Friday, 12 August 2011

Beating Retreat

I was at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, this evening for a Beating Retreat in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund (the soldiers' charity), which was held on the lawn at the garden front of the Castle, beside the Rose Garden.

There was an assortment of colonels and other ranks wearing mess dress; while the rest of us wore dinner jackets. The ladies wore evening gowns. Gone are the days when there'd have been a general or two, GOC, etc. As far as I am aware the highest ranking officer in Ulster is a brigadier.

The buffet, consisting of sandwiches, cocktail sausages, sausage-rolls and what-not, was served on a table in the State Dining-Room, I think. Timothy Belmont drank one glass of orange juice.

It was here that my good pal David Anderson MVO MBE introduced me to a few of the guests including Lord and Lady Brookeborough; the Minister of State, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP; Jim McDonald CBE LVO KCSG GCHS JP DL  and many others. 

I also met the Minister of State's private secretary and, of course, sang the praises of Lord Belmont's blog!

In the Throne Room afterwards I met Janet Williamson MA, Principal of RBAI (inst), a lovely person indeed.

Miss Williamson was previously Principal of Antrim Grammar School and prior to Antrim GS had been Vice-Principal at Wilson's Boys Grammar School in London; an Oxford Scholar and past pupil of Glenlola Collegiate, Bangor.

David pointed out the main features in the Throne-Room, including the portraits of former Governors of Northern Ireland and an enormous Egyptian rug or carpet.

The military band (a Royal Engineers band, I seem to recall) played for us outside while we sat or stood in an open-sided tent.

All in all, it was a very good evening indeed.


Tony Baker,MBE said...

Patricia Baker, "she who must be obeyed" advised me that you were keen on the chicken wings.
Some information regarding Lissan House may be obtained by me on Friday 19th.

Timothy Belmont said...

I was keen on the lot! The old nose-bag was working overtime. ;-)

Timothy Belmont said...

Didn't see Lord Ballyedmond at the function.