New York aint big enough for the three of them

A bleary-eyed return to blighty for three friends.

Jaime Ponte, Derek MacLachlan and Stuart McEwen, upstanding former pupils of Inverness Royal Academy, celebrated turning 40 with a boys own trip to New York and Atlantic City.

And by the sounds of it, they didn’t so much burn the candle at both ends as reduce it to a sizzling pool of wax with a high octane blowtorch.

Of course, they’ve always known how to party. And 40 is the new 20, or something. But I think the lads went for it in a special way because there aren’t many more sobering feelings than turning 40. It just reinforces all those other signs of getting older.

Also, all three were due a chance to blow off a bit of steam.

Derek juggles the stresses of life with a young family while transforming the Redcliffe Hotel from a rather rundown state into a desirable destination with a well-thought of restaurant. Stewart has the high pressure job of running one of Scotland’s most prestigious golf courses, as general manager of Kingsbarns Golf links. And Jaime somehow manages to keep a cool head and cope with the mindbending strains of being a professional poker player.

In the ten minute phone briefing I’ve had so far, it sounds like a memorable trip. One evening was spent in the company of multi-millionaire, swigging champagne in his 74th floor luxury apartment and enjoying the awe-inspiring, panoramic view of NYC. And in another aside, one member of the company attended a job interview with a publishing company and got an on the spot – and very tempting – job offer, which would have kept him in the Big Apple til Christmas at least.

On that kind of showing, I’m looking forward to getting the rest of the stories over a few pints.

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