I am trying to decide with some friends what is worse, English weather or English football. The former is improving as I write, but the latter’s problems are terminal, too many “directors of development” and other jargon-packed non-jobs that interfere with the very simple process of developing football. Send them all to Iceland, bring on a dentist, and cut footballers’ salaries by 90 percent, and you just might one day learn to win.
But to far more important things than ghastly football, like a wonderful garden party was given by my friend Richard Northcott that brought back some very pleasant memories. There’s something rejuvenating about running into old girlfriends, despite the wrinkles and the sags. Memory speaks. Richard and I met a long time ago in Paris. I had spotted a beautiful girl at a party the night before and had sent her my Romeo & Juliet letter. The next morning, when I was recovering in the bar of the hotel, a good-looking man walked in holding a piece of paper and asked no one in particular: “Who’s the poet?” I raised my hand and said that it was not meant for him but for a lady. “Yes, she’s my wife.” It was the start of a beautiful friendship. Both Richard and I have a weakness for the weaker sex, so you can guess the rest.
Next on the agenda was a dinner to celebrate the 21st wedding anniversary of Prince and Princess Pavlos of Greece. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were at Hampton Court for the wedding and the platform started to sink on the man-made lake while Lester Lanin’s orchestra played on, just like on the Titanic. Mind you, the hangover, this time, was even worse, but that’s normal. Twenty-one years is no laughing matter as far as the liver is concerned.
The highlight of my London season was, of course, giving a dinner at Hertford Street for my friend Greville Howard and then being taken upstairs by Robin Birley to meet my hero, Nigel Farage. Let’s face it. Nigel is the big winner in all this. UKIP members were called lotsa names, the nicest being fruitcakes, but they’re the ones who forced the vote and who inspired more than 17 million Brits to vote Brexit. We had a very good chat, Lord Howard asking Nigel what we should guard against, having won. That was an easy one. Not following through, a May-like dependence on civil servants (my words) who will water everything down. We then proceeded to smoke nonstop just to piss a few people off.