It's Floggers today, the annual lunch for everyone who flogs chemicals in the UK. All the main distributors take tables at the Grosvenor House hotel in London's Park Lane and invite their suppliers, customers and friends for a day long celebration of the selling of chemicals.
I’m very pleased to have a last minute invitation to join the Helm table. ICIS editors are in strong demand. John Baker is invited by CBA, Julia is with Sasol. Five of us are leaving the office to catch the train from Sutton together, and the office is already full of party spirit.
From the balcony of the Great Room of the Grosvenor you can see the 1,500 capacity crowd, lots of them women, milling around the tables. From this vantage point you can spot the women because they are the ones not in dark suits.
We are wise to this, and know that the trick is to wear rainbow colours. What's the point of being there if no-one notices you? Instead we are wearing black, although not John.
After the lunch, and before it too if you have the stamina, the place to be is the Petrochem Carless suite. Only this year it's not a suite, but a "hosted bar". In typically non-PC style, there are "hostesses".
Much later, after the lunch and the post-lunch suites, for which there is a helpful map showing all 15 suites for the truly dedicated, the chemical multitude will be heading for the Audley Arms pub, a few steps away in the heart of Mayfair. It will be freezing, probably raining, and the pavements will be overflowing with the cream of the European chemical industry. Anyway, got to go – train to catch …