I am at The Bollo. The England v Kenya cricket game is about to begin. I have a glass of Rioja to my right, Silk Cut to my left and I have just eaten a fiery Penne Arrabiata. All is, thus, good with my simple world today. Although I am not a woman, I can multi-task … OK … multi may be taking it too far… but I can drink Rioja, watch the cricket, smoke and blog at the same time.
Last Wednesday I attended a ‘Quiz Nite’ at The Bollo. Our team has racked up two wins, two second places, won five free drinks and two bottles of champagne. It may not be riches beyond the dreams of a City law partner or a coughing Major – but it is a way of ‘monetising a bit of leisure time’!
We were one down – a composer who is particularly useful on music and films. Our team usually has six members. I knew we were doomed when my friend Codebreaker walked in. Well…he launched himself in…announced that he had been ‘ginned’ and crashed down into the seat. Codebreaker is a stout fellow in many senses of the word – at 6′ 3″ and 22 stone he is a force to be reckoned with. He had been to watch his nephew play rugby for University College Hospital. I won’t bore you with the solecism he committed but, he had to pay a forfeit and drink 8 measures of gin in one go. Medical students are renowned for their drinking. Codebreaker had already consumed 6 pints of beer. Pretending to be sober on the way back to West London (his sober wife, Derry, driving) he was dropped off at The Bollo. Derry arrived on foot, after parking their car, about ten minutes later. Codebreaker was seriously over refreshed, blurted out the answers loud enough for competing teams to hear, ignored the increasingly ‘dark looks’ from his wife as he went from Defcon 1 to Defcon 5, drank several more beers and amused me greatly. I refused to let him see our answer sheet eventually – because when I did, he repeated the answer in a loud voice – to the delight of competing teams who amended their answer sheets accordingly. A command performance. He had a hangover the next day. I have no information on any other injuries, self inflicted or otherwise, which may have arisen on the way home – nor do I have any information on the views expressed by his wife on his one man show at The Bollo that evening. Codebreaker will not be appearing at The London Palladium. I do hope, however, that he will reprise his show soon. Rating: 4/5
The mania for apologising. While I can understand the need for people to apologise for their behaviour – I got caught up in a conversation, last night, about The Abolition of Slavery anniversary. The range of views expressed on the breast beaters, tree huggers, politicians on the make and sundry others who have been apologising for Britain’s involvement in the slave trade 200 years ago was, to say the least, broad based and robust.
I’m sorry – but… I have come to the view that I cannot be held responsible for the acts of others or the government of my country before I was born. I do not hold young Germans responsible for the acts of their fuhrerfathers. Do we ask the Normans to apologise for invading our country in 1066?
(My ancestor, Ricard de Charon, was one such knight who got on the cross- La Manche ferry all those years ago, and is pictured in the Bayeux Tapestry, on horseback, with a glass of wine in his right hand, a duck in his left hand – and… frankly, a good thing he did… the locals were descending into anarchy; wearing wode, driving far too fast in chariots, bringing untaxed wines and beers over from the continent in absurd quantities, not repairing the central heating put in by the Romans (as required by covenants of repair and maintenance in their residential leases) AND… they had no idea where all those tax returns were …Christ… one of their Kings couldn’t even bake a cake properly… Yes… the Normans were a good influence.)
Nor will I apologise for Julius Charon, who invaded Britain in 40 AD, after misunderstanding Caligula’s instructions, and spent many happy months smoking spliffs in Brighton, with his mate Cameronius of the Etonii, before trying to drill the locals and losing their ‘hearts and minds’. Nor will I apologise for the appalling quality of his Latin in his book “Absit invidia – no offence intended”. I have written about this before.
What I will do is this: remember history and hope that we don’t make the same mistakes, or engage in unlawful and oppressive acts, in this country or overseas, in the future. Interesting that Blair finds it easy to apologise for Britain’s acts 200 years ago – but does not seem able to apologise for … [fill in'act' to suit your political or emotional persuasion]
Unfortunately… rain has delayed play in the England v Kenya match. Australia are 84-o against South Africa. I am going to have another glass of Rioja…
UPDATE 15.30 hrs… GMT. Kenya won the toss and elected to Bat. Puzzling….. given the rain on the ground. I see a glass of Rioja coming towards me as I type…. excellent.