To Fulham on May Day to visit Jill Mervin and politically unreconstructed friends in the South to celebrate the then still unannounced results of the mayoral election that day. Jill’s front door was festooned with pictures of the Blond Buffoon. Inside there was joy that Boris Johnson could be elected instead of the reviled Ken Livingstone, who hates their cars. No one considered “Brian Padlock” a serious candidate, but then no one had accused my friends of being serious people. Hospitality first class as always.
In another week taking advantage of Miki’s absence in Japan to overwork, redrafted over the May Day weekend the astonishing website of Precision Instruments Ltd for a project which might one day go ahead.
Back to London on Saturday for a few hours with Miki before Akiko Edegawa arrived on a brief holiday back from Japan before starting a long project there. Her news is good, and her daughter Safire settling in well with her peers. New couchsurfers Mickey & Elisabeth visited us from Germany.
To the BCS on the 12th for an emergency meeting of the BAA committee, after which Mickey & Elisabeth joined me at the RSA to hear Dr Hans Blix argue for nuclear disarmament. Then to the Romanian restaurant in Old Bailey to hear Tcha Limberger and the Budapest Gypsy Orchestra, and dance a little afterwards.
To the King’s Fund on the 15th to learn about marketing online content at the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, where Susan Clark was inspiring on what The Economist is doing to retain subscribers.
That evening to an innovatory joint committee meeting of the Heath & Hampstead Society, much exercised by a long-frustrated desire to enlarge its membership, and there reacquainted myself with neighbour Rupert Sheldrake.
To Highley Manor Hotel in Sussex on the 16th to watch and celebrate Clara Iñes-Diaz and Peter Clifton marry. We met Clara’s sister Adrianna and brother Juan-Carlos, who had come from Colombia, and Peter’s numerous family. I Corinthians 13 is an old favourite; it was a treat to hear it in Spanish and English.
The morning after the wedding, through misty rain to Middle Farm, tucked into the eastern end of the South Downs, and a tour of the National Collection of Cider & Perry. No rain at the coast: we walked off our breakfasts along the cliffs at Beachy Head, then squeaked into Badgers Tea House in Alfriston before they shut.
To Elsinore to start a parallel run of the CRM system, only to spend the week revising the database structure and the import programs to match. Once again gave thanks for not having scamped earlier on code quality. Took my boots and walked each day through the forest to and from the office in Hellebæk — magical.
Back late Friday to Stansted, then off the next morning to Birmingham to celebrate Maxx’s 78th birthday with a visit to Woolman’s nursery and a huge dinner of sparkling shiraz, a pork joint, and Somerset Alchemy cider brandy. The Sunday morning off through wind, rain and congested traffic to (eventually) Hereford and the Cider Museum — an excellent visit — and an easier drive home, through Ledbury, which we bookmarked for a later visit. Gale-force winds and rain Monday encouraged us to return to London on A roads — a much more relaxed way to travel — breaking at Chipping Norton for coffee where be blundered into Jaffe & Neale, Independent Bookseller of the Year, and emerged laden with Real England and Slow Travel.
Satish Kumar came to stay overnight and we were able to introduce him to the Candid Café in Islington, to dance at Sadler’s Wells and to the virtues of BB pencil leads. In return we learned about gulkand (rose-petal jam) and where to find it in London and may join him for a stroll in Devon this summer.
Miki made the best lemon marmalade in the history of the world.