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The British Chamber Evening


The weeks seem already to be whizzing by – Monday heralds Week 6 of the new school year. Around school, it is lovely to see the students who were new at the beginning of the year so completely integrated, chatting as they move from class to lunch with their classmates and friends.

Last Thursday, I made my way into Brussels to an intriguing-sounding event – ‘A Quintessential British Jolly’, organised and hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce. In essence, it was a networking event with many of the big companies, UK and otherwise, represented. The theme and decor were decidedly London-centric, but it was all very light-hearted and welcome given the political backdrop of Brexit-madness. Indeed, the B-word (Brexit and Boris!) swear-boxes on each table were greeted with wry amusement and donations poured in for the CHS charity, an English-speaking, Brussels based group providing help-line and counselling support to people who don’t know who to turn to. The meal included a few traditional British dishes, including fish and chips, Belgian style!

The evening meal was punctuated by short speeches from the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, the chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce and the new British Ambassador, Martin Shearman. It was rather fitting that Mr Shearman pointed out that many of the iconic tourist-loved symbols of London have in fact decidedly European origins and links, such as the bearskin hats so famous outside Buckingham Palace which were originally worn by the French grenadiers. “You can take Britain out of Europe, but you can’t take Europe out of Britain”, so to speak. As we move into October with the Halloween Brexit deadline fast approaching, I really do hope that this continues to be the case.