Yesterday I had a lunch with two brothers, both esteemed lawyers, who have kept me out of mischief over the years. We first began the tradition as an annual pre Xmas beano in the late 1970s. The lunch venue started at the Wig and Pen, then moved to the Arts Club and now the Athenaeum. Imagine my embarrassment that, in adopting a more youthful image, I wore a sleek black Armani suit but no tie. The porter had to come to my rescue.
We had a bottle of pop, Meursault and Cote du Rhone and some post prandial stickies in the lounge in front of the fire. The brothers were in fine form and so was I. My driver collected me in the Alvis and took me down to Heathrow, where I boarded a plane for Inverness. It is my invariable practice to spend Xmas on my highland estate, with a shooting party organised, and black tie and kilt dinner for Hogmanay. I will enjoy a brisk walk over the hills, croft in hand, with deerstalker, humming a few bars of Keep Right On To The End Of The Road by Sir Harry Lauder, fortified by a hip flask of malt whisky for the inner man from my distillery, MacTicklers 20 year old, very special own preserve.