Monday, 27 November 2017

Luncheon Club (a tale).


                             R├ęsultat de recherche d'images pour "fortnum and mason piccadilly"

When we left school, several of us decided to start a Luncheon Club, simply so we could keep in regular touch.

There were only about 6 of us who intended living and working in central London, so this was not a big affair. Others who would be in town on the prescribed days would have to make their intended attendance known well in advance. Otherwise it was taken for granted that all 6 would attend.

We chose Fortnum's in Piccadilly as our venue, and the first Monday in every month as the day. It worked well for the first few months.

Working in The City at the time, getting to Piccadilly, having lunch, and being back in the office or on the Stock Exchange floor within my allotted hour, wasn't easy, in fact it was a dreadful rush which involved the use of expensive Black Cabs; even so I was always late back. It soon became obvious that we would have to change from a Luncheon Club to a Dinner Club, or risk abandoning the whole idea.

After about 6 months we all agreed that we would meet in the evenings instead. It would be more relaxed, none of us would have to rush off back to work, and we would probably save ourselves quite a lot of money; Fortnum's had been expensive.

I suggested a small restaurant that I regularly frequented in Chelsea.

The restaurant on The King's Road was more fun than gastro'; its walls were amusingly dotted with a thousand clocks, and the food and wine were reasonably priced. We all agreed to the change, said goodbye to Fortnum's, and by the following month we had re-established our illustrious club in Chelsea. We continued to meet on the first Monday of every month.

Including our first few months meeting in Piccadilly, I think we lasted as a dining club for just over a year. Absentees became regular, girlfriends started to attend, and the whole concept soon collapsed. On our final meeting we discussed the problem, and came to a unanimous decision to call it a day.

The only club member with whom I stayed in regular contact, was my good friend Monty. We met up only occasionally, but always exchanged news at Christmas. Now his Email address no longer works, and I don't have his current home address. Looking for him through Google, all I could find was some connection with a Shoe Museum, to which he'd donated some of his late mother's fancy Crocodile skin footwear.

Moral: The good intentions were certainly there, but the staying power was not. I could of course attend our regular Summer Old Boy's meetings in London, but I don't know if anyone of my era would be there, and anyway, it's a very long way to go just for a few glasses of Sherry.

It's now over 50 years since The Sybarite Six first met over lunch at Fortnum's. I know that at least 3 of us are still around, but not so sure about the others. Hmmm. 



17 comments:

  1. That sounds awfully civilised. These days, there are some very good deals for lunch which I suspect Fortnum's didn't offer at the time.

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    1. For some reason I was dreaming of Roast Beef, and it reminded me of our lunches at Fortnum's. Huge joints arrived at the table under a big silver swivel-topped canopy. It was certainly expensive; but wonderful. I don't suppose I could afford to eat there these days.

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    2. Last time I was in Fortnum and Mason, I bought 100 grams of very ordinary jelly beans. £5.

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    3. I remember buying some Tea there as a present. It didn't have a price on it, and the shock was life changing.

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  2. I don't think there is anything good that comes from resurrecting the past, but Google and FB stalking those from the past can be interesting. But good luck with that as I suppose they all had names such as Smith and Jones.

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    1. Many people of my age don't have FB accounts, and if they led simple lives probably won't appear in Google either. The slowly disappear.

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  3. F&M interests me a lot because it is in the same stable as Primark, owned by the Weston Family, AB Foods, but held in a separate investment company. You will know I am always banging on about them because they also own British Sugar. A very astute trading family.

    I didn't arrange to stay in touch with any school friends when I left and severed all ties. 30 years later one got in touch with me and now we meet about twice a year, a group of about 6 of us. It isn't very exciting.

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    1. Two of my lot became quite well known, so went their own ways. The remaining four no-hopers stayed in touch for a while, but it soon all faded. I suppose it's only natural.

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  4. I still talk to my oldest friend a couple of times a week and we meet up every month. We have been friends since we were 4 years old, so over 60 years. We always have lots to talk about.

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    1. You're very lucky, I don't suppose there are many like you. My living in France doesn't help!

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  5. I have made an effort of staying in touch with many people from my past, even if it is just a yearly Christmas Card and a small note. They stay forever young in my mind as I am sure I do to them.

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    1. I still write to my very oldest friend. We've known each other since we were about 6.

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  6. Meeting friends for lunch in a shop? Oh dear, it's time to join CAMRA. There's one you could try in Tenby where William and his mates had a session they still talk about, or maybe it was Harry.

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    1. They had a Kaff at the back. Bangers-n-mash, jellied Eels, fish-n-chips, etc. They done us proud.

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  7. Sooner or later folk drop off the perch. I have lost touch with a few over the past year or two and no amount of e mailing, posting of telephoning results in a reply. I have to assume they have died.

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    1. One can only search so far for old friends; eventually one has to accept the possibility that they are no longer there. It always comes as a shock when they disappear.

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  8. I keep in regular touch with one friend from school. Met the first day of high school, born a 100 miles apart in Scotland, families came to Canada around the same time, but basically we are sisters from different mothers.

    High School reunions are ghastly. Did one and never again. Some things should stay in the past.

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