When I haven’t blogged for a week there are inevitably too many subjects queued for take-off for me to confine myself to a single theme. I’ll begin with the most recent: custard pies. Aside from the fact that Rupert Murdoch’s attacker made the police look like plonkers, wasn’t there something sublimely English about the choice of weapon? It could have been a gun or a knife. But it was a custard pie.
Which leads me down two short cul-de-sacs. First, the best way to make a custard pie is with glycerine and shaving foam. It doesn’t sting the eyes and it keeps for several hours. Thought you’d like to know. The other spur line leads to the story of how I infiltrated the Houses of Parliament. Yes, little moi!
I was sent by a magazine to interview Edwina Currie at the House of Commons. It was a good many years ago but certainly since the 1979 bomb that killed Airey Neave so I expected to run the gauntlet of some serious security searches. But what happened was, my taxi drew up at a checkpoint, I waggled a piece of paper, the barrier rose, we drove on and I was decanted into the Palace of Westminster through an unmanned door. I wandered lonely as a… well, a lost hack. Think of the damage I could have done. I mean, over and above the always dangerous act of supplying Mrs Currie with the oxygen of publicity.
The other story that caught my eye this week was the jailing of Charlie Gilmour. He’s already had all his Mum’s journalist pals pleading his cause in the broadsheets but I would just say this: is it really possible that a second year Cambridge history student didn’t know either the identity of the monument he was swinging from or the significance of the Cenotaph? We could have done without the scarred-psyche, absent father defence too. The boy was stupid, easily led, and perhaps astonishingly ignorant. I’m not convinced prison was a fitting punishment, however. A year scrubbing war graves sounds about right to me.
And yes, I had a lovely time in Harrogate, thank you for asking. Harrogate is so gentle and elegant it would be hard not to. Just one complaint. I think Betty’s Tea Rooms should cease and desist making things like Parmesan biscotti and concentrate on reintroducing nice smiley waitresses. The exasperated teenager who wiped a damp rag over our table definitely failed Charm School.