There I was, off to Westminster to host a meeting of LASSeO - the Local Authority Smartcard Standards e-Organisation - when the mobile rang (or rather, vibrated).  A row is brewing in a marketing organisation in which I am a cog.  It's the organised systems personalities versus the creative busy-bees.  Oh dear, more telephoning, more diplomacy, less time.
Then to the serious stuff: at LASSeO we are the guardians of the knowledge which has come from large amounts of money that the government (in an inspired moment) put towards some National Projects but has now, in its infinite and disconnected wisdom, decided to pull the plug on.  So much for continuity and far-sighted thinking.  We need to keep it up-to-date and expanding. But how to fund it?
 
This lack of long-term thinking makes me realise that one of the most valuable aspects of the hereditary principle is illustrated by the country house: when we could hand property onto our children and grand-children we would plant a tree for our grand-children to enjoy, not us.
 
Then straight in to the SNAPI Project (Special Needs Application Programming Interface) which will tailor computer terminals to your requirements, automatically, when you insert your smartcard.
 
A quick rush over the road to the Lords to speak on Data Retention, but everyone has been waffling too long, so do I stay & utter some platitudes or rush to Russell Square to contribute to a seminar on the new ID Cards and National Identity Register at the IALS.  Iris scans are good, except for the 2% FRR (False Reject Rate - when they say you aren't you and won't let you in, and they lock you up). The discussion goes: the government are benign; Fred is suspicious; Simon is quiet; Geoff won't commit himself; Stephen wants to stir up an argument; but for me dinner calls too soon.
 
So, to what you all really want to know about - what did we have for dinner?  Well, it was a quiet affair - a private dinner in one of the Great 12 Livery Halls, with the Gravadlax we sipped a little Chablis Grand Cru Cote Lechet 2002 - excellent, slipped down nicely, and this is the problem: once you've been spoiled, how do you go back to the other stuff?  Anyway we then had a Chateau Langoa Barton 1989 - excellent, still got teeth, not over the hill. What I would like to think the expensive South African last night could one day mellow into becoming.
 
The Taylor's 1985 was delicious - I think better than some 1977 I've had.  Then how could I resist a quick glass of 20 year old Armagnac Marquis de Puysegur.  So does this make me a binge drinker? So what.  You don't live for ever and you don't often get a chance to dine like this. Now in the good old days of my ancestors it might have been like this every night.
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Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.

 

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