Monday, 9 July 2007

Thank Heavens For Henley

Photo: Above: The Young Fogey with fellow members of QDOR, sporting QDOR caps and ties. Courtesy: M.deR-S



The Young Fogey returns to his blog bleary eyed and exhausted after another weekend of strenuous social activity. As this past weekend saw his beloved city engulfed by a tourist tidal wave, with the great hordes descending on Wembley, Wimbledon and the opening portion of the Tour de France (am I the only one who finds it odd that a race bearing the name "de France" should start in London?), the Young Fogey fled to the tranquil surrounds of dear Henley-on-Thames for the annual Royal Regatta.

The week having been abysmally wet and dreary, we were fortunate to enjoy a weekend of near unbroken sunshine and blue skies, giving us a taste of the lazy, hazy days of summer that we had hitherto been denied.

Most of the usual suspects were present for this year's Sunday gathering, organised as usual by the indefatigable Hugh Macpherson. Sixteen strong we embarked upon a merry afternoon quaffing champagne, lunching and cheering various teams with which we could claim some connection (however slight the connection made no difference to the intensity of our enthusiastic support!).

I was pleased to see one Canadian team from Shawnigan Lake School and Victoria Rowing Club race to victory (particularly as a good friend is a Shawnigan old boy) but was saddened to see another Canadian team lose to their Australian rivals. Similarly a Polish team representing Warsaw and Torun were sadly defeated by a Czech crew. Ah well.

At the end of the day we returned to London where three of us called in upon another friend for a quick snifter and then went our merry ways....

Well, for a few hours at least. For at noon today several of us gathered at the Carlton Club as the guests of the good North Briton, Dr. Hogg. Thanks to Dr. Hogg we enjoyed a splendid lunch and kept each other amused with various tales and stories.

The sinister smoking ban now has this kingdom within its claws and we, it's cruel victims, were faced with little choice but to spend part of the afternoon on the makeshift terrace (in truth little more than a tin roof used by the staff on "fag breaks") in order to enjoy a cigar. What a baleful calamity!

At 5pm I bid adieu to those guests who were yet remaining and proceeded on to Claridges for drinks with another friend. Leaving Claridges I joined a group of friends for dinner in Soho and, thus satiated, it was home to blog and to bed!

6 comments:

Beaverbrook said...

Glad to hear of it. Say, isn't Henley the riding of David Cameron? Or perhaps I'm thinking of Boris Johnson - whomever it is, I'm sure you saw him bopping about with the old fogeys as well.

Cato, author of www.toryheaven.com said...

Henley was indeed a most jolly occasion Rafe. I am hopeful that this coming weekend's event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be equally memorable.

Young Fogey said...

Dear Beaverbrook, Henley is indeed the constituency ("riding" is a definite Canadianism!) of Boris Johnson -- for now at least. There is great talk here that Boris may run for Mayor of London which would conceivably require him to step down as M.P. for Henley.


Dear Cato,

Yes, let us pray for good weather for Sunday. I look forward to seeing you this weekend.

Benedictus said...

"The sinister smoking ban now has this kingdom within its claws and we, it's cruel victims, were faced with little choice but to spend part of the afternoon on the makeshift terrace (in truth little more than a tin roof used by the staff on "fag breaks") in order to enjoy a cigar. What a baleful calamity!"

Noooooo!!!! Please say it isn't so, and that you are playing a cruel joke! Not in my beloved England too! The "nanny state" is not, alas, confined to California.

Looks like it was a splendid event nonetheless.

Young Fogey said...

Alas, 'tis no joke. Not even the great gentlemen's clubs of London are exempt from this sinister legislation. After more than two and a half centuries of clubmen enjoying cigars in the comfort of a leather armchair by a fire with a glass of port and the company of kindred spirits, they must now crawl onto makeshift terraces and puff away in the blistering wind. A travesty!

Q.O.S. said...

Henley sounds wicked fun.

Couldn't agree more about smoking bans--my state is doing the same thing (Arkansas, for heaven's sake--what is the Deep South coming to?)

I think we're all a lot more likely to be suffocated to death by Nanny State do-goodery than we are by cigarettes or cigars.