Friends in High Places
On Wednesday I attended the Ernst Young Annual Summer Party for Non Executive Director as a plus 1, hence the title ‘friends in high places’. I was the invited guest of my wonderful friend who sits on the board of two companies.
The event was held at the Houses of Parliament, a venue that has been on my bucket list to visit as a tourist and I never thought that I would walk through the doors as an invited guest to a function there.
I started my escape by arriving early and I acted like a tourist. Something I suggest you should try, be a tourist in your home town, it is such fun. I have driven past Big Ben and Parliament Square for years but on Wednesday, I walked and took photos as I had when I first arrived in the UK. Seeing the architecture through fresh eyes was refreshing.
I popped into the House of Parliament shop a great place for unusual tourist gifts and mementos, I bought pens and pencils for my family and a little thank you gift for my friend.
Walking up to 10 Downing Street, I got excited to see a car entering albeit it being empty. I took the usual tourist photos. London is a beautiful city.
Arriving at the Houses of Parliament we went through airport style security, which is understandable and walked through the Great Hall. The space and architecture is inspiring, on our tour later we learnt that the roof is held up by hammer beams, not one nail is holding up the 660 ton roof. We snaked through the corridors, unfortunately photos were only allowed in the function room and the Great Hall but the stain glass windows, gilding and mosaics were beautiful.
My friend primed me to say the venue we were heading to was like a 1970 annex used for weddings, which I thought was harsh until we entered. That it was, bar the amazing view being right on the river and knowing you were in the Houses of Parliment, made it feel special.
We had a selection of two cold canapes and four hot canapes which ranged from salmon and beetroots to spring rolls and satay chicken.
We broke off into groups of 20 and toured the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Much smaller than you would expect but the craftsmanship within each House is something to see, as are the corridors leading to each House and every corner is seeped in history.
Our guide quoted Winston Churchill who said ‘We shape our buildings but our building shape us’. I thought that was a wonderfully apt quote for the purpose of the building.
I met the most amazing warm and friendly people both from EY and their invited guests. Spending time and making a lifelong memory with my friend was priceless, and I feel very lucky to have friends in high places.
Add the Houses of Parliament to your list to take your family and friends to, if they are visiting from abroad or if you visit the UK, I would highly recommend seeing and hearing the history that surrounds the building.