To Kensington last night, to celebrate Russia Day at the glorious mansion of the noble, kind and august ambassador. There was patriotic music, oratory of great distinction and the crowd rejoiced; or so the propagandists will have it.
Tongues loosened as the Russian Standard flowed. John Whittingdale, Commissar of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, was ripe for gossip: ‘If half of what I hear is true it will be quite a show trial,’ he told me. ‘There is all sorts to come out yet.’ Whatever was he talking about?
Guests were reluctant to discuss the forthcoming G8 summit in Northern Ireland. I hear that the Russian delegation’s travel plans are in disarray. Cries of ‘Putin cannot stay here!’ went up as a forward planning party scouted for hotels in the North, and it sounds as if the Russians will be staying south of the border.
As a man with the most wonderful moustache battled to light the barbeque, the queues for food quickly built up. ‘Just like the old days,’ I quipped before quickly making an exit.