of Dr Diana Owen OBE, Director-General of ROSL.
I always try to start my day with at least ten minutes of meditation even if that means getting up early before I head for my train. The journey is a great time to deal with emails and prepare for the day or week ahead and catch up on the news. Emails are such an easy way to communicate and come in from members, branch secretaries and Chairs of our committees, Commonwealth organisations, my senior team colleagues and Central Council members, anyone wanting to contact ROSL about anything and everything. Keeping on top of emails can be time-consuming.
Once I arrive at Over-Seas House, I make my way to my splendid office overlooking Green Park, a view that is a good reminder of how lucky I am. There are often members and others waiting to catch me or there are meetings to prepare for and attend. I always check the lighting in the Drawing Room and Mountbatten Room as I go by, to ensure that we aren’t wasting energy by having every light on even on a sunny day.
If my diary allows, I take a walk around the clubhouse to see what’s happening, to catch up with colleagues and to say hello to members and their guests. In the summer months it is always tempting to linger in the garden or on the bar terrace, my two favourite places. I enjoy the days when Jane Atwell, our garden advisor, comes in and I can spend some time with her looking at how the garden is developing and talking about future planting plans. Our large London plane tree is a worry and a treasure and we now have nesting boxes on it (and a foil balloon stuck in its branches). A fox has been spotted in the lavender bed and the cascade fountain attracts many birds, especially when it is hot.
In the afternoon, I might catch up on the building works going on in the clubhouse, on the events programme or attend a meeting of one of our committees or a Commonwealth forum, sometimes at Marlborough House nearby. I try to keep 'my door open’ so that members can call in to see me if they wish. Much of my time is spent promoting ROSL and the work of the ROSL Trust to non-members, potential corporate, Commonwealth, cultural and charity partners and others who we might wish to work with in the future. One of the great joys of this role is meeting the young people involved in our Annual Music Competition or the Caine Prize writers or being Chair of the Junior Panel of Judges for the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay competition.
The meetings of our Central Council and also some committees now take place in the late afternoon or early evening to enable working members to attend. I often also have the pleasure of attending our concerts, exhibition openings and other events or a gathering of my peers at one of the other London clubs, some of which don’t normally admit women. The world of St James and Mayfair clubs and businesses is close-knit and many have worked in it for decades. Their stories are fascinating and the events I attend unmissable: I never would’ve thought that I would be listening to carols sung by the Chelsea Pensioners in the Ritz Club casino as the roulette and blackjack tables continued to play. It’s a very varied role and I generally listen to a ‘sleep story’ to switch off at the end of the day – or read the ROSL Bye Laws!