Style | Diary of a Somebody

Ben Elliot

A squash victory to savour, and an evening to remember

Ben Elliot

September 17 2010
Ben Elliot

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

I felt confident that I would beat Matthew today at squash as he arrived late and I was a bit frazzled. Thank God I did, as it’s not much fun losing and having that hang over one throughout the day. I think everyone thinks we are insane to play early in the morning – and no one else seems to – but we have just got into this habit.

Today was a wonderful day and very exciting. I met with Charles Oak, one of the greatest hoteliers in the UK, to hear his vision for Heckfield Park, opening in 2012, a 450-acre estate in Hampshire. I introduced him to my cousin, the food expert Tom Parker Bowles, who knows more about rare breeds, walled garden vegetables and eating than anyone I know. Tom is extraordinary –he is happiest eating from food stalls in downtown Bangkok, where he had just arrived from, or fishing from his mother’s garden pond aggressive, American crayfish who, apparently, have become the vermin of Britain’s waterways.

Last night I was privileged to attend the second Earth Awards, located in the Prince of Wales’ Garden Party to Make a Difference in the gardens of Marlbrough House and Clarence House. A great crowd, supported by the King of Malaysia, and the Financial Times, listened to David de Rothschild, just back from a four-month journey across the Pacific Ocean on a boat made only of 15,000 plastic bottles, introduce the six category winners. Very inspiring indeed what these environmental entrepreneurs are doing, as is the commitment of the founder of the awards, Nicole Yap.

I was lucky to be invited to the dinner at Spencer House afterwards and it was brilliant to hear such positivity from around the world to support so many viable initiatives. If you have not visited the gardens, try and go this weekend: the weather is meant to be fair, and it will give lots of ideas.

I am off to play cricket in Gloucestershire where once again I will think, ridiculously, that I could have been a world-class professional. My girlfriend, however, likens me to the fading baseball professional, Kenny Powers, of the HBO series Eastbound and Down, whose sporting glory days are a thing of the distant past.

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