In Competition No. 3016 you were invited to submit an extract from the diary of the spouse of a high-profile political figure, living or dead.
It was a neat idea on the part of David Silverman to imagine Calpurnia’s journal in the style of Bridget Jones’s Diary, but hard to match the genius of the original. Also eye-catching, in a patchy entry, were Philip Machin (Diana Mosley) and Alan Millard (Ri Sol-ju).
High fives to the winners below, who are rewarded with £25. Adrian Fry takes £30.
Dear Diary and Dear Donald’s people whose job is to read Diary for Donald, Melania very happy today as every day, not tiniest bit terrified. I love him (this means Donald, Donald’s people) so much. His uniquely oval mouth, blue eyes brim full of egotistical fulfilment, that bigly face topped with hair which only look like gold flavour spun sugar but is absolutely real, no joking. I love his tiny little hands poking and kneading where tiny little hands never should. And above it all, that voice, half wheedle, half bellow, like home-shopping channel voice-over through bullhorn. ‘Fantastic!’ and ‘Amazing!’ it says over and over, speaking of itself, of himself, for ever. Like God, he is everywhere: White House, locker room, television, Ivanka’s place. So I am never really utterly alone, especially when at his side, with no chance (fake news alert!) to plan escape from gilded cage.
The King, alas, is not the most generous of men. It is true that he hath given me some pretty pieces of jewellery, yet I was chagrined to learn of late that they are but paste. Why, even my ladies-in-waiting are richly bedecked with veritable rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. I made so bold as to draw this great disparity to the King’s attention, but his reply was dismissive: ‘Our coffers are empty, Madam, and gold does not grow on trees — unless you count the Autumn leaves.’ He guffawed heartily at his own witticism.
Now, however, I do believe that the King intends to offer me the diamond necklace that I crave, for this morning two gentlemen in his service called on me. ‘Madam,’ they said. ‘We are instructed by His Majesty to take the measurements of thy neck.’ I smiled with delight. Dear, thoughtful Henry!
Today I told Winston millions rely on him, while he relies on me. I support their support. Never has so much been owed by so many to one poor woman. He just laughed.
How glorious! I had his company this evening and we enjoyed dinner together. I told him that this was our finest hour. He just laughed.
I haven’t seen him for days and then he breezes in late this evening. ‘I will have to seek you on the landing grounds, in the trenches, in the streets and on the beaches,’ I said. He just laughed.
At breakfast this morning he was his stubborn self. ‘You never, never, never give in or admit you’re wrong,’ I shouted, to his great amusement. Then he said: ‘You’re my inspiration, Clemmie.’
Inspiration! It would be a wonder if he remembers a single word I say.
B’s not at her brightest when copying the Latin. Her latest slogan for getting shot of the invaders is REXIT MEANS REXIT. I suspect Suetonius won’t be impressed by that. What’s wrong, I suggested, in a tactical retreat to the Fens, a bit of a punt on the Broads, retire to Cromer sort of thing. The people have spoken, said B, returning to her investigation of the latest Mona fashions. Apparently they’re wearing transverse-slash necklines, and carrying badger handbags. Whatever you like, I told her, it’s your chariot. Second husbands must know their place. She went off in the afternoon and razed St Alban’s: to impress the faithful and appease the Trinovantes (their leader, Mogga, is getting pretty uppity). What about a new slogan? I suggested: say, Strong as a stable. Or, woad and see. She gave me that taut smile. The tribal powwow this autumn will be another bloodbath.
I’ve never liked March — the scaly tail of winter — but this year I’ll be especially glad to get past the Ides at least. The atmosphere here is febrile, menacing even. Julius says I’m imagining things, of course. And now that he’s officially dictator for life he’s even more the great Ego Sum, and thinks he’s invulnerable. Veni, vidi, vici is his answer to everything. When I murmur something about hubris he tells me not to spout Greek at him. ‘Greek is for the schoolroom. And I’m certainly not going to feature in anyone’s so-called tragedy.’
He’s always been brilliantly successful at facing down opposition but I’m afraid he’s not as good at realising what’s going on behind his back. A soothsayer once said he was born by the knife to die by the knife. But she was probably just another feeble-minded Greek. Pray Mars.
… John’s started behaving rather strangely. Pressure of the job, naturally, but certain tongues have been wagging re his ‘controversial’ replacement of G.H. as Foreign Sec. Sour grapes will flourish in any vineyard, especially SW1. But PM does have her all-seeing Grantham eye on him so could be he’s heading for higher things: Tarzan and Hurdy-Gurdy need to look to their ‘Laurels’. On the subject of slapstick comedians, J’s been invited on to the MCC Select ion Committee, viz. middle-aged codgers with lairy schoolboy ties, contriving desperate puns involving leg glances, short slips, bowling a maiden over, &c. Standards not what they were — ruffians and pop stars get in nowadays…where will it end, women in the Long Room? Thomas Lord knows…
J v late home — again; claims some of them went on to an Indian restaurant, wouldn’t say which. Most odd: he never used to fancy after-hours Curries…
No 3019: officially amazing
To mark the recent arrival in our house of the latest Guinness World Records, I am going to repeat a challenge set several decades ago and invite you to submit a limerick describing a feat worthy of inclusion in that great publication. Please email up to five entries each to email@example.com by midday on 4 October.