Wednesday marked the start of a 2 day adventure in the City of London, a place I used to know well but had almost forgotten so many years have passed.
I took this photo as the train pulled into London Bridge station. That evening I would be heading off to what is affectionately referred to as the Gherkin (the torpedo shaped building to the right of the photo) to hear a very important announcement.
As it was an early start the next morning, for part 2 of the event, I had to stay overnight and I was staying in a hotel on Southwark Bridge Road, just over the river from the City and only a short walk from the station.
|The obligatory selfie|
I used to know this part of London very well but hadn't been back for over 21 years so I went straight away to see this old pub where I'd spent many happy hours with colleagues after work!
I took photos all the way round as it was just a stunning view but I've restricted myself to my 3 favourites here:
There was an audible gasp and some nervous giggling as people realised what he'd said. The Japanese delegates did not look impressed and I felt really sorry for them as it was quite embarrassing.
Apparently he apologised to them afterwards so hopefully that smoothed things over a bit. People were still talking about it the next day though.
It's situated by the railway line adjacent to Borough market and so I had a leisurely wander through there, admiring all the stalls.
Then it was a quick trip to get some cash for taxis etc and back to the hotel to get ready. On my way back I noticed this massive panel with pink lights. There was another one the other side of the arch and I suspect it was a nightclub but couldn't see a sign anywhere.
What was the event I was attending? This -
I was meeting up with 2 fellow Champions of Alzheimer's Research UK, Carol and Patrick Franklin-Adams, and their friend David who was acting as Patrick's helper. Patrick has had early-onset Alzheimer's for the past 10 years or more and they have raised a massive amount of money for ARUK.
We met in the hotel lobby before heading out into the sunshine for a walk across the Thames. I loved this view of the skyline with all the cranes - note the open-top tour bus on the right.
We hopped into a taxi and were soon outside the Gherkin. It looks enormous close-up!
|Close-up of the structure which seems massive when you're right next to it|
After the security check-in we were ushered towards the lobby and told to take the lift to the 34th floor and then change to go right to the top. I can't find any information about this striking sculpture.
We were there nice and early so I was able to have a leisurely chat with some familiar friends and take some photos of the extraordinary views.
|Tim Parry, Head of Communications at ARUK|
|A happy me with a glass of wine!|
|From left to right: David, Hilary Evans (Director of external affairs, ARUK), Carol and Patrick|
|One of my favourite Trustees, Prof Peter Lantos|
|An arty shot showing the Shard and the Walkie-talkie buildings|
|The pointy building far away on the left is Canary Wharf. I love seeing the River Thames curling round as you don't get that feeling when you're at ground level|
There were speeches from ARUK's Chairman, David Mayhew CBE & Dr Dennis Gillings, World Dementia Envoy. In brief, the announcement was about a campaign to raise £100m to fund a new phase of research. Now that's wonderful news and a brilliant effort from all the team at ARUK!
Then we heard from Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health. He made a bit of a faux pas which I can't repeat verbatim but basically said that we are copying the model for dementia used by the Japanese which makes a change because they usually wait for us to design something and then copy it!
|Looking up-beat before…..|
|Oops, better back-track a bit!|
Then it was time for a bit more socialising with some Trustees I didn't know already and people I've met elsewhere. I had a lovely chat to a lady from Wales whose interest is in the care side of things so we had a long chat about my mum and how I felt that caring for her at home had extended the period in which she remained able to function at a near-normal level.
I was careful not to drink too much wine and left nice and early to head back to the hotel for an early night in readiness for the next day. I was very excited about what was going to happen the next day!
Part 2 will follow asap.