To Somerset House on the 3rd for the Kx Systems Technical Meeting, ably led by Niall Dalton. The next day promptly back from Bramley in time to enjoy with Clara Inez Dias & Peter Clifton the delights of Polish-Mexican cuisine (no, you’d be surprised; we were) and Hollywood’s attempt to do justice to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.
To the Friends’ Meeting House in Euston Road on 8 April for the NO2ID hustings for the London Mayoral Election, where I encountered Boris Johnson, BoJo the Blond Bombshell, in a side corridor. I was minded to offer that, if he would return to editing The Spectator, I would renew my subscription. But, being production manager, and he readying himself for the stage, I just smiled encouragingly and passed by. What we Buddhists surrender to compassion. I fear what he may do as mayor to make me regret this.
We stayed that night with the Cannons, but left ahead of them for the Meon valley and the birthday celebration proper: about 50 of us at a conference centre. John Scholes and John Daintree presented the history of the company, after which we feasted and danced. The next morning Miki & I were still able to muster strength to walk on the South Downs and fill our heads with sky and our tums with an exceptional tea in Midhurst, before returning to the Smoke.
Sheep in Tom’s Field
The following weekend saw us scamper down to the Purbecks to overnight in the Stone Room at Tom’s Field. Friday got us a stamp along the cliffs from Dancing Ledge to St Aldhem’s Head, with a stop on the way back in Worth Matravers at the Square & Compasses to fortify ourselves with cider, pasties and Somerset apple brandy pressed on us by Hannah the barmaid. Saturday got me a talk with owners Jo & Sarah Wootton about web coaching, but the poor weather persuaded us to head out early and visit Hall & Newhouse’s brewery at Blandford Forum, home to Badger beers. Badbury Rings was appropriately desolate in wind and rain, and we found the Heavy Horse Centre before crossing the Avon at Chandler’s Ford and taking the back road across the New Forest to find the M3 and our way home.
Miki left on 22 April to see her dad and editors in Japan, missing the first meeting of Hillsiders, addressed by Guy Herbert, general secretary of the NO2ID campaign, and Ed Fordham, local LibDem candidate. Diana Cortés got on the phone and we switched the Heath & Hampstead Society’s website into its summer colours.
To the Royal Festival Hall to meet Peter Clifton & friends for his stag night; always a dodgy proposition for middle-aged gents. Happily they accepted my proposal to dine and dance at Seb Merrick’s Club Zigana in Old Bailey, this being the last Friday of the month. DJ Flat-cap Serge slacked off the pumping brass only to allow Bulgarian dancers to do their stuff. Great mix, Serge. We danced our socks off and staggered home.
At home that weekend helping Susanne Capano bring her rework of the London Bullion Market Association’s website to fruition. (Unpublished at time of writing.) Half of this help had to be given while asleep on the sofa: I had ‘come down with something’ that weekend, cancelled my planned trip to Denmark, and spent the last days of the month resurfacing. (The weather looks better outside now.)