I had luncheon with Annette, my very dear friend from the Fulbright Commission, when I was in London.

Over lunch on Gray’s Inn Road, we had a lovely conversation and she kept saying such classically Annette things that I started writing them down.

We agreed that I should start a new section to the blog called, “WORD GEMS”, for when I hear someone say something so true or right. So I would like to introduce the first posting of WORD GEMS, with the first bits from Annette herself. She will be mortified! But she is an inspiration. And a gem herself.

On coming to visit America: “Duncan says we will go the US when we are old, he says, you must do all of the hard countries now while you are not so old.” She said to me, “maybe by the time you are 35 we will come.”

Her favourite word: “Trillions.” She loves the word. And she says it with regal intonation. “There were literally trillions of people” but it sounds, “There were litchrally chtrillions of people.”

I was off to get my haircut after I saw her. She told me that hairdressers are so close to your head as they cut your hair that they can read into your soul, and that is why you relax and tell them everything.

She told me, “Your body is a house, with windows and pipes and inner workings. You must take care of it.”

Annette’s golden rule: she will ONLY use pink pens.

And last but not least, Annettte said that when I worked at Fulbright, I would come to her office to debrief an event or tell a story or just chat and my question to her was always, “And what did we learn?”

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