4.166 meeting, mystery, meeting


Took a short walk in the morning. I had agreed to let marketing show my unit at 10:15 to a prospective buyer. An odd sort of a guy looked it over. I kind of doubt he will buy in.

At 10:45 it was time for the writers meeting. The cue this week was “my brush with celebrity” and it got a variety of responses. Among us we have people who have met Yassir Arafat, Joan Baez, and others. I’ll put my bit at the end.

According to my Google Calendar, at 2:30 I was to “setup HSG”. I cannot remember what HSG was supposed to mean. Anyway I didn’t set it up, so I hope it wasn’t important.

At 4pm it was Rhonda’s open meeting, with the subject the changes they have been making to the dining services. Gloria, the manager — who has been here 20 years, starting as a server under Sodexo — and Chef Mark told about the new software they have with difficulty been installing. The goal is to make full nutritional info available to us, but that meant changing out the software they had been using to plan meals. The main problem is that the software vendor loads the system with their recipes, but those aren’t the menus that Chef Mark wants to present, so they have to load it with other recipes, and that apparently takes a lot of time and trouble.

They also talked about the substitutions they make to standard menus as a matter of policy, for example replacing panko crumbs used for breading with gluten-free panko, or changing out margarine for either real butter or oil. And they showed menus from other local residences, like the V and the Terraces, showing that those places don’t have the same range or choice or the vegan option, or the detailed nutrition info, that we have.

Culling of the Troopers 1977

From 1975 to 1978 Marian and I lived in London, working for IBM weekdays and exploring London, and England generally, on weekends.

One weekend we went downtown early from our house in the suburb of Twickenham, hoping to see the annual Trooping of the Colours. (We just couldn’t stop ourselves from turning it into the Spoonerism, Culling of the Troopers.) It’s a ceremony held to celebrate the birthday of the monarch. The Queen would get to sit on her horse and watch the Horse Guards perform various evolutions while the band played.

We found our way to Horse Guards Parade quite early. There was nobody about, but there were bleachers set up, and since no-one told us not to, we sat in them. Those were innocent days; I’m sure security would be much tighter now.
People gathered to sit in the bleachers. We kept expecting someone to ask for our tickets, but no-one every did. A passing shower caused lots of brollys to pop up. Eventually band music started and the Guards showed up and Her Majesty arrived.

The Guards trotted back and forth. I believe the Queen gave them a little salute with her white-gloved hand at some point. The band played. It wasn’t very interesting, so I looked around and took a couple of pictures of the other people in the bleachers.

Later, when we got the slides back from Kodak, we worked out who we had been sharing the bleachers with that day. Fourth head from the left, gray hair and glasses? That’s Prime Minister of England James Callaghan. Next to him, Kenneth Kaunda, President of Zambia. Lady with blue hat, don’t know, perhaps Mrs. Kaunda? The lady in the pillbox hat is Mrs. Callaghan. Next to her, his excellency Hastings Banda, President of Malawi.

And not far away, Pierre Trudeau, PM of Canada. Trudeau was the only one we recognized at the actual moment. But that’s four Heads of State all within 50 yards of us that day.

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