A Blowers-by-Blowers account
Maybe the friendliest event of its type I’ve attended in many years, the 10th VCT & EIS Investor Forum at the Leonardo Royal Hotel, Tower Bridge, brought together the movers, the shakers, the hopefuls and the mentors and shuffled them together for a varied and satisfying day.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that Daniel Rodwell, Managing Partner at GrowthInvest, had 3 paper rounds as a youngster and paid other kids to make the deliveries.
I wasn’t alone in approaching the address by Rory Stewart, Independent candidate for Mayor of London, with a healthy helping of cynicism and ending up being surprised and impressed.
There were debates, presentations, keynote speeches and The Advisor School; there was The Discovery Shop featuring innovative food and drink brands, there was the P2P Lending Zone, and there was a roomful of intriguing exhibitors, from a low-cost, long-haul airline servicing South Asia’s second cities to a charity facilitating income-generating home enterprises in some of the world’s poorest areas.
And then there was Blowers.
Whether you’re into cricket or not, you’ll have heard the legendary commentator’s avuncular ramblings across your TV and radio stations for many years.
It was Henry Blofeld himself who wrapped up the proceedings with 20 minutes of reminiscences, many of which weren’t new to those of us who always have time to listen to anything My Dear Old Thing says, but to hear him deliver them in person was a rare treat.
Leaning on a stick as a result of falling down 21 concrete steps at Sheffield University the previous weekend, he brought the house down as usual.
But afterwards, as he waited for his cab in reception, I was able to tell him an anecdote about himself that he’d never heard before.
Back in 1986 I was lucky enough to be in Antigua to see the 5th and final Test of David Gower’s humbling “blackwash” series. Having watched Viv Richards score the (then) fastest ever Test century in 56 balls, the final tea interval arrived, prior to England’s final batting session of a gruelling tour.
Strolling round the ground, I bumped into Blowers and the Times cricket correspondent John Woodcock and offered to buy them a drink. Blowers demurred, “never on duty, my dear old thing…”, but I persuaded him. Then we had another.
As the bell went for the final session, we drank up and shook hands, with Blowers promising to be “professional to my fingertips, just you listen…”
I got back to my seat, plugged in my headphones and sat back to watch and listen. A wicket soon fell. A burly figure in white trotted down the pavilion steps and out into the middle, epically described by Blowers as “And the next Gatting is Batsman…”
When I told this tale, Blowers looked at me and said “Did I really say ‘The next Gatting is Batsman’?”
He guffawed, shook my hand and said “So nice to see you again!”
A classy end to a classy day.