Sunday 12 October 2008

The chucklesome appeal of a Scotch bank failure

No idea (perhaps I should be in Government); 12.0 units of alcohol yesterday (surely qualifying me to be an MP, at the very least); 1,212 days left; Sarf London.

I spent an odd night dreaming of babies, specifically the illegitimate son I apparently had 20 years ago with a friend who had best remain nameless. The boy had had been taken into care and I had remained blissfully unaware of his existence until he turned up on my doorstep. At least he had not been brandishing an axe, at any rate up to the point when I awoke, perspiring gently. I do hope he is a figment of my imagination. But then I am not renowned for having one, which is why this blog is so depressingly reliant on True Stories.

It was a positive relief to turn to the Sunday Telegraph, with its tales of mounting financial disaster. The Government is apparently planning a semi- if not total nationalization of the weakest banks, and the London stock market may be closed for the day tomorrow to allow if to digest the implications. I was particularly amused by the reports that Royal Bank of Scotland is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, while my own bank has had to close its doors to new business because it cannot cope with the flood of money seeking a secure home. I was moved to send a text to a friend who had declined to follow me when I moved my bank account from Coutts, a subsidiary of RBS, on the grounds that his vast wealth required the security of a large organization which could be guaranteed never to go bust.

The LTCB and I passed the morning in St James’s Park, starting with a circuit of the lake to admire the black swans and pelicans, then searching with increasing desperation for a place to sit in the sun. Every bench was occupied by tramps or well-spread-out foreigners, while other likely resting places proved to within close earshot of ranting lunatics. Eventually we found space in an al fresco dining area which had not yet been populated by diners.

Greatly daring, we then took an armoured taxi to Kennington (“Yes, my good man, I really did say Kennington, not Kensington”) for lunch with a former colleague, his family and a couple of his neighbours. These last came with a daughter called Oriana, and it was lucky that the LTCB was present or I should undoubtedly have disgraced myself by enquiring whether she was conceived on the eponymous P&O liner, then embarking on a ludicrous fantasy about my Great Aunts Lusitania, Mauretania and Skylark (born after a sad decline in the family fortunes). We had a splendid lunch of roast pheasant, then enquired about our chances of finding a taxi back to civilization in the street outside, only to be greeted with regretful shakings of the locals’ heads. Luckily I had one of my rare brainwaves and established that my long disused Computer Cab account still worked; the LTCB and I greeted the arrival of our taxi in much the same spirit as the crowds at the US embassy in Saigon in 1975 seeing the final helicopter coming in to land. The Bearded Git got us back to Chester from Euston in a mere 3.25 hours, after a diversion around Birmingham in the interests of the “West Coast Main Line upgrade”, but at least he kept us well cared for with the splendid at-seat service in first class, comprising one small cardboard cup of tea. I began to find myself growing positively nostalgic for National Express East Coast, let alone the glory days of GNER and “The Route of the Flying Scotsman”.

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