Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lots of casual speculation

Although I now only work for the Institute part-time (48 hours per month) this is supplemented by so many briefing meetings, phone calls and skype sessions that I seem to be working harder than ever.

I still have a desk at the old offices, but the Institute moves out soon and in any case the place is almost empty and a complete mess.  There is no room for me in the new offices, which are tiny.  I am working from home, but I am aware of the adage "out of sight, out of mind", which in a campaigning organisation is a disadvantage.

Saturday briefing meeting in London, held in Alec Nussbaum's flat a short walk from High Street Kensington. 

It was a basement flat ("be careful of the steps").  Linear in style - study, bedroom, then kitchen, then living room, then bathroom.  All the rooms white painted and painfully neat and tidy.  Right at the back a little court filled with greenery in planters, the bathroom window open on one side.  No sign of Mrs Nussbaum (who has never been seen by anyone).  In the living room one oil painting of a gloomy Baltic waterfront circa 1910, presumably the German home of the Nussbaums before...

Six of us in total, and we held our meeting round the massive refectory table.  Because there was so little room I was jammed between the table and the white wall, and therefore felt slightly stressed during the meeting that I would mark the wall in some way.  Everyone had laptops except myself - I relied on documents, and managed perfectly well.

For lunch we went out to Pret a Manger and brought things back.

Lots of casual speculation about whether "Boris" could become leader of the No side.

Everything came to an end at 4pm.  The day had resulted in a long list of things for  me to do, so that I felt exhausted just looking at them.  As we prepared to go I collected my jacket from the front study where it had been put on a sofa (or sofa bed as it must transform into).

I paused to look at a cabinet of Chinese-looking pots and figures.

Alec Nussbaum, who had followed me down the corridor became effusive when showing me his "little collection":

"Rouleau vase painted in famille noire enamels, it's a tree peony and birds, reign of K'ang Hsi... this is a Minister in robes of state holding a tablet with a figure of a bat or fu, the sign of happiness, again K'ang Hsi... and this (his voice falling to a whisper) is a tomb figure of a dancing girl, T'ang dynasty..."

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