people singing and dancing. I couldn't resist and booked one for a Friday night in June. If the Queen can have two birthdays…well, why not?
When that gloriously golden summer's evening came, it felt magical standing at the top of the gang-plank to hug everyone streaming on. There was a nervy moment when I thought I might have invited too many guests, as the first officer carefully counted everyone. Thankfully we all made it and set off upstream on calm glassy water.
The next hours passed in a blur of laughing, chatting and wild dancing. I loved it; catching up with friends, introducing new friends to old ones and my favourite moment - Darcey Bussell whirling me around the dancefloor, almost knocking over spectators like skittles.
When I woke the next morning, still buzzing from it all, I was reminded of two things - firstly, how much I enjoy a party and, secondly, how important friendships are. It's too easy to get absorbed in busy lives and not spend enough time with people you love. So this festive season I have decided that, outside of work, I'll concentrate on parties and friendships. Life is too short to not celebrate whenever the opportunity arises - even if that opportunity is nine months later!