30 November 2012

BCSA Annual Dinner 2012

The publicity blurb (that I wrote) says that the BCSA Annual Dinner is the main event in the British Czech and Slovak Association's year, and so it is.

The format is simple, which is why we stick to it.

Over a hundred of us go to the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Bloomsbury for an evening of food, drink, conversations, a speech and a raffle.

We start at 7 with a drinks reception where the generosity of Budvar is much appreciated. That is where the conversations start flowing, and they never stop.

At some point we are called in to dinner which is usually the contentious part of the evening with equally strong preferences among the quests for Czech/Slovak or English food. I escape all that by being vegetarian, hence the orange spot on my name card.

The seating arrangements are more important to me than the food and the organiser did well for me this year putting me on a table of Slovaks and Brits most of whom I already knew quite well.

The after dinner speaker was HE Miroslav Wlachovsky, Slovak Ambassador in London, who gave us an insight to his posting here. It was very well received.

Somehow what was 7pm soon became 11pm and the dinner was over. A few of us drifted to the hotel bar for a nightcap before consulting timetables to find a way home.

And that's where things went wrong for me. I was too late for the mainline train but, I thought, in plenty of time for the tube only it had decided not to run because of signal failures somewhere and I had t join the boisterous crowds at Trafalgar Square fighting to get on a Night Bus. I managed to get on the second one.

That got me in to Kingston not long after 3am (and boy was it busy then) and some extreme luck with a 65 got me home about twenty minutes later.

Even that journey home failed to dampen my spirits for the evening. It was a fine dinner, as always, and I'll be back for more next year.

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