Page 32 - Summer2014Gazette
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   All seasons are kind to evergreens

      The joint 70th birthday garden party for Chris Haines,
      Ian Wilson, and Gary Botley, July 5th/6th 2014

Ian Wilson, Gary Botley and Chris Haines                       These modestly pleasant
                                                               conditions seemed also to
It was certainly a unique      Although held at the height     reflect the sedate character
event of its kind, three       of summer following a           of the occasion whilst
past presidents celebrating    short heat-wave, the event      Saturday’s chill and the
their respective seventieth    experienced the uncertainties   winds of Sunday evening
birthdays within several days  of unpromising British          brought in an ominous hint
of each other. Chris Haines,   summer weather earlier on       of autumn, (perhaps evoking
Ian Wilson and Gary Botley     that Saturday. A series of      a sense of being one who
were not going to pass up the  light showers during the        was in the autumn of their
opportunity of sharing the     morning and afternoon           life’s journey.) But when the
occasion with friends and      of that day threatened          sun came out, one could still
colleagues especially those    the prospect of open air        experience the precious joys
in the club itself, and where  socialising, although the       of an Indian summer, to
better to hold such an event   grounds were well provided      give assurance that life yet
but in the grounds of the      with marquee tents for          had more pleasures to offer.
Clubhouse in Hayes.            shelter from all the elements.  To quote the observation
Over two days during the       However just before the         of Phineas Finn, (hero of
weekend of July 5th and 6th    start of the Saturday party     novelist Anthony Trollope’s
from late Saturday afternoon   at 5pm the sky brightened,      Palliser novels depicting
until Sunday evening a         the clouds parted and a faint   Victorian parliamentary life),
celebrated assembly of         sun gave some semblance         when complimenting the
guests, including over 30      of modest warmth to             aged society hostess, Lady
past presidents, numerous      complement the freshness        Baldock on her looks, it
vice presidents, and athletes  which tempered the muggy        could be said of you that “all
past and present turned up.    humidity of previous days.      seasons are kind to evergreens”.
                                                               There were certainly many
                                                               evergreens present here,
                                                               especially the three main
                                                               characters, and they all
                                                               had plenty of opportunity
                                                               to meet old friends and
                                                               acquaintances. George Butlin
                                                               talked to me at length about
                                                               the ‘Hellfire Club’, a dining
                                                               fraternity from long ago
                                                               with a penchant for classy
                                                               wines and mythological
                                                               pseudonyms. A short speech
                                                               from Brian Stone regaled the
                                                               assembly with appropriate
                                                               anecdotes, and a highlight
                                                               of the Sunday party was
                                                               the customary rendition
                                                               of ‘happy birthday to you’
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