I always like to look the part. My attire of a green Loden and felt hat with feather attracted much ribbing. “The hills are alive withe sound of Tickler” sang Daphne Colthard. Daffers, or Daggers as I call her, and I had the 6 course experience menu at the Pass restaurant at South Lodge and very good it was too.
We arrived in Gatwick in good time for the 17-00 flight. I did find the body search rather too intimate for my taste and was bloody not going to relinquish my Hermes eau de cologne when Polly said it was too big and would not pass the small liquid test. I know I am an old fuddy duddy but the crowding, search, queueing at every point, make the modern airport such an ordeal. Polly looking trim in her Karen Millen coat weaving purposefully through the passengers at pace seemed totally on top of it. Daggers and I coped less well.
I read the Financial Times and Investors Chronicle during the flight with a large Bombay sapphire gin and tonic. The fines on the banks dominated the business press. Once upon on a time being a banker meant something in terms of integrity. This scandal follows hard on the heels of the Libor one and shows how amoral people will subvert the system for gain. I explained to Polly who wondered if this affected the shares that the expectation of a fine is already written into the price and HSBC only dropped one penny. In fact that share with a 5% dividend is far more attractive in yield that bank interest.
We took a taxi to our apartment block. Even in the dark the buildings of the old Hapsburg Empire looked most impressive I opened the car door on arrival and it struck a metal stanchion. The gruff driver was not amused by this, nor that I addressed him in my cod German as Herr Ober which had Daggers laughing, but I would give him no more than 10 euros extra. The flat where we are billeted is extremely spacious. Polly, who seems – to use modern parlance – to be “in her zone” and who listened to music on her ear plugs on the plane, announced she was tired and retiring but then joined in one of those conversations that often take place at the start of a break when we were all excited by being in a new place and planning the next few days ahead.