Last evening, Michael and Sarah Burrell gathered a huge number of friends around them for a party in the Great Hall of Chelsea Royal Hospital. It was a fortieth wedding anniversary celebration: though we were not forewarned, James in an excellent speech announced it from a table top - toasting Gilbert Thompson-Royds, the man who introduced his parents, to save them the embarrassment of being toasted themselves.
Having met Sarah before she met Mike, I found myself bumping in to some very old friends: Willie Stevenson, for instance, who reminded me of a tip I'd given him for the Irish horse Double Jump, which won five out of six races - but not this one. (I've found different ways of losing money since the '60s.)
Such grand events stick in the memory. In an age of short marriages, dressing down and generally low-key entertainment, none of us will soon forget a smartly-dressed party with champagne in such an august setting as Christopher Wren's hall, lined with royal portraits and the vast mural of Charles II on horseback by Antonio Verrio - even if it was pouring with rain as we struggled to get there (and back).