Lunch At Harry Morgan With Richard Goatley, Dinner At Medlar With John White, 12 March 2015

Everything I said in my 5 February 2015 piece about lunch with Richard Goatley at Harry Morgan – click here – is true…

…except for one thing…

…it didn’t happen on 5 February. It happened on 12 March 2015 instead. Richard had to cancel 5 February at the last minute; so last minute that I didn’t even get around to scribbling out the appointment in my physical diary. We rescheduled for 12 March.

Which explains why I had a partial memory of eating and chatting with Richard outside at Harry’s and then thought, “no, not possible in February”. But it was possible with terrace heaters in March. I also remember Vedad, a friend from Bodyworkswest, discovering me and Richard there on St John’s Wood High Street during that lunch.

My e-mail trail has helped me to establish the above and the arrangements for dinner.

I think I should also report that the e-mail trail provides some evidence that I actually did some work on 5 February and 12 March, I didn’t just have lunch and dinner and stuff. But Ogblog’s not for work stuff, unless it is “work life” stuff.

So, John White e-mailed on the Tuesday to say:

I have booked Medlar on the King’s Road for dinner at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday.  I hope you approve.  Lets meet up beforehand for an aperitif.

I replied:

Tremendous choice, well done.  Not tried Medlar but am very much looking forward to trying it with you.

Given that we are going the very end of the world for dinner, I suggest a pre-dinner drink at The Henry Root from c18:15:

Here’s a pound.

So that’s what we did.

I like the Henry Root; a good casual place for any time of day. Friendly staff and friendly people in it.

A short wander across Chelsea to Medlar, which I thought was a truly excellent restaurant. Helpful staff, high falutin’-looking clientele, but not to the level where you feel intimidated. I liked it so much that I went again a few weeks later, for lunch with Stephen Barry.

John and I spent quite a lot of the evening talking about my plans to reshape my working life, a change which, I suppose, has played a major part in my development of Ogblog. I’m pretty sure we talked about plenty of John’s stuff and many other things too, but I do especially remember the Henry Root part of the evening being mostly, if not all about me.

I did think about making that line one of the strap lines for this site, btw.

Ogblog: It IS all about me.

Except that I’m not really aiming for such extreme self-centredness – hence my desire to widen the blog out to friends and family; not least encouraging comments.

Anyway, that evening at Medlar with John was all about great food and good conversation. A good one for sure from my point of view. John might remember it differently and in any case might choose to add a comment or two.

Lunch At Harry Morgan With Richard Goatley, Dinner At Mine With John Random and Rohan Candappa, 5 February 2015

Things were different back then, I realise at the time of writing (January 2017).

For a start, Harry Morgan was on the list of places I definitely wanted to eat, rather than (as now) a place that has gone downhill but still is my last local source of Jewish-style chicken soup and chopped liver, both of which they still do reasonably well.

Secondly, meeting up with Richard for lunch back then was simply a general catch up and chat during the cricket off-season. Richard was Deputy Chief Executive of Middlesex then and little did any of us know that he would find himself in the hot/top seat just a few months later. It’s hard to recall what we discussed; probably some aspects of the team and the clever new commercial arrangements with the MCC, which seemed to me (still seem to me) hugely beneficial for both clubs.


I now realise that the above lunch was postponed and took place on 12 March before dinner with John White – click here.

I had considered buying some “Jew food” for John and Rohan, but thought that twice in one day might be a bit much for me…and possibly that once in one day might be a bit much for them. Chopped liver is a wonderful, heart-warming dish for the initiated but can seem like a rather crude pate to the uninitiated.

So, even before Richard cancelled, I planned instead to serve them food from Tavola, Alistair “Big Al DeLarge” Little’s splendid deli. I guess I went on my way home from the gym, buying enough tempting Italian dishes, making the meal extremely quick and simple to prepare (once Al and his team have done almost all the hard work).

I know John Random from comedy writing at NewsRevue, i.e. since I was in my late twenties. I know Rohan Candappa from Alleyn’s – i.e. since I was eleven. They are both very good, very funny writers. Both are at stages of their lives/careers where the writing has taken a bit of a back seat, perhaps for too long, while providing for themselves and their families comes to the fore.

I simply thought that these two ought to know each other, without any particular agenda or ideas about why they should or what they might do about it. I also thought that it would be a pleasant evening for the three of us.

It was.

I especially recall one bit of the conversation when Rohan and I reminisced briefly about a big sporty lad at school known as Jumbo Jennings. Seemed able to turn his hand to any sport. Terrifyingly quick and bouncy bowling, I especially remember. Fiendish fives player too. John remarked that they didn’t have schools like Alleyn’s in Hartlepool, but he had always imagined that nicknames such as “Jumbo Jennings” were more the stuff of fiction than reality.

I should have instantly retorted that I’d always imagined that disappearing acts like that of John Darwin, the Hartlepool Canoe Man, were more the stuff of fiction than reality, until that fraud was exposed and we learned that John Random’s cousin was the subject of that proto fake news story.

I’m getting my witty retort in nearly two years late, aren’t I?

There was also some business with John’s bottle of Bulgarian Merlot, which I have documented in my Ivan Shakespeare note from a couple of weeks later – click here.