27 November 2015

A fantastic night at BCSA Annual Dinner 2015

The BCSA Annual Dinner is the only formal event that I go to and I love it! Obviously it is not the formality that I love but the opportunity to mix with people familiar on new where we at least share a common interest in the Czech and Slovak Republics. It is not the most scintillating conversation topic but it is a safe start that leads on to more unexpected and interesting things.

The 2015 dinner followed the same plan as the previous years because you do not change a plan that works. That plan included a drinks reception, three course meal with wine, an after-dinner speaker and a prize raffle. But, more importantly, is included almost 150 people keen to have a good night out.

I arranged to work in London that day to give me a short walk to the Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel. I also wore my best suit, one that does not normally get worn to work, and took a favourite bow-tie to change into after work.

The evening was meant to start at 7pm but I was there not long after 6:30pm and while I was prepared to help set things up everything had either been done or was in hand so I had nothing to do but help myself to a drink and start to talk to some of the other early arrivers, several of whom I already knew from the monthly BCSA Get to Know You Socials.

Seating arrangements for the dinner are something of a dark art and its one that Ruzena excels in. She put Richard and I on the same table, as we expected and she put us on opposite sides so that we could not spend the whole evening just talking to each other. She did the same with a couple of Czech women, Blanka and Sandra. The other four on our table were two couple who knew each other and all worked in medicine, St George's mostly.

The food was excellent, the conversations flowed easily and unexpectedly, the speaker was good and nobody minded not winning a raffle prize though we expressed our dismay when we were close to one of the numbers drawn. And once the formalities were over we did some more mixing with friends on other tables, such as the guy behind Blanka's shoulder who used to be a colleague of mine at Logica.

The evening whizzed passed and all to soon it had well gone 11pm and it was time for us to head to Holborn station with its convenient lines heading in all directions.

It had been another truly fantastic evening and confirmed the BCSA Annual Dinner as one of the key dates in my calendar. It's already in for 2016.

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