David Asher has held mastery over the arts and antiques advertising department at Country Life for the past 28 years, but this week, he’s retiring to Wiltshire. A shudder will go through the restaurants of London, for David is a man who not so much lunches as luncheons in style. Last week, the owner of one particular favoured haunt close to the Grosvenor House Fair looked close to tears when he heard the news.

Once, there was a wild rumour that someone had spent more on expenses than David, but what are Simpson’s and Wilton’s designed for if not to put an upstart in his place? A visit to his office/cellar was, on the occasion he was there, one of the most delightful of experiences.

But, David’s real trick was that he was simply brilliant at his job. No single department has been consistently more successful than the one he ran with his cohort Jonathan Hearn, who now takes over the napkins. It may be old-fashioned to use charm, lobster and burgundy to open a client’s wallet, but nobody who came under David’s spell ever got a free lunch. All his friends and colleagues wish him a wonderful retirement.