by Roxy Beaujolais
Well! There I was in the first class lounge of Geneva International Airport, Geneva, which is Overseas (as we travelers say) when who should turn up but the England full team, along with their bagmen, carriers and barristers.
You could have knocked me over with a six hundredweight bag of cement and no mistake!
And as I watched, through the door came none other than our one and only, my heart throb, young Theo. I approached, ready to offer him some tips on passing, dribbling and running, when he turned towards a middle-aged chap in a full length red gown who seemed to be escorting a collection of young ragamuffins through the first class reserve, (plus a gum chewing woman who looked as if someone had tried to post a long playing record through her mouth and succeeded at the third attempt).
To my surprise rather than turning away from this motley crew our Theo approached the red-dressed man, who I was sure I recognised but couldn’t quite put my finger upon (one can’t be too careful these days), and I heard him speak in that respectful and earnest manner for which all the 21 year olds of our nation are justly famous.
“Excuse me sir,” sayeth he, “aren’t you Tony Blair, previous prime minister and fame autobiographist?”
The man stopped in his tracks and looked at young Theo cautiously, clearly fingering a colt 45 that lurked inside his jacket, before eventually confessing that he was indeed the said Blair, while adding that it was however conventional these days to address him as “your grace.”
Theo was clearly flustered by this faux pas, took a moment to gather his thoughts, and was about to speak again when Blair continued. He had been looking carefully at Theo, and now said in firm clear voice, “But don’t tell me, I know you, you are… you are… Lewis Hamilton. The man who drives those cars. Round and round. Brmmm brmmm.”
Theo looked at the man patiently as the old fellow, clearly now no longer quite with it, made sounds of a racing track. Eventually he replied, “No your grace – I’m Theo Walcott,” a logical response for that is who he was – and indeed is.
“Oh!” said Blair, and again “Oh! And what do you do?
“I play football,” said Theo patiently addressing the poor sap as one might speak to a four year old who had grasped the fact that opening the mouth was a good idea for eating, but hadn’t really progressed much beyond that point.
“Association or rugby?” asked Blair eventually.
For a moment Theo looked confused, but then recognizing the reference replied, “Association”.
“You any good?” asked Blair peering more earnestly at young Theo.
Theo being the modest young chap that we know and love looked away before replying, “Well, it’s early days but…”
Now I am not quite sure of the full background, but I rather suspect it is the Bible that tells us that it is all very well to be modest at the right time, but when facing an ex-prime minister who believes he is a combination of Shawn the Sheep and Ghengis Khan, it is better to come to the point as quickly as possible, rather than meander around the mountain with a circumspect delivery about your abilities and whatnot.
It is however a lesson I fear that Theo has not quite got yet for Blair suddenly gaining interest, (while swishing away two urchins who were trying to climb on his lap), said, “It’s one of these youngsters birthdays tomorrow, and they would like it I am sure if you and your chums in your little team come and play a game of football with my little brood.” (He indicates a collection of children with a broad wave of the fist.) “Cherry-babe, whose birthday is it tomorrow?
Cherry removed her chewing gum from her mouth and sticks it under her chair. She looked at Blair, and shrugged.
“We could use some old dresses of Cherry’s as goalposts, and make up two teams,” he continued. “We’ll use that garden place at the back of the Queen’s house.”
Theo, regaining his composure, attempted to resolve the mess. “Look I don’t think I can just get the team…” he began.
But the Blair was having none of it. “Now you listen to me sonny-boy-me-lad,” said Blair, getting agitated. “I am the man who told the IRA where to put the guns, and they did. I am the man who told Ian Paisley to shut it, and he did. I brought peace to the Middle East. I saved the Labour Party, and am reliably informed that I am next in line to be pope. So don’t start telling me what can and what can’t be done.
“Now, my son, (whichever one it is) needs to learn that he is a winner. So when we play his team will win, you understand, because if not….” He looked menacingly at Theo. The meaning was clear. “So you be there tomorrow for the game, and no argument.”
“But,” reposted Theo, “we are here to play an international….”
“I said no argument, and I meant no argument, or I shall get my old pal Paisley to come and sort the matter out. Now you just do as your Glorious Leader tells you.”
Theo was clearly concerned, but was willing to take the matter on, when at that moment that airport tannoy, after a brief but welcome interlude, burst into song. Simultaneously into the first class lounge meandered a man attended by flunkies. The man was, to all intents and purposes, of the larger persuasion and out of his skull.
Theo, anxious to escape the dreadful Blair and the promise of a football match in the Queen’s back garden, rose and walked towards the man.
“Excuse me,” said Theo as the fellow stumbled towards him, “aren’t you John Prescott, ex-deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom?
But the ruffian had no times for courtesies pushing Theo aside in the manner of a Shawcross, crashing into the Blair breaking his leg in several places.
“Beautiful lady in red,” he slurped to his ex-colleague, now screaming on the floor, addressing him in the manner of old men everywhere who enter the bar at 5.30 and find the next time they look at the watch its the following thursday, “could I have the honour of this waltz?”
Blair managed to ignore his injuries for long enough to push the man back with a passing child.
“No, Prescott,” he screamed, “you may not, and for that for three reasons. First, you are drunk. Second, I am not your beautiful lady in red, but I have in fact just been made Archbishop of Montevideo. And third, this is not a waltz you annoying little man, but is in fact that the Swiss National Anthem.” And with that he turned, and hobbled out, with just a passing word to poor young Theo. “Tomorrow – the Queen’s House. And don’t be late, or there will be words!”
There was chaos and confusion as the lawyers rushed forward. “We’re having injunctions on all this,” they announced, as mobiles were used to arrange for friendly judges to attend court at once.
“Not if I get this out first,” I said, and made for the door.
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