Occasionally I attend what is called in the City of London a great Event.
These are grand occasions, men in white tie and women in long frocks. Everyone generally looks splendid. My biggest decision is which cufflinks to wear. Tastes range from Silver Union Jack Enamel Cufflinks to more recently where I’ve designed my own cufflinks, picking styles and colours that match my hosts which is only good manners. In fact a former Chancellor of the Exchequer to display questionable manners when he was the only person in the history of the city and Mansion House events who declined to conform to standard dress.
I’m sure he didn’t pass the port either.
Port is a social activity and at these events one is often offered a glass of port. At the better events a decanter of port is left on the table for ease of refills. The only challenge is that not everyone knows the rules. In case you’re in this category, this is a helpful aide-memoire:
1. The decanter of port should not be allowed to rest in front of one person.
2. Once your glass has been filled, it should continue around the table.
3. The port should always be passed to the left.
4. It is considered bad form to ask directly for the port.
5. If one of your neighbours is delaying the port, the code is to say ‘Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?’
6. If your neighbour in unfamiliar with the code and does not know the Bishop of Norwich you should say ‘he’s an awfully nice fellow, but he never remembers to pass the Port.”
That usually does the trick and gets the port moving.