Buzz Aldrin is why I drink and my sex mad Uncle is why I cook


Are there such tenuous connections in life that lead to extraordinary outcomes?

When I was first employed at Lloyd’s of London for Kidnap and Ransom insurance it was during the heady days of the four martini lunch…followed by a discreet snooze in the afternoon. Then after Big Bang, it was all red braces and Porsches, and the only thing to put in your body was hair gel. As Gecko said, lunch was for wimps. Step forward a wimp.

There was a discreet upmarket cocktail bar and restaurant called the Victory Rooms in the City. So Old School you expected to meet Tom Browne, Mr Chips and Jean Brodie, in her prime.

Now I believe it’s a gym for your lunch break. In my day at lunch time it was manned by the super famous Savoy American Bar cocktail waiter, Joe Gilmore. My first day whilst sitting at the bar trying to work out what to order, I noticed a tiny framed a picture of Apollo 11 resting on the USS Hornet, the recovery vessel after that historic flight.

“Why is that there,” I asked.

Joe beamed and brought it over. I could now see the signatures of Michael Collins, Neil  Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin. ‘Thanks. Would never have got through it without you’ it read.

When the three astronauts were asked what they would like to keep

them occupied for the two weeks they were locked in quarantine, Collins and Armstrong asked for various books and music. Buzz said, ‘“Fuck that. If I am going to be locked up I want to be blissful. Get Joe from the Savoy to keep us smashed”.

Joe poured me a  combination of grapefruit, orange liqueur, and a hint of rosewater, topped with Champagne. “It’s called a Moonwalker,” Joe explained. It was heaven in a glass. I owe Buzz Aldrin my love of cocktails.

...and another thing

When young and a bachelor I was hopeless and tongue tied if a date went well on how to ask the girl back to my flat. My Uncle, who I considered very racy as he read Playboy, told me a secret that changed my life.

“How far is it from the dining room in your tiny flat to the bedroom”, he asked?

“About 12 feet”.

“I think you can both manage that. No time for awkward silences in a cab.  All you need to do is learn to cook. Properly cook. Really learn to present great food. Once word gets out people will be fascinated that a spotty teenager like you can actually cook well. It will save you a fortune on restaurant bills and taxis. And if the evening goes well the two of you have only to cover 12 feet…”

To be honest, cooking and entertaining (along with an unhealthy love of classic cars) have been hobbies that have led to a contented life and an expanding waistline.

Keep safe.

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