My father, who turned 89 last week, set off yesterday to have lunch in central London with an old colleague, a peer of the realm, and his daughter. The occasion had been proposed by the daughter, who had bumped into my father outside the Gate cinema at Notting Hill Gate – introduced herself – and informed him that she had moved into the locality.
Travelling to London and back by train from Chichester can be frustrating because problems at Barnham, Three Bridges and indeed sometimes elsewhere can mean that trains are delayed or cancelled, carriages become over-crowded and – too often for my father’s liking – the whole process becomes a farce.
He returned shortly before 6.00pm last night.
I asked him how his lunch had gone.
“It was a bit of an ordeal, to be honest. Lord X [his former colleague] was plainly off the pace and barely knew where he was, let alone who I was!” Apparently, conversation had been stilted throughout the meal and conducted almost exclusively between my father and Lord’ X’s daughter.
In response to my query, my father stated that Lord X was in his early eighties, adding “The only lesson I learned from today was how lucky I am not to be completely ga-ga by now …”