On a Facebook group for people who grew up in our area, a photo appeared of the Ilford Palais. The traditional 1950’s dance hall dazzled its way into the early part of this century before my auntie’s property company turned it into a stunning block of flats with fantastic views spanning Essex and London.
Gill and I would be there every Wednesday night in 1981, tap water with a slice of lemon, red dancing shoes and no coats, as we couldn’t afford the 20 pence cloakroom ticket. We’d walk the two miles home barefoot and shivering, before finishing our homework and collapsing into bed at 2am, rising bright and alert, ready for school.
There was no age ID back then and we could easily pass for 18 at 15. (Now I prefer to knock a few years off…) But we rarely drank alcohol, maybe the odd Malibu and pineapple. As you may know, I now tend to accept the odd glass of rosé at networking events; or, more recently, a nice full-bodied red wine. So it was very exciting to be invited to a wine tasting event this week! I didn’t mix them. Not even sure if different colours count as mixing? I stuck to a decent selection of 38 deep red wines without a sniff of anything sparkly.
The organiser, Ricardo, was the epitome of Portuguese charm and introduced me to some lovely tasting beverages. Rather than a vintner, he considers himself a story-teller, on a mission to give a Portuguese narrative to the world and change people’s perceptions of it, bringing out its diversity and uniqueness. Turns out I was supposed to sip each glass, swirl it around then spit it out. How unladylike. So I just drank…
I’ve since introduced Ricardo to Bill, who organises wine tours around Europe and the UK. I’m sure they can do lovely business together, in some capacity. I met Bill in Covent garden to explain about social media marketing. I’d been recommended by a Twitter friend that I’d met at a networking event in a garden, a couple of years ago. I had rosé that night, and – in another unladylike performance, fell of the decking. But that’s another story. Not a Portuguese one.
Incidentally, I also introduced Bill to Jo Harrison, the very talented lady who formatted my ebook for Amazon and Smashwords. She’s based in France, so this is a very European blog! We met on Twitter too – it’s a fantastic place to build business relationships!! Jo’s recently helped Bill to publish his cookery book. He’s very excited about it, so here it is!
The wine tasting event was paired with an art show in a church crypt, deep below Holborn Circus. The circus, described by Charles Dickens as ‘the finest piece of street architecture in the city,’ is a notorious accident blackspot. You can see why. Six roads converge and none of the pedestrian lights were working, so people were marching about all over the place, dodging the rush hour traffic. I barely managed to make it across the street to the tiny 16th century pub where Elizabeth I danced around the cherry tree and my friend and I drank orange juice. Sometimes, enough is enough.
Back in the Ilford Palais days we also made an annual pilgrimage to Hammersmith to see UB40. So this seemed an obvious choice for today’s song lyrics. (Apologies to those of you who like a weekly challenge!) “I’d have thought that with time, thoughts of you would leave my head. I was wrong, and I find, just one thing makes me forget.”
I’m pleased to say I’ve never had so much wine that I’ve forgotten anything! Don’t forget to book your place at my Social Media for Start-ups session at the City Business Library, if you haven’t already. Or follow me for info on the next one: @WeekendWitch.