Newbury last night – and a pre-dinner talk for members of the Independent Practitioners Group in a local Spanish restaurant. My speakers fee was donated to Bridge2Aid and so I felt as if I was doing some good as I waxed lyrical to a respectful group of senior dentists about how they had better shape up to take advantage of market opportunities in 2008 and beyond. Good to meet my excellent host, Barry Cousins – and to enjoyÂ fun conversation with Mark and Noel from Kendrick Dental – clients in Reading. I was allowed to warble on until 9.00pm – and then dinner began! Well past my bedtime. Vitello al funghiÂ at 10.00pm was welcome but late, no wine because I was drivingÂ – I missed the desserts and set off for London at 10.30pm on a frosty night. How bizarre is the metropolis that, after queueing to get off the M4 (roadworks at 11.30pm), I wound my way through the crazy West End traffic and arrived at the Guoman Tower Hotel after midnight. It’s not Cornwall! Park my car by the Thames and unpack whilst massed crowds of besuited andÂ frocked-up Christmas part-goers stand outside the hotel night-club toÂ add some nicotine to their obviously generous doses of alcohol. The hotel lobby and my lift to the 11th floor are shared with men holding up women who are so drunk that they cannot stand. My check-in eperience was exceptional (this hotel are doing it right) and myÂ friendly and patientÂ exchange withÂ the desk clerk had me upgraded to a very pleasant suite, looking out over the river and Tower Bridge. Its amazing what a smile and some appreciative conversation can achieve with well-trained team members. Off to the City today – all pin-stripes and bonuses – to spend what will undoubtedly be an enjoyable time with the Bow Lane Dental Group.