Friday, June 25, 2010

An Odd evening

Well, not that odd really, but I like playing with words. We had an event last night at the Middle Temple in London. This amazing place is the haunt of the London legal profession (part of it, anyway). I was given a potted history by one of the nice gents serving us wine:

The land was given to the lawyers by King James I on condition that they kept teaching law there. When Queen Elizabeth I came to visit she wanted a table that she and all her entourage could sit at, so the hugest oak was found and floated up the Thames (which originally came right up to the buildings) and a table was made that is 26 feet long - all from a single tree.

There is so much oak in these old buildings - you can't really see it that well on the photo above, but the ceiling was amazing - huge swathes of black oak.

Unfortunately I didn't get to learn much more (but if you want to know more, just check good old Wiki: but then I was there to work! It was a garden party, with two wonderful speakers. The first talked about his discovery of a unique species of butterfly, the second was the excellent Mike Dilger who not only entertained our guests, but also drew in passers by (who I made sure got some of our leaflets). He described himself at one point as 'Bill Oddie's researcher' only he used a word to replace researcher: the word is usually applied to a female of the canine species.

It was all very good natured, and in fact Mike's ex-boss was present. Hence the cheesy photo of me and Bill. The important focus of the evening was conservation and all those present that I talked to were interested and engaged. Even three guests who had actually come to the wrong event went away with membership forms... it's the killer instinct in me!

There was a most wonderful guitarist playing for us too, the gentle sounds of his gorgeous Taylor guitar adding the perfect backdrop to an English Summer evening.

The train home was packed - I sat next to a man with a cricket hat in his lap. Once I'd had a brief look through my photos, he talked to me. He had been to the cricket, watched MCC beat Kent. Now he was on his way back to Cambridge, to his daughter and his four year old grandson who has cancer. Doesn't life like to give you a 'perspective nudge' at just the right times?

I've lots more to blog - an evening with Stephen Fry (my friend Heather says I am too posh to talk to these days, but honestly she knows me better!) and lots more on my trip to Arizona. I must start to write again - I miss the simple act of playing with language to tell a story. Even if no one is listening.
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