I can now die happy having watched David Owen sing along to Bob Marley’s One Love. On Saturday we went to a wedding. These were not friends of ours re-affirming their vows but the children of some friends. That’s how old we’ve become.
The service was in a little church in an idyllic village nestled in the mountains about half an hour’s drive from our house. The congregation was made up of mainly English and Australians; the groom being English and the bride Australian.
I have always thought David Owen is a rather dashing politician. Of course it helps that he started life as a doctor. Until last week when Brown appointed his new foreign secretary Owen was the youngest man ever to hold that post, aged 39. He founded the SDP and often turns up in trouble spots as a negotiator.
Nowadays, he told me during drinks after the service (and I think it is interesting to note that he failed to sing along to The Lord’s My Shepherd and only came to life once Bob started blaring) he is less involved in politics and more in business. He does a lot of work in Russia. We talked about Russia, the Balkans, Thatcher, Brezhnev, Blair, Bush, Clinton and Iraq all before dinner. Then we were told to go and sit down. We were given strict instructions to sit next to someone we hadn’t already met and who was from another country.
“Where are you from?” he asked me.
“I’m half-Swedish, half-Italian,” I said.
“Perfect, I’m partly Welsh, shall we sit next to each other?”
Over dinner we had many more fascinating conversations. Then we were told all the men had to move two places. I am all in favour of this when I’m being bored by someone droning on about how dreadful their commute is but for once I wasn’t.
I lost both Lord Owen and my charming friend Patrick who was sitting opposite us. Instead I found myself sitting next to a three-year old whose first move was to pour a bottle of rose all over me. Meanwhile the woman who had insisted we all change around was cosying up to Lord Owen.
I had to drown my sorrows and as a result woke up yesterday swearing never to drink again. Then at lunchtime I had a glass of red wine which made me feel much better.
Happily I noted that the woman who replaced my amusing and interesting guests with her wine-throwing son was feeling much worse than me. At brunch she lay on a sun-lounger with a towel over her head groaning, barely able to move.
As Byron commented: “Sweet is revenge – especially to women.”
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007