Our first foray into putting an event on for the wine trade took place on Wednesday night; a picnic in Hyde, with wine tasting, oyster eating and linen table cloths, all very civilised indeed for a Wednesday evening. Plus a revolution, I have actually taken some photographs…not loads but one is better than none!
Getting from Yorkshire to London should be very very simple, it is simple, I do the journey on a regular basis and never do I struggle. However one of the few times that I have a somewhere to be at a specific time there is an issue. Half an hour into our journey the train quietly came to a halt. Now I am no train expert but I sensed this wasn’t a scheduled stop, my first clue was that we were in the middle of a field with no platform in sight and secondly the guard said, “it’s all over, give up, go home, there’s no hope for any of us”. In reaction to this news there was a chorus of chunters, mumurs and disapproval but really very little action. An hour whizzed past and still no movement or explanation. More passionate countries would have set fire to the train and strung the guard up but we just sat there accepting of our situation…if i am honest we had very little choice in the matter, we were miles from anywhere.
After an hour or so of planning how we could postpone the picnic without upsetting everybody we finally got moving in the right direction…back on the road to picnic indulgence (well tracks).
Martin and I thought we had better relax before the evenings entertainment and so we popped into The Ledbury for a quick lunch on the way to the park…I could very easily write an entire post simply about my mackerel starter but I might have to save that for another day! Needless to say the whole thing was awesome, including a lovely bottle of White Rhone and a very kindly donated reminder of one of my favourite wines from Aidi Badenhorst in South Africa. The guy is mental but makes unreal wines with bonkers blends that just work, check them out now!
I would like to suggest that it was through expert planning and attention to detail but organising an event in the park when the world cup semi finals are on is a good idea as there is nobody around. So with our pick of the spots we carried box after box of delicious seafood, meats, tables, linen and obviously a few cases of wine into place and set about opening oysters and wine for the impending arrival of London’s wine elite.
Now, I have total faith in Scott our PR man however my stomach did drop slightly when a warden from The Royal Parks came
trotting up to our setup, questioning whether we were in possession of a picnic license! Of course we were’t in possession of a picnic license…driving license, shotgun license, library card, all these things I have but a picnic license, really?! Be warned, you now require a picnic license in you are planning a picnic for more than 30 people if it is for commercial reason in Hyde Park.
Luckily Scott did mange to persuade him that we were not professional caterers but just very civilised friends tasting some wine in the park. He scurried away and we could continue with a lovely evening.
There was a great mix of friends, bloggers, writers, wine makers and a presenter. And a very varied mix of conversation from talking twitter and blogging with Rob Macintosh, www.wineconversation.com and Mathilde Delville, to talking Fine Wine with Tina
Gellie from Decanter, the trade in general with Agata Andrzejczak from International Wine and Spirit Record, the latest release from Tony Brierley from Santa Lucia, a small but exceptional Tuscan vineyard we buy from. And just talking about pretty much everything with Joe Wadsack, a conversation which only ended at 8.45…the following morning and hence why I didn’t quite manage to get this blog out until today!
In fact so good was the conversation that we had missed the last call to exit the park and got locked in, despite certain request just to stay there it was decided that the best course of action was to perhaps slightly drunkenly hurdle the fence and make our escape and continue in a nearby pub. A suitably low bit of fence was located, nothing more than a step across onto a wall and a hop down to the pavement. (it is by Queens gate if you ever get locked in the park). Everyone easily and comfortably stepped across. However as the last merry face jumped down off the wall, we turned to see a sad and helpless Glaswegian had been left behind. Rachel McCormack, an expert in Catalan cooking, about 5ft and wearing a dress was trapped with no hope of getting out and celebrating the Spanish football victory. What followed should be written illustrated in the dictionary next to the definition of Gentleman. A team of boasters and lifters were assembled and with great skill and charm we managed to remove Rachel from the Park (of course, this is the bit that I really should have been taking photos of!)
Our first event was over but evening wasn’t however a lot of what happened is probably unrepeatable. (there was one great admission of a dalliance with a very popular female TV presenter the full story I could not possibly write up without an adult filter attached!)
Next time we will invest in a license and a ladder!