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Seasonal perils of the morning after the night before

PUBLISHED: 09:34 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 07 September 2010

NOTE TO SELF: in future, do not attend boisterous office Christmas party the night before what promises to be the busiest day of the year. Wednesday of last week got off to a promising start, with a few of us rising at the crack of dawn to ensure that ano

NOTE TO SELF: in future, do not attend boisterous office Christmas party the night before what promises to be the busiest day of the year.

Wednesday of last week got off to a promising start, with a few of us rising at the crack of dawn to ensure that another edition of the Ham&High Series reached the presses.

Impressively, some of those same people were still going strong in the early hours of Thursday morning as our editorial staff let their hair down at our annual Christmas party.

Now you might expect that in choosing a suitable venue and event, our erudite team would perhaps consider a poetry reading or a classical music recital, but not a bit of it. Instead 15 of us were locked in a competitively-charged game of 10-pin bowling in one of the darker corners of Finsbury Park.

I'm glad to say that yours truly figured in the winning team, along with deputy editor Laura Evans, sports editor Pat Mooney, reporters Katie Davies and Ben ''I owe you all a drink'' McPartland, and guest bowler Isabel Crozier, the better half (by far in bowling terms at least) of production editor David Crozier.

As winners, we of course had to indulge in an extra celebratory tipple. When I made my excuses and left just as the third round of sambuca shots arrived, it was in the horrifying knowledge that I would be awoken by the shrill of an unforgiving alarm clock at 7am to catch a train to Staffordshire, there to meet one of Britain's richest men, John Caudwell. The reason for the trip is that John's excellent children's charity is being adopted by Archant London as its worthy cause in 2009.

The self-made billionaire's Elizabethan manor is breathtaking but to get there I had to climb aboard one of Richard Branson's exceptionally speedy and occasionally tilting trains. Still somewhat groggy from the excesses of the bowling party, it was the first time I've ever felt seasick without actually being on a ship.

Then it was back to north London in the afternoon to present our Christmas Cheer cash awards in association with Barclays, and hence to the Heath and Hampstead Society's annual Christmas party. I'm glad to say this did not involve 10-pin bowling, but it did afford an all-too rare opportunity to catch up with the likes of Society luminaries Tony Hillier, Helen Marcus, Peter and Angela Humphery, Janine Griffis, Juliette Sonabend, Thomas Radice (and his lovely wife) Heath open spaces director Sue Ireland, and Heath superintendent Simon Lee.

Apologies to one and all if I appeared just a little green around the gills.

Geoff Martin


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