The Niggle

Something was bothering me last week – one of those annoying niggles that lurks at the back of your mind without you being able to put your finger on exactly what it is.

It was there at the intimate evening roundtable event with Lord Lamont, during which we discussed the intricate pros & cons of implementing sanctions against Iran (I say ‘we’ – if I’m brutally honest my contribution to the proceedings was primarily to clear my throat and drink a glass of excellent red wine).

Only a couple of days later it reappeared at a breakfast meeting at Asia House, during which I (once again) scoffed an unhealthy number of croissants whilst listening to the very impressive veteran India diplomat, Kishan Rana, discuss India’s relations with it’s neighbours and with the world at large.

Eventually this devilish niggle got so annoying that I decided to turn to a bit of music-making, in the hope that this would drown it out once and for all. But while I was (vainly attempting to) record some cello for my friend Michele Stodart of the Magic Numbers, whose brilliant solo album is out very soon, there it was again, worse than ever (NB. thank the Lord for auto-tune).

But it was while I was having coffee at the Savoy’s lavish Riverside Restaurant with Bill Martin, chairman of the United States Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, and former energy advisor to Reagan and both Bush presidents, that the niggle reached truly epic proportions. (Note that what is so interesting about Bill is that he is a Republican currently advising a Democrat President – he therefore knows exactly how US energy policy will differ depending on who is elected as the new President in November).

And then, on my way home on the bus, I realised at last what had been bothering me all this time. It was this: surely work shouldn’t be this much fun?

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