The fashionable London restaurant Sketch was the setting this week for a charity backgammon and poker tournament, raising money for the One to One children’s fund. The venue could not have enough superlatives applied to it to describe the Baroque, Rococo, and occasionally surreal, decoration. High ceilings with weird and wonderful lights hanging down, chairs with naked women drawn on the back, and white leather sofas added to the look. Dangling ropes of crystal beads, slivers of mirror and glossy tiles everywhere reflected the glasses of Champagne served. The atmosphere, surprisingly, was relaxed and jovial. There was an edge of competitiveness in the backgammon tournament, certainly (I didn’t even dare to go into the poker room, where the heat was palpable from two floors down), but players of all abilities were allowed to have a go.
Fortified by the mini hamburgers, sushi, slivers of beef with a spoonful of mash and other dinky delectables, we played, chatted and rolled our die with fervour. If we lost at the table, we at least had a chance of winning at the auction. More than £100,000 was raised, so it was the children who ultimately won, and no one was gammoned.