Lord Ravenscraig was delighted to receive an email from his friend, Professor Denison, asking if he could book the Great Hall at Ravenscraig Castle. The two men had met at university and, though their career paths had diverged, with Lord Ravenscraig going into the legal profession and Professor Denison taking up medicine, they had remained firm friends.
Professor Denison had become a leading expert in cardiac surgery and was planning to give a lecture on the latest developments in heart valve replacement surgery and believed Ravenscraig Castle would be an ideal venue.
“It will be a great honour, all the most eminent men and women in the field of heart surgery will be in the audience” his Lordship enthused to Morag, his head of Hospitality Services. “We must get every detail right. There should be a welcome drink, with canapes, for members of the audience as they arrive. After his lecture there will be a reception, with drinks and a buffet, where people can meet the Professor and ask him questions.”
“I saw him interviewed on television a few weeks ago,” said Morag. “He has certainly had a very impressive career and looks a most distinguished gentleman.”
“He certainly is, but he is also very absent-minded,” chuckled Lord Ravenscraig.
“Oh, come Sir, I don’t think that can be quite true. No-one gets to be a leading specialist in heart surgery through being absent-minded,” said Morag.
“In his profession, no, but in his private life, yes. He’s been known to come to work wearing odd shoes, and once he attended a grand dinner with a pencil stuck behind his ear.”
Morag smiled disbelievingly and hurried off to start checking her files for a top-of-the-range caterer who she would book to provide the refreshments.
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A respectful hush fell over the Great Hall as Professor Denison took his place on the platform. Introduction over, he moved to a table in front of a large screen.
“Today I want to tell you about the latest advances in heart valve replacement surgery,” he told his audience. “In particular I shall concentrate on a new technique which has shown very promising results. I shall demonstrate the procedure on the body of a frog, which I shall dissect in front of you. The process will be filmed and shown on the screen behind me, so you can all follow it.”
Professor Denison took a sterile cloth from his briefcase, spread it over the table, then took out, and opened, a case of dissecting instruments. He then unzipped a cool-bag, turned it upside down and shook it over the cloth. A ham sandwich fell out. The Professor looked bewildered.
“That’s odd,” he mused, “I was sure I’d eaten my lunch.”