Back in the good old days, when the children were young, birthday parties consisted of twenty to thirty children and two hours when you wanted to invest in ear plugs.
Nowadays the numbers are much lower but the duration - well it seems to last a lifetime because of the dreaded sleepover.
Last Saturday afternoon I took possession of two extra seven year olds, fed them, kept them entertained and tried to get them to bed and to sleep before midnight. I don't really know if they slept - they were doing a quiet pretence if nothing else.
The next morning I cajoled them into eating breakfast, took them to the cinema and then out to lunch. It cost roughly the same as it did in the old days. After that I took them home.
Then I handed my own children over to my husband and locked myself in the bathroom for a two hour soak in the bath and a good read.
Can I have a Survivor's badge now please?