Sir Roderick has been spuriously dispatched to the Guards Polo Club. A minor Saudi prince and his retinue have been rustled up to accompany Lady Emily and Sir Roderick and the Chairman has been persuaded that he’s crucial to landing a major Middle Eastern deal.
Meanwhile, back at HQ, important and confidential business is afoot. Sir Roderick turns 64 next month. He’s let it be known that he’ll be retiring at 65 and senior colleagues, ambitious and obsequious in equal measure, are determined to celebrate his 64th birthday in Lucullan style and with it, fire the starting gun for the big prize money Succession Stakes, to be run over the following 12 months.
I feel myself to be a novice in such company and tuck myself away in a corner of the boardroom, allowing far greater men to pontificate about Sir Roderick’s inestimable merit and his preferences on the celebratory front. I’m relieved when an organising committee “emerges” - rather like Conservative Party leaders of an earlier era – and I find that I’m surplus to its requirements. The committee includes the two Ancients who’ve been anachronistically but quite obliviously chuffing cigars throughout the meeting and who, I’m quite certain, have not generated a single sou in fee income since Britain left the revised gold standard in 1931. They are to be buttressed by one or two becoming young men who, after a seemly show of reluctance and modesty, have leapt at the opportunity to ingratiate themselves with Sir Roderick and the bank’s grandees.
As a fearsomely knowledgeable discussion of Grandes Marques and volumes of champagne commences to be poured, I slink back to the fourth floor engine room and generate a bob or two in fee income myself, before heading home to middle class respectability via a couple of pints with Nick. For previous City Dad episodes, see cityam.com.