Friday, June 16, 2006

Trinidad and Tobago / Blair & Brown

Trinidad and Tobago.

Lewes Garret Last night as I was travelling down from Leamington, I wrote this: 6.56pm. Thank God! Praise the Lord! England have finally scored.

I have been trying to monitor their progress on my mobile telephone.There is a running commentary of sorts running on the BBC website which I can access in a very limited form.

England have not been playing well. I am glad I have not watching the game. I dropped into the bookies at Victoria Station where a crowd had gathered to watch it on their little telly. I could not even see the screen.

‘What is the score?’ I asked an unshaven gentleman.

‘Nil, nil,’ he grunted almost inaudibly.

‘Pardon,’ I said.

‘NIL, NIL,’ he shouted as if it was my fault.

I slunk off in abject silence.

Reading the commentary on my mobile telephone – surely the strangest way to experience a football match – I could tell the commentator was increasingly frustrated by England’s succession of blown chances.

They are going to have to try much harder than this if they are to beat Brazil (or Argentina, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic or Germany).

The day has been tricky. A people problem which could potentially become a bit awkward. Investors in People have really put the cat among the pigeons.

I also had a row with the people at AXA PPP Healthcare who are now, it seems to me, welching on their agreement to back for my back treatment.

Typical insurers, they are delightful until you try to claim. I have recommended that we sack them.

The journey down seems interminable. On the Warwick – London Marylebone leg I was in a carriage air-conditioned to fridge temperatures. I eventually moved into a carriage occupied by two elderly Australian couples.

‘It’s been two-and-a-half hours already,’ said an old dear, as we were crawling toward Marylebone at half-a-mile per hour.

The ancient Aussie bloke in the other couple said: ‘A long way to come for a cheese and tomato sandwich!’

Today (Friday): 8am Lewes Garret. It is beautiful outside. Absolutely glorious. I slept well but my back is murder again. What cads the insurance people are for trying to welch on our arrangement!

I am going to London today to meet a magazine editor. There will also be plenty of celebration in our household later to mark the end of the GCSE exams.

Moreover, I have received two emails – one from my dear friend Dominic Baster – and the other from fellow blogger Olivia of Olivia's London Dispatches who has kindly said she will link to my site from hers.

Blair & Brown (Flashback to Friday, 19 May 2006)

Lewes Garret 10.38pm. Bed. Noisily stormy outside. What kind of weather is this for mid-May? It could be deepest January. I am worried because I am not writing poetry at any great rate.

Stayed sober again tonight. Even though wine was out, I only had a couple of tiny glasses. I have come across very few of the people Alan Clark mentions in his diaries – we are from different generations.

However, he did mention drinking in the Ritz with 'Franko' – Frank Johnson who was, I recall Deputy Editor of the Sunday Telegraph when I started working there in 1995.

I was such an insignificant journalist that the great Frank Johnson would not have been aware of my existence, but my then drinking mate, the paper's defence correspondent, quaffed with him and quipped: 'Franky Johnson – Cockney w*****'.

This was a joke I never understood, although I would smile to humour him. Clark writes that Franko was 'clever, his wit and insight so engaging'.

Earlier, I bumped into a political hack mate who lives down the road from me in Lewes. A very decent chap who I have known for yonks. Like me he has reported for the Daily Star and Sunday Telegraph.

Unlike me, he is still in journalism, at the Daily Express. Interestingly, his analysis of the Blair/Brown situation was identical to mine. We agreed Blair was determined to destroy Brown's chances of winning at the next General Election.

Tony Blair secretly wants David Cameron to win!

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