David Phillips kindly hosted the pancake party this year (9th Feb ’16) at his flat in Warwick Gardens, near Earl’s Court and Kensington Olympia. Although a very hospitable flat and hosted in an elegant area of West London, for me this was like one of those situations where you drop a piece of toast and it lands butter-side down on the dirty floor. For if we had been to Warwick Gardens the previous February, it would have been within walking distance from my Halls in Kensington Square. And if we had gone to Jenny Willis’s flat in Ealing this February, instead of the previous February, it would have been within walking distance of my address now!
But like most of the other party goers, I emerged from a hole in the ground at Earl’s Court, and made my way to Chez Phillips in the pre-lent drizzle. We had a good gathering of UL members, old and new. Methods were chosen for the fast-approaching peal weekend, and some ringers present were interrogated as to whether they could take some of the vacant ropes. Tom Nagel was, as ever, quietly and competently at the helm for most of the pancake manufacturing. Luke Camden, as he had done last year, brought along some bacon and black pudding. These truly are superb and exciting as pancake toppings — although it’s best to wrap the pancake around them like a pasty. I highly recommend you try it if you haven’t before, and if you’re not a subscriber to Porphyry’s arguments to abstain from animal food.
We had some good chatter, banter, and memories. All too soon the assembled party began to wane. Though the magic pancake machine had been put back in the cupboard for next year, there were still some spare pieces of bacon and black pudding hanging around the place. I picked up a piece of black pudding in my fingers and ate it as if it were a lovely big biscuit. We all thanked David very much, bade him goodnight, and made our way back to Earl’s Court tube station. The Piccadilly Line is always nice at night — the gentle hum of the train that sounds like a canal boat chugging along, the relaxing, cushiony smell inside the carriage, the lovely views of West London, and the voice of the train lady so calm and soothing.
As for peal weekend, we had a peal of Bristol S Major which was the first in the method for David, being requested by him at the Pancake Party. It was fitting, then, that we scored this peal for David, who rang very well, as a thank you for organising a most enjoyable evening.
By Richard Pullin