“BREAKFAST WITH HENRY.” ( From across the Breakfast Table)

Saturday Column - Number 44 - 2009.

Daniel knelt by my side at the table, a knife in his hand; with one decisive blow… he sliced the head off my boiled egg.

” At last!… perfection… Mr Rosengard!”

He said. “Yellow runny… white hard.”

“Well done Daniel.” I said to the young waiter. We had been having a slight problem with the boiled eggs this morning.

I have been having two…sometimes three breakfast meetings a day at Claridge’s for almost thirty years.

“Just walk into the foyer… and look for someone who looks like he’s had three or four hundred breakfasts… that’s me.” I tell my guests.

I finished my egg, and glanced up from The Times, just in time to see Henry Kissinger about to sit down at my table.

This was quite a surprise, as I was expecting Irving Feingold, a dentist from Stanmore.

“Dr Kissinger… how nice to see you!” I said.

Instantly I remembered the two previous encounters that we’d had at Claridge’s…

The first time was in the lobby 25 years earlier.

He had his arm in a plaster cast. “Welcome to London Dr Kissinger.” I said.

“An assassination attempt,?” I asked.

“No,” he said.

” I slipped on a rug in Sacramento.”

The second occasion was in January 1991; I was at my breakfast table, when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

I put down my forkful of fried eggs eggs and looked round.

At the next table was Dr Kissinger.

He was breakfasting with The Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd.

” Douglas and I were just discussing Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait…

… what do you think we should do?” He asked.

As a life insurance salesman, I wasn’t often asked about my views on International Affairs at breakfast, …but I told him anyway.

…And two weeks later the First Gulf War began.

Not a lot of people know about my role in starting it.

They don’t call it ‘The Power Breakfast’ for nothing.

I looked up to see Dr Kissinger still frozen in mid descent; he looked at me over the top of his heavy black framed glasses…

“Wrong table.” He said.

He headed off towards a table in the far corner.

People ask me if I want to retire.

“Never!” I reply.

“I want to drop dead over breakfast… age 98… selling a life insurance policy.

Forget heaven… when I die… I want to go to Claridge’s.”



Peter Rosengard

May 2009.