Mingle With Kofi Annan’s BFF


Life is bizarre sometimes. Very, very bizarre. I say this, because yesterday afternoon I had just arrived home from a terrible shift at work. And I mean dire. Sometimes I think that those who have to deal very closely – face-to-face closely – with the general public, deserve more than £6 an hour. That is because, 80% of the time they are rude and surly and generally very unpleasant.

Anyway, after a trying day with one woman telling me to take her food away because it was “simply disgusting” (and I know for a fact it is not disgusting), I came home to the pleasant surprise that the time had come once again for my family and I to host our ‘Contact the Elderly’ afternoon tea. ‘Contact the Elderly’ is a charity which organises regular afternoon tea parties for those who live with little or no social support. They rely on people to volunteer their homes and their time (and baking skills) to give these lovely people an afternoon that they can truly enjoy and hopefully remember. Last years was a little bit of an ordeal: one of the elderly ladies was very difficult and snappy and had me running up and down the stairs until I had made just the right-strength cup of tea for her. So this year, I wasn’t looking forward to it all that much, however it was lovely.

I had made my favourite Lemon Polenta Cake which they loved last year and were equally happy to see this year and we also had a plentiful supply of sausage rolls, eclairs and cucumber sandwiches. The elderly chatted amongst themselves and we joined in, but what really caught my attention was one of the ladies had brought her daughter along with her and this lady was glamorous and very well dressed. She must have been pushing 70, which we figured out by totting up the information she had told us and the age of her mother and so on, but she could have passed for 45. Anyway, as the afternoon was drawing to a close, she dropped into our conversation the little gem that she was the wife of an Israeli Ambassador and that for six years they had lived in New York in a 10-bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park and not only that, but she was also very dear friends with Kofi Annan! And that they had been discussing the Syria ceasefire and she was desperately hoping he was going to sort it all out!!

I tell you, it is never dull. We didn’t discuss her life for very long, which was a shame because I could have sat there for hours listening to her tales. She lives in Tel-Aviv and said that the climate is perfect, but sometimes she is a little scared because of the dangerous country she is living in. Her son, too, sounds like a high-flyer. He was bought out of Lehman Brothers by an American Company three months before they went bankrupt – she said it still gives her goosebumps to think about – and now lives in Hampstead with pots of cash, a beautiful wife, three children and regular, fabulous holidays.

So, I have learnt to expect the unexpected. I was expecting the afternoon to be quite nice, but nothing special, like last year. However, I mingled with someone who mingles with all the right people in all the right places. Moral of the story? Be inspired and do something for charity – you never know which fascinating people you might meet along the way.