Andrew Morris


Buckland Club Chairman: 2016 – present

Committee Member: From autumn 1997

Member since spring 1997

Occupation: former teacher, publican, microbrewery owner & vintners’ friend.

Most memorable dinner: The Futurist Dinner – my first dinner as a Sponsor. Somehow members were accidently persuaded to eat soup with their hands.

Most Bucklandish dish consumed: dog stew in North Korea. It would have been wrong to refuse on so many levels.

Last Meal request: a bottle of red wine from one of the many fabulous vineyards around Panzoult (in the Loire Valley), scene of numerous magical family holidays; plus some bread and local goats’ cheese.

Fantasy Sponsor: Tony Hancock would be hilarious. Pie and mash along with bucket loads of brown ale and vodka.

Fantasy Guest: Bob Carolgyes & Spit The Dog. I once sat at a table with him during a dinner at the Birmingham Hippodrome. The evening ended in a riot with Carolgyes leading a singsong that involves everybody dancing around the room.

Unwanted Guest: Jamie Oliver. Pukka, mockney cockney idiot. Telling the nation’s children what to eat – give the kids crisps, turkey twizzlers and blue pop, I say. In fairness, he can cook.

One Cuisine Only: Indian. It has to be. I really don’t think that I would tire of curry …especially for breakfast.

More: insects. I think that this will become pretty commonplace in the years to come. The Buckland Club was a trailblazer when we fed the Archbishop of York locusts at a Biblical Dinner. He was quite unperturbed.

Less: Raki. The only time I recall getting drunk from the legs upwards. The end result resembled Bambi on ice.

Guilty Pleasure: black pudding, pork scratchings or anything else pig related.

Epitaph: He Suffered Fools Gladly.

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Roger Hale


Buckland Club President: 2016 – present

Previously Chairman, and before that, Hon. Secretary.

Club member since 1974, encouraged by the peerless Harlan Walker. I have never regretted accepting his invitation to join this quintessentially eccentric gastronomic society.

Years of foreign travel have afforded me the opportunity to follow the example of Frank Buckland (characterised as “The Man Who Ate the Zoo”), tasting anything deemed edible, irrespective of the number of legs. Most things I have enjoyed.

When not thinking about ‘strange eating’, I paint and draw and occasionally play golf (rarely more than four times a week).

My roots are deep in Europe, its languages and culture.

Culinary highlights: poisonous mushrooms (Gyromitra [Helvella] esculenta) at ‘Sofus’ in Gothenburg; wild trout freshly smoked over olive wood in Lombardy; Raymond Blanc’s essence of tomato soup, served to 200+ at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery; giant sea urchins, on the Pacific coast of Chile; elvers with scrambled egg, cooked by Harlan for 60+ for a Gloucestershire evening at Highnam Court, sans kitchen; and too many of my wife Nina’s wonderful surprises to list here.

Vinous delights: too numerous by far. Difficult to equal a very recent experience – the serendipitous combination of fried eggs, bacon and tomato – a light late-night supper – with a superb bottle, randomly chosen from a wine rack in Zona Hardy’s kitchen, of Château Pichon Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande, 1982; even better when tasted at breakfast the following morning.

Low points: there have been a few, generally memorable. The Buckland Club does not always hit high notes. One for the record: the Russian Dinner, sponsored by Prof. Bob Smith who revealed that our first course, mainly Vodka, taken standing with canapés, was intended to disguise the inedibility of what was to follow and he was right.

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Hazel Riggall


Buckland Club Deputy Chair: 2016 – present

Member since 2003 following an invitation to attend ‘A Dinner for the Day of The Dead’ by Andrew Morris, I have Andrew’s wife  to thank for suggesting I might be interested in this eccentric dining club. It has been a wonderful experience to be part of a dynamic mélange of people with both memorable and challenging dinners.

Committee member since 2005.

Professional background: Registered Dietitian and Hypno-Psychotherapist

Food Interests: Food in Art, Food bank volunteer, cooking for friends

Chefs followed: Claire Hutchings, Yotam Ottolenghi, Tom Shepherd,

Sponsored dinners: A Medicinal menu, Alexis Soyer, Dickens, Elizabeth David, A Foragers menu

Most challenging food eaten: squirrel at ‘Rock and Roll’ Buckland dinner

Most memorable meal:  Domm in Vilnius (sadly now closed) with a head chef who trained at El Bulli

Worst dining experience: China 1984 when buffets and banquet style dining featured noxious overcooked vegetables.

Favourite wines: Amarone and most dessert wines

Fantasy Dinner guests: Sigmund Freud, Elizabeth David, Alice B Toklas

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Tony Tidmarsh


I joined the Buckland Club in 2005, attracted as much by the opportunity to meet amusing fellow members as the chance to dine well. I have never been disappointed.  Buckland dinners are always good fun and conversation is easy, as a discussion of the food will break the ice with a stranger.

Career: I am a qualified chartered accountant, so members can be assured the books should balance, but from an early age have had my own businesses, my penultimate one being TP Activity Toys, which was, from the seventies until 2005, when we sold it, the country’s leading manufacturer of domestic outdoor play equipment.  I still own a business, TFH, designing and manufacturing toys (in a very broad sense) for people with special needs. We sell all over the world.

Culinary Dislikes: I was a very fussy child. I wouldn’t eat most greens, no cheese and certainly no fat. Although I do still avoid fat. I feel it probably has the consistency of a raw slug. anything was unfamiliar I would avoid it.

Gastronomic Awakening: When I was 19, I was doing my National Service in the Malayan jungle and had a good friend, Terence Smith. Terence was a bit older than the rest of us teenage subalterns, he had qualified as a barrister before joining up, and he was much more sophisticated. One evening, when we down in Singapore for a rare 48-hour leave, the two of us went to a restaurant.  We looked at the menu and I turned to the selection of English food at the back.

Terence said, “There are three ways of enjoying food.  There is filling your belly, there is the taste on your tongue and there is the cerebral pleasure of trying something new.  If you can teach yourself the last, your life will be so much more interesting and, by the way, the Chinese are the greatest practitioners of this approach.”

At that moment my gastronomic life was changed and since then I always try to choose a dish I’ve not had before or the one that sounds the most adventurous.

Fashion Sense: I enjoy the opportunity to dress, as we say on the invitations, appropriately.  The attached portrait shows me in a Sergeant Pepper uniform for the Rock and Roll dinner. I felt rather conspicuous as nearly everyone else was in a dinner jacket.


David London


Retired Professor of Medicine, Birmingham University and ex-Registrar, Royal College of Physicians. Ex-Chairman, Athenaeum Wine Committee. Occasional conductor of tutored wine tastings.

Buckland member since sometime in the 70’s. Ex Dinner Secretary. Sponsor of three Buckland dinners, Rossini, Gout and Italian.

Have travelled widely and so exposed to many cuisines. Never eaten anything nasty as I have a moderately conservative taste in food, except once as a guest of the Chinese Health Ministry, had to eat every single part of the duck. And at the memorable Buckland Mongolian Dinner we couldn’t eat the horse as it was found to have cancer but we did have fermented asses milk. Love fish but don’t have it at home as there is severe icthyophobia on the distaff side. So kippers for breakfast at every hotel visited and much fish when dining out.

By contrast, willing to try wines from anywhere, both at commercial and tutored wine tastings and also in country of origin.

Best remembered restaurants – Ducquenoy, Paris and Marcel Brun, Marseilles, the most wonderful bouillabaisse ever and where I discovered the icthyophobia. And Arnolfo nr Poggibonsi isn’t bad.

Crazy about Italy, everything but particularly the food and wine. Barolo, Brunello and Aglianico will stand up to anything around.

Ruth Pearce

Ruth Pearce


Buckland Club Committee Member: 2019 – Present

Member since 2005

Occupation: Associate Professor, Registered Nurse, Moseley pub frequenter.

Most memorable dinners: The Rock ‘n’ Roll dinner, the squirrel bon-bons were awesome although I was less convinced by the chicken meringue pie… One of my best and most surprising meals, due to venue, was in a shopping mall in Hyderabad where we were welcomed with flowers, bindis and hand-washing using warm water from copper jugs poured with aplomb from great heights. The food was served as thali and was quite simply delicious. The waiters returned again and again with so many different dishes to taste we ended up staying there for 3 hours.

Desert Island Meals: a palak gosht with a plain naan and a pint of Cobra or a fillet steak with café du Paris butter, salad paysanne and rosti (circa 1995 La Provencal restaurant in Harborne) with a bottle of southern Rhone, Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre (GSM) blend (usually a Lirac) or as my father called it God’s Special Mixture.

Fantasy Guest: may sound a bit obvious but I would love to have Phoebe Waller-Bridge to dinner. Fleabag seems to be filmed around a perpetual backdrop of food or eating establishments. She has a tendency to sexualize food, which I find really entertaining, and I hear they’re opening pop-up guinea pig cafes in LA. She has impact!

One Cuisine Only: Indian. I’ve had the pleasure of travelling in India and Sri Lanka and have eaten some remarkable food. When I return from any travels, my only thoughts are of when I can have an Indian feast.

More: lab grown food. It’s inevitable we will host a dinner when all the food has been grown in a laboratory.

Guilty Pleasure: a raspberry jam, mature cheddar and smoky bacon crisp sandwich.

Epitaph: I came here without being consulted and left without my consent.

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Dave Travis


Dinner Secretary: From autumn 2018

Member since autumn 2009

Career: I started working in the music business in 1978 as a photographer contributing to NME, Sounds, Melody Maker and later The Face, Smash Hits, Record Mirror and many more.

I accidentally started promoting bands and events in 1980 and I haven’t worked out how to stop yet. I’ve promoted thousands of acts including Blur, Pop Will Eat Itself, Oasis, The Cranberries, Radiohead, The Wonder Stuff, as well as comedians – Marcus Brigstock and Reginald D Hunter.

I also enjoyed broadcasting for BRMB (1986 – 1992) and currently have a bi monthly show on Brum Radio.

Gastronomic Influences: as a child growing up in the 1960s I was subjected to many meals that were wonders of the modern age at the time, such as tinned mince, Kraft cheese slices on toast with pickled onion. The rest of my diet consisting entirely of a combination of chips, bacon and beans; chips, sausage and beans; chips bacon and egg; chips sausage and egg; egg and chips and sausage and beans. I can’t begin to convey the excitement I felt upon the release of Pot Noodles. The only culinary relief was a 3 mile walk across fields to my grandmother’s house, accompanied by my faithful and vicious terrier. We would bag a brace of rabbits on the way for the pot, or I’d stop and try to catch eels as a starter.

After leaving home I finally experienced the freedom to explore the culinary world, although realised pretty soon that my curiosity was limited by an inability to cook, so lived on hot dogs, battered sausage and chips and tinned mince pasta for a further six months. This food based disappointment has prepared me perfectly for my membership of The Buckland Club. As Abraham Lincoln once said :

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.


Christopher Firmstone

Buckland Club member since 1972, when I attended a Brillat-Savarin Dinner and, in spite of liberal quantities of the aperitif ‘Punch Marquise Frappe’, I was still able to savour a meal based on the enthusiasms of this sophisticated French gourmet. Later a Fungus Dinner, where each course featured a different fungus. Our Guest of Honour, an eminent pharmacologist, quipped that he may have been invited to ensure we didn’t poison ourselves. we didn’t – and he was probably right! More recently, a renowned forager took those of us involved in the Forager’s Feast dinner for a walk along the Severn Estuary, barging us this way and that  when we were in danger of trampling on important and delicious edible plants of which we were totally unaware. We have been lucky with our Dinner Secretaries, who write up our meals with accuracy and wit and then – with considerable oratorical skill – read out their observations at the next occasion.
More generally I am interested in the visual arts, design, architecture, travel and wine. For many years I was chairman of the Public Picture Gallery Fund, which supports the purchase of works of art for Birmingham Art Gallery and I remain a trustee. As an architect with my own practice I was responsible for many art and Historical exhibitions in London and elsewhere. and I restored and adapted the Strand Block of Somerset House for the Courtauld Galleries. Some years ago I became a painter and have had a number of solo exhibitions of my work in London. My interest in wine goes right back to my student days and over the past twenty years I have focussed my attention on the red wines of Rioja.