Reef Television, the producers of numerous TV shows including Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, held a belated Christmas party last weekend aboard the RS Hispaniola anchored on The Thames in London.
The party was nautical-themed fancy dress, so my wife and I dressed as a French sailor and his date.
It was also Mrs Cameron’s birthday last weekend, so we stayed for two nights in the Royal Horse Guards Hotel, situated directly opposite the ship.
The hotel, built in the 1890s and designed as a French chateau, is now Grade 1 listed. Taken over by the Ministry of Defence during WWII, it was also occupied by MI5 and MI6.
Once aboard the Hispaniola, the party was in full swing and there were some great costumes vying to win first prize of an iPad.
It was a great opportunity to catch up with some of the show’s other antiques experts and compare notes about recent appearances.
Four of my former opponents were in attendance – Eric Knowles, Jonty Hearnden, Mark Franks and Kate Bliss – plus some potential future sparring partners such as Paul Hayes and Mark Stacey.
Standing by the bar, I noticed a familiar Portsmouth lass dressed as a parrot and so, mustering all my Cameron charm, I walked over and asked her: ‘Who’s a pretty girl then?’
Well aware Mrs Cameron would have me hung, drawn and quartered for such extra-marital insubordination, I had informed her it was TV presenter Amanda Lamb.
Now presenting Channel 4 shows You Deserve This House and Selling Houses With Amanda Lamb, she and I have a few things in common, apart from growing up on Portsmouth council estates.
Her cameraman husband Sean and I worked together on a recent series and, both having relatives affected by cystic fibrosis, we are patrons of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Amanda and I had met once previously at Bernie Nolan’s 50th birthday party, the year before she tragically succumbed to breast cancer in 2013.
Suffice to say I didn’t win the iPad for best costume, or any prizes for my chat-up lines. But I am now suitably recovered from my last series 5-0 defeat to Kate Bliss and ready to engage in some antiques swashbuckling on the next series!
Antiques expert John appears on shows including Cash In The Attic and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and also runs Nesbits auction house in Southsea. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9229 5568.