Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Very Social Saturday

So Saturday worked out pretty well. We’d had a vague idea of checking out some more areas in the southeast of town (with a view to property buying) and then dropping in on Rod & Jess in the early evening before heading on to Colville’s party later on. As it happened, Rod & Jess rang us to say they were going to be in Wimbledon riding and would we like to get together for lunch.

So that’s what we did; after their ride we met them in one of the pubs in the Village, had lunch and a drink and generally caught up with each other. Rod is still looking for a way out of Westminster and Jess is still in charge of one of the Standing Committees with quite a diverse remit of hot topics. She is expecting to be asked to work full-time again, as her job-share partner is going on maternity leave (which I don’t think she minds doing, as the job is an extremely interesting one but which will make life really hard for her as she tries to complete the Open University degree she is taking.)

It sounds like they are enjoying their horse riding though; as well as their weekly jaunts around Wimbledon and Richmond, they had an entire week in the Lake District earlier in the year on a riding holiday which sounded fantastic (even if Rod did end up in A&E with bruised ribs at one point!)

So in the end we never got to do any house-hunting; by the time we’d finished lunch the afternoon was half over so we stayed in and did a few more chores. I started on the Dawkins book. Later on we headed over to Peckham for the party.

Colville is one of Brett’s former work colleagues; he left ahead of the redundancies though to set up his own business. The party was half housewarming and half birthday party for his wife, Soti. The flat is lovely; that rare combination in London of ‘modern’ and ‘spacious.’ It’s decorated and furnished as if out of a style magazine; wood flooring, a white, black and red colour scheme, sparse, plain furniture but with lots of texture in the rug, the sofa and even the big square coffee table, large unframed canvasses of modern art on the walls. The only thing that jarred was the shade of a standard lamp which was puce, not signal red, and clashed rather with everything else – although Brett forbade me from mentioning it.

I didn’t get a chance to talk much with Soti but Colville was quite entertaining to chat with (not to mention very easy on the eye and with an inexplicable inability to fasten more than two buttons on his shirt!) At one point we had a surreal but quite prolonged conversation with several others about how he has recently developed the Grand Unified Field theory (on a cocktail napkin) but he hasn’t got around to publishing it yet. (We’ll be getting tickets to the Nobel ceremony apparently when he does, which I thought was jolly nice of him.)

Slightly more seriously I spent a while chatting to a fascinating chap who works in forestry management who has spent five years in Nepal and just moved to Vietnam to help them develop sustainable timber markets there. He seemed to have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the city of Huế where he’s based; an immaculately clean and tidy and historic former imperial seat, but with nothing much to do there and a population that still has a bit of a superiority complex over the rest of their countrymen. It sounds quite a contrast to the more engaging, if ramshackle and increasingly dangerous, situation in Nepal.

We stayed until about half-past midnight before driving home again. A good night and I’m glad I went in the end.

No comments: