July 09, 2016

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

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 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.

“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.

Yes, it’s great to be back in London, and I had a bonus laugh at Christina Estrada’s bizarre claim that she’s high-society. I knew la Estrada some twenty years ago, before she married a rich camel driver from that sandy hellhole Saudi Arabia. He emphasized his vulgarity by tracing his family tree in camels on the outside of his chalet in Gstaad. I kid you not. In the court proceedings, where Christina is claiming an exorbitant amount—one I hope she gets—she also made the extraordinary claim that she’s an opera buff. Asked to name an opera besides La Traviata by the camel driver’s mouthpiece, Estrada named The Nutcracker. Oh, well, it could have been worse—she could have said Tom & Jerry.

The other faux pas Christina made was to say she was high-society because she hung out with Prince Andrew! Ouch! She would have been better off claiming friendship with the convicted child-molesting buddy of Andrew, that nice Epstein fellow. Mind you, a girl needs to be paid off for having married a camel driver who has his family tree painted outside his chalet to impress the cows.

Just before I sat down to write this, I went out from my hotel in Cadogan Gardens and watched a mother with two tiny children in her car trying to back into a parking space. She had her taillights flashing and was doing a good job until a black BMW with two men up front poked its nose in her space, making it impossible for her to fit in. I watched in fascination while one of the men got out and walked toward Peter Jones. The driver sat there blocking the woman. He was of Pakistani or Bangladeshi appearance. After about a minute the lady got out and asked him what he was doing. “I have two small children, for God’s sake…” He waved her away and just sat there. So I had to get involved. I told him that I saw the whole thing, that he had come in long after she had begun to back into the parking space, and that just because she was a woman alone he had no right to the space. “Pull that crap where you come from, not here.” That did it. The bullyboy anarchists trying to intimidate the politicians to reverse the Brexit vote had nothing on the driver who saw a woman alone and decided to take her parking space. He raved, screamed, and threatened, but never got out of the car. The poor woman thanked me and wanted to leave, but I assured her the man had a lot in common with Blair, Mandelson and Juncker: all talk, no action.

Sure enough, he waited for his buddy and left after more threats. I was laughing and the lady was happy and only one of the tots in the back cried. Next week I will tell you about a handful of hard men.


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