I DID Want To Go To Chelsea, Gresham Society Visit To Chelsea Physic Garden, then The Other Side Of Hope, Curzon Chelsea, 30 May 2017

When Tim Connell sent round a circular announcing a visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden, I knew immediately that the visit would be a special treat for Janie and guessed that Linda Cook would also be very interested. I was less sure about Michael and Elisabeth; as it turned out Michael was keen.

Janie was very keen and had not yet booked in any patients for that day, so we basically decided to make it a date and took the day off.

A hot date in the Chelsea Physic Garden

There were 25 to 30 of us in the Gresham Society party, I believe. The weather was very kind to us; occasionally the clouds looked a bit iffy, but there was also some sun and certainly no rain.

The Original Sloane Ranger In His Garden

We got split into two groups; our guide was Anne, who seemed very well informed and proved to be good company.

To my mind, the best plant in the garden was Catharanthus roseus (Madagascan or Rosy periwinkle), which yields natural remedies for childhood leukaemia, increasing survival rates by orders of magnitude. Yet the most popular plant amongst our cynical, Gresham Society group seemed to be Veratrum viride (Indian Poke), which induces profuse vomiting and which some native American tribes use to choose their leader; on a “last candidate to throw up” basis. Going back to traditional, natural methods is sometimes a very good idea.

Janie asked Anne zillions of questions, many of which seemed to me to be more about the poisonous, nasty plants, rather than the medicinal, nice ones. Even more worryingly, I thought I heard Janie ask a few of times, “would you be able to taste this if you added it to food?” Perhaps I am mistaken about that. But when we visited the bookshop before leaving, Janie bought a small book on medicinal plants and a larger book on the poisonous ones. I think I’ll eat out for a while.

We enjoyed a spot of lunch/high tea at the Tangerine Dream cafe within the garden, which made for a very convivial conclusion to the outing. We always enjoy spending time with the Gresham Society crowd.

By the time Janie had concluded her book shopping, I thought we might be running a bit late for the movies, but I had sort-of forgotten that the car journey from the Chelsea Physic Garden to the Curzon Chelsea was a very short one.

So we had time to book Janie’s birthday treat (a preview of the new V&A wing) before stepping in to The Other Side Of Hope. We thought this was a great movie – very interesting, at times amusing, at times shocking. It is about a Syrian refugee who lands-up seeking asylum and then working as an illegal in Helsinki.

Here’s a trailer:

Highly recommended.

Then we went back to the flat to round off our very enjoyable day with a dinner of delicious leftovers from the weekend and salad. I prepared it all, not allowing Janie anywhere near the kitchen today, she had done her bit over the weekend.  Continue reading I DID Want To Go To Chelsea, Gresham Society Visit To Chelsea Physic Garden, then The Other Side Of Hope, Curzon Chelsea, 30 May 2017

Gresham Society AGM and Dinner, National Liberal Club, 4 February 2016

A convivial evening at the National Liberal Club; the Gresham Society AGM and dinner. Michael Mainelli said he was going to miss not only the pre-AGM drinks but even the AGM, so suggested that I leave the office ahead of him.  But by the time I had got there and made his excuses to everyone, he arrived; a good 5-10 minutes before the AGM started.

In the hands of Tim Connell, an AGM is neither painful nor lengthy. So there was time for more chat between the AGM and dinner. Several people were complimentary about my maiden baritone ukulele performance at December’s Gresham Society soiree, which certainly made me feel good at the end of a long day.

I sat next to Elisabeth Mainelli on one side and Noel-Ann Bradshaw from the University of Greenwich on the other side, which made very pleasant company; indeed at Gresham Society functions, pleasant company is more or less guaranteed.

The speaker was Michael Binyon, whose tales of derring-do as foreign correspondent for the times didn’t quite match Boot of The Beast (Scoop is one of my favourite novels) but raised several laughs none-the-less. A memorable tale about Messrs Foot and Healey meeting Brezhnev sticks in my mind, as does the problem of dictation down the phone line which led to the reporting of “dead sea squirrels”. What a by-gone era story that makes, although it occurred within living memory).

No doubt Michael Binyon had to dodge a bullet or two as a correspondent, but he struggled to dodge a “question-bullet” about the Times pay-wall, claiming that the iPad version of the Times is making money now.  As the economists, accountants and operational researchers on our table might put it; that depends on how you count.

I imagine that the merriment continued in the bar long after I sloped away, but at the end of a long day I decided to quit while I was still feeling very much on top.  A most enjoyable evening.

 

 

 

 

Thomas Gresham Nativity Song, Gresham Society Soiree, 9 December 2015

To Gresham College at Barnard’s Inn Hall, for the biennial Gresham Society soiree.  Those of a musical or light entertainment persuasion put on a short variety show, as the scene-setter for a jolly social. The usual assortment of super people gathered; a mixture of professors, former professors/lecturers and Gresham College enthusiasts.

I wrote a version of “I’m Henery The Eighth I Am”, to describe the events that might have led to Thomas Gresham’s birth and eventual financial heroics. I decided to give my recently-acquired baritone ukulele skills an outing this time, not least because I have recently imported a Roosebeck Baritone Baroq-ulele which certainly looked the part for this “piece”.

This was quite a daunting performance for me – I only took up the baritone ukulele 18 months ago, having eschewed all instruments since the disaster that was my attempt at the violin as a small boy. So this was to be my first performance in front of an audience.

Further, the song I chose did not have any simple chord versions to be found on the web; the chorus of course (a big hit for Herman’s Hermits and Joe Brown before them) but not the verse.

So I needed to work out the chords for myself – see attachment with my hand-written notes.  I wrote “capo 1” all over it, as I chorded it in G but it was originally written (and indeed Herman’s Hermits sang it) in A minor. In the end, though, I sang and played it without the capo, i.e. in G major, as the baroq-ulele was a little quiet for the Barnard’s Inn Hall and my voice copes a little better the deeper I go.

The audience participation elements worked well and I am told the performance was well received. In any case, as the compere Professor Tim Connell put it at the start of one of the other acts that evening, “it’s not all about music tonight”. That was certainly the case for my little rendition.

The text that follows has the original verse and chorus, by Fred Murray and R P Weston, followed by two verses of my own. Shown in the text below the music notes and then further below as viewable JPEGs and also a downloadable PDF.But, as Michael Mainelli said, there’s probably only one music hall in the world that will really appreciate my Thomas Gresham verses for the song; Barnard’s Inn Hall.

♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

THE THOMAS GRESHAM NATIVITY SONG

(Song to the Tune of “I’m Henery The Eighth, I Am”)

FIRST VERSE

You don’t know who you’re looking at, now have a look at me,

I’m a bit of a nob I am, belong to Royaltee;

I’ll tell you how it came about, I married widow Burch,

And I was King of England, when I toddled out of church.

Outside the people started shouting, “Hip hooray”;

Said I, “Get down upon your knees its Coronation Day.”

CHORUS 

I’m Henery the eighth I am, Henery the eighth I am, I am

I got married to the widow next door

She’s been married seven times before

Everyone was a Henery (AUDIENCE: Henery)

She wouldn’t have a Willie or a Sam (AUDIENCE: or a Sam) 

I’m her eighth old man named Henery,

I’m Henery the eighth I am.

SECOND VERSE (different from the first; different from the original too)

I’m not so good with money if I’m left upon me own,

So I called my mate, Dick Gresham, who could organize a loan;

I said, “I need the wonga, but I can’t afford the fleece,

Get terms I can afford or else we’ll end up just like Greece”;

Dick planned long finance, so he said, “thy will be done,

Your brood will still need Greshams’ help, I’d better pop a son.”

CHORUS 

I’m Henery the eighth I am, Henery the eighth I am,

I am I got married to the widow next door

She’s been married seven times before

Everyone was a Henery (AUDIENCE: Henery)

She wouldn’t have a Willie or a Sam (AUDIENCE: or a Sam) 

I’m her eighth old man named Henery, I’m Henery the eighth I am.

THIRD VERSE (different again!)

So Dick, he had a son named Tom, as smart as smart could be,

And when my Ted went brassic, Tommy saved the currency;

My Mary fared no better, Tommy had to bail her out,

And Liz retained his services, though she was more adroit.

All raise a glass to Tom, without him we’d be poor,

Bad money drives out good, I say, and call it Gresham’s Law.

CHORUS AND OUTRO 

I’m Henery the eighth I am,

Henery the eighth I am,

I am I got married to the widow next door

She’s been married seven times before

Everyone was a Henery (AUDIENCE: Henery)

She wouldn’t have a Willie or a Sam (AUDIENCE: or a Sam) 

I’m her eighth old man named Henery, I’m Henery the eighth I am. 

H-E-NRY, ‘Enery, (AUDIENCE: ‘Enery) 

‘Enery the Eighth I am, I am, Henery the Eighth I am! 

 

Gresham Song Page One of TwoGresham Song Page Two of Two

The Thomas Gresham Nativity Song With My Chords and Hand Written chords.

Click here or below for a link to see Harry Champion’s original version of this song.