Would you be British Summer Time? Great, that’s really great. Please take a seat. Sorry I didn’t recognise you… Oh, it happens all the time?… Well, yes. That’s what we’re here to talk about actually.
As you know, the purpose of this meeting is to review your recent performance. The Duke of Wessex normally chairs inconsequential meetings but he’s already hit his public duties target of 3 hours, 15 minutes per year, so it’s me I’m afraid. I know it’s a little early – you’re barely out of your probationary period – but there are causes for concern and I’d like to take this opportunity clarify any issues, provide appropriate support and set some mutually agreeable improvement goals.
So British Summer Time – you didn’t mind if I call you BS for short do you? Good – first I’d like to talk to you about your attendance. You started work at 2am on the 27th March this year…. BS, are you still with me? BS! Please don’t fade away…there’s much to talk about. As I was saying, at of the end of April, you have appeared as a double digit degree for a total of 27 minutes spread over four days. And I’m not talking nineteen degrees or even fifteen BS, no, no, no. I’m talking a-barely-raised-your-head-over-the-horizon/above-the-cloud/through-the-fog, ten.
The major cause for concern, or to be more truthful, dismay, however BS, is your April snowfall production levels. While there was certain misgivings about the Ice Queen missing her winter quota of 43 snow days, meeting these targets is not in your job description. I have already taken the snow chains off my runners with the intention of tiptoeing, waterproof soles au naturale through the daffodils and the emerging bluebells but there have been times when it has felt more naturale to dig out the Christmas cards, put the brussel sprouts onto boil and stuff a turkey. No more snow. It’s April, nearly May. That display last Saturday morning, when I opened the curtains, to see it falling… well, it’s unseasonably disgraceful BS.
Yes, yes, I concede that Brexit may be apportioned some blame (as in all other things at the moment). The unsettled climate has generated loose talk about sun-frayed agreements. But may I take this opportunity BS to remind you of your one permissible cliche and that is”April Showers”. Let me channel my inner Miranda and reiterate …. sshhhh-ouwwww-errrrrrssssss. Not hail or sleet or frost or drumming rain BS, as interesting as they have been as I wait in the confines of my car / house / parking space / gym / supermarket / voluntary abode / pub. Sshhhh-ouwwww-errrrrrsssss BS, the concept of which implies great long periods of non-proliferation.
If I could end on an encouraging note BS, your enthusiasm for producing a variety weather this April, albeit of the wrong class, is such that I am hopeful we might resurrect your fledgling 2016 performance. And I’d like you to start by redirecting your energies. Have you thought about solar? There are many examples of exceptional British Summer Time periods – 1976 for example, 1959 even – which it may be pertinent to heed and in which the sun played a pivotal role. It would grieve me BS to have to demand double BST as was the case during the Second World War, when time was forwarded two hours in advance of GMT to increase productivity and allow workers home before dark. Do you get my non-snow drift BS?
This is after all the year in which the British people (or at least the 68% who think the monarchy is good for the country and/or tourism) will celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday with fluffy sponge, floral bunting and burning beacons. In the circumstances I would strongly suggest you ensure “alternative rain dates” are rendered redundant. Sunny spells BS, sunny spells. And if you can’t manage that, let’s at least work towards mostly dry.
You know I love the London’s Underground. Sure, there’s Big Ben and Big Buck but nothing says London to me like hurtling from Piccadilly to Green Park coveting the faux velvet seat on which an able bodied sixteen year old slouches. Sad news then. Phil Sayer reassuringly reminding us to “Mind the Gap” and “Stand clear of the closing doors” has died. Gone but not forgotten, RIP Soundtrack of the Tube.
So what’s happening in Foxtwist’s neck of the woods? Locals flock to the fish and chip van which pulls up at the crossroads every Friday serving crispy haddock and steamy chips. New ropes lace the hop poles ready and steady for the climbing crop. Squares of golden rape dazzle the eye, lambs grow fatter and less flighty and the bluebells in the dells behind Foxtwist ring ding dong, ding dong.
Your Brexit Fix: Vote Leave which you may remember was in a three way battle to be anointed the official out campaign party has won. They can stop panting now; the 2,000 branded Vote Leave condoms bearing the warning, “It’s riskier to stay in”, unfurled early in the contest, won’t be wasted. We can wonder together if their use will encourage vacillating Englishmen to pull out… or… not….
Travel Notes to Self
Great Days Out
Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire where in 1575, Robert Earl of Leicester attempted to woe Queen Elizabeth I with a castle knock-down-rebuild, fireworks, pageants, bear baiting and banquets. A play in which a stocking-footed and jerkin clad wannabe won the hand of a noble woman so appalled Her Majesty it was slashed from the programme and with it his romantic hopes. EoL married another, perhaps reasoning union with the then 42 year old monarch wouldn’t have solved his no issue issue. Follow this up with lunch at Hatton Arms, a smart pub above the Grand Union Canal and it’s 21 fascinating locks.
London: Our second year – now time and opportunity to stop off the well thrashed path to the merely well beaten.
- Really fancy Chinese food in a red lacquered room with a view across London. Royal Gardens Hotel, Kensington. Happy birthday Val and thanks to you and Bruce.
- My favourite square discovered and claimed. Mount Street Gardens, Mayfair. Intimate, enclosed, tranquil, empty.
- A walk along Palace Avenue. Magnificent ambassadorial residences on one side, Kensington Palace on the other and, in April, pink blossoms drifting on a kiss-breeze.
- Corner Derry and Kensington High St. The concierge asks for ID and a signature and then it’s six floors to Richard Branson’s beautiful Roof Garden and Babylon. Sip a Mojito or a Margarita in the English woodland or beside the pond accessorised with pink flamingos. It’s the Secret Garden for grownups.
Paris – happy birthday Johnno!
- Restaurants we love, others we’ve been recommend but have yet to try.
- Le Colimacon, 44 Rue Vielle du Temple, 750004
- La Regalade Saint-Honore 106 rue Saint-Honore 75001
- Restaurant Miroir, 94 Rue de Martyrs, 75018
- Juveniles Wine bar and Restaurant
- Le grappillon, a fois gras restaurant
- Establishments at various price points by Christian Constant http://www.maisonconstant.com/restaurants
- Love = Francois Pompon’s Polar Bear, Musee d’Orsay