THE VIEW FROM HERE OK, I’m back now, so just settle down. Have you been behaving yourselves while I’ve been away? What’s been happening?
Oh, right, a visit from Her Majesty. And the torch. Honestly, I only have to pop out for five minutes and you sneak in all these fun things, having little parties, thronging the streets and waving union flags.
The last thing I remember on the Island was being stuck in a traffic queue in the great festival cock-up.
Anyway, I’m jolly well not going away again, so there. I know just what would happen. I’d get on the ferry and you’d immediately whistle up George Clooney and the Lord Great Chamberlain for an Island walkabout, with cocktails and an Elton John concert as a finale.
I’m sorry I missed the Queen, though I did see her some years ago when she came to visit the newspaper I was working on at the time.
It was lovely. The ladies’ loo was done up specially, which was quite a treat. For us female workers, anyway.
The Queen didn’t go. I once read the royal family take pumpkin seeds before official engagements, which apparently keeps their bladders on hold.
Can that be true?
I looked it up on Google, which said Ryvita holds a royal warrant granted by the Queen as "manufacturers of crispbreads", including a pumpkin seed range. Ta-ra!
I bet nobody thought of offering her a Ryvita while she was here, did they?
I could have told you she’d much rather have had that than one of those squishy canape things. Still, if you will insist on organising a royal visit while I’m away, you have only yourselves to blame.
I can’t remember much else about my sighting of her. Oh yes, she was jolly small. But everybody says that, don’t they? Was she as small this time?
Well, anyway, I missed her on the Island. And the torch.
I’m not sure I mind too much about the torch. The whole thing seems a bit weird to me. Because as far as I can make out, it wasn’t "the" torch. It was 8,000 of them in all, so that’s not exactly a relay, more of a stack-’em-high and help yourself to one of thousands. Plus, the flame travelled in a van most of the time and lots of torches have ended up on eBay, which I feel is hardly in the Greek spirit of Olympia.
Oi, Zeus, I can’t be bothered to run all the way, especially as you’ve devised some crazy circuitous route which doesn’t tally with my satnav at all, so can you whistle up a chariot to help out? And then I’m off to Delphi to see if I can’t flog my torch to one of those daft handmaidens.
Still, I wasn’t here and it all seemed a great hit, so that’s all right.
Perhaps we could get some holy relics, a saint’s thighbone or a hermit’s toenail, to trundle around next year. They bring out even more venerating crowds than that chunky old cheese grater. Sorry, iconic emblem of the Olympic Games.
But there’s one thing which happened in my absence which I’m really pleased about. The council’s planning committee refused an application for five 100m turbines near Wellow and Thorley. Well done!
Can the eco-stupids not get it into their heads these turbines are plug-ugly, inefficient and a massive commercial con trick?
And the day they go up on the Island will be the day when "all this beauty" is no longer of God or even in existence.
Just change the motto to "All this soul-destroying desecration is of corporate and shortsighted folly."
And that’s the day I really will be on the ferry.
Essex and Oxford are best avoided
I AM pleased to see you’ve been busy attending to your grammar lessons, with brisk correspondence about semantics, spelling, and apostrophes. Might I therefore bring to your attention a distressing development in the punctuation department, increasingly widespread in student essays (well, what can you expect?) and publicity engendered by trendy bimbos.
There is an extremely chic punctuation mark called the "Oxford comma". It precedes the conjunction before the final item in a list of three or more. No, I’m not going to explain further. Look it up.
My gripe is what I call the "Essex comma", an illiterate piece of punctuation inserted where there should be a conjunction or a full stop. "Sharon offers a full massage, this is very luxurious and she does highlights, she also does manicures."
Come along, Sharon, ditch those horrid Essex commas. Try this instead. "Sharon offers a full massage, highlights, and manicures."
See that swanky little Oxford comma? Adding untold class to your business.