I am trying to decide with some friends which is worse, English weather or English football. The former is improving as I write, but the latter’s problems are terminal. There are 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 per cent, and you just might one day learn to win.
But on to far more important things than ghastly football, like the wonderful garden party 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, 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 Prince and Princess Pavlos of Greece’s dinner to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were at Hampton Court for the wedding and Lester Lanin’s orchestra played on as the platform started to sink on the man-made lake, just like on the Titanic. Mind you, the hangover this time was even worse, but that’s normal.