Just over two years ago, Ros and I went to Newbury to attend the South Central Regional Conference, where I got to chair a leadership hustings under somewhat unexpected circumstances. This time, I wasn't expecting anything like as much drama... This was good, because I'd been somewhat out of sorts following the events of Thursday.
Having made my way to our hotel, we were collected by local PPC and, of course, former MP for the constituency, David Rendel.
Interesting fact - I have now been driven somewhere by three leadership candidates. They all lost.
David whisked us off to the Downlands Branch annual dinner, an event which has built up over many years until it is now, effectively, the constituency's alternative annual dinner, raising hundreds of pounds each year for local campaigning. I don't know a lot of people in Newbury, although Chris Marriage, the branch chair, is a fellow member of the Returning Officer fraternity.
The food was handled on a cafeteria basis, whereby you went to a row of tables, were served, and retreated to your table. A choice of fish pie, goulash or vegetarian lasagne, with all of the trimmings, could be accompanied by real ale (the sine qua non of Liberal Democrat catering). All in all, very good indeed.
I went easy on dessert, against all of my natural instincts. However, if anyone knows who made the raspberry mousse, do tell them that it was worth the journey on its own...