Last night, I dined out at 67 St James St., London, an address better known as The Carlton Club. Didn't make it home til four in the morning, so passed on blogging. Eight of us settled down in the 'Cabinet Room', at what's often been referred to as the 'spiritual home' of the Conservative Party. The dinner was hosted by Lord (Peter) Walker of Worcester, in honour of Lord (Wyn) Roberts of Conwy. We were joined by Lord (Nicholas) Crickhowell, and there were five of we lesser beings there. The 'Cabinet Room' is steeped in history, which last night was overlaid with genuine affection and appreciation of all that Wyn has done for Wales and the Conservative Party during his long and distinguished career. It was a long way to go for supper, but an occasion not to be missed. Such history, such friendship.
Until last night I was a Carlton Club virgin. And I will always be able to say that I did not eat there until the Club fully embraced ladies by granted them full membership status. The momentous decision had been taken the night before. Ninety years after women were granted the vote, and after 176 years of just men being able to be accorded full membership (except for Lady Thatcher) ,the necessary two thirds majority was achieved to allow the ladies in. And about time to.
Yesterday's trip was memorable for another reason. There was a Red Kite hovering over the M40/A404 junction at High Wycombe. It was low and steady, and seemed to be looking me in the eye as I waited at the lights (I drive to Maidenhead and then train it in to Paddington). I remember well when I would sit for hours on the mountain above Cwmystwyth, just hoping to catch a glimpse of this most graceful of birds. In the 1970s, the few Kites left in Britain were struggling to survive in the Cambrian Mountains. And now they hover over High Wycombe, watching men from rural Wales travelling to London. I'm taking it as an omen for the Conservative Party. After a period dominating Britain, it went through a period where its very survival was threatened - and now its back big-time. I wonder whether there are Red Kites in Crewe and Nantwich.