Hullo, Justin here…
Well, what a week it has been! As you may have heard in the news, I (and the young man with the wire in his ear) have spent time over in la Belle France, taking part in some of the many and varied ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings.
In the interests of authenticity, I chose to sail across the Channel in the company of some of the Old Soldiers returning to the scenes of their own personal triumphs and tragedies. I was surprised at how very sprightly these old gentlemen were and rather taken aback at their colourful language and attitudes to things European. I confess to availing myself of the earplugs provided on HMS Bloater after an hour or more of “Bleedin’ Jerry” and the Germanic skill at penalty shoot-outs.
Sadly, I was robbed of the admittedly limited social skills of the young man with the wire in his ear due to his being laid low by spectacular sea-sickness. The poor boy spent the short voyage hiding in a lifeboat going, “Wuuuurp. Jesus! Wuuuuurp. Jesus!” At least, some of my protestations of faith seem to have rubbed off.
After disembarking and having the young man with the wire in his ear hosed down I was privileged to have been able to mingle with many of the international politicians present. The American President was charming, and struck exactly the right note in his various speeches. Sadly, the French head of state had to endure mutterings of “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” from a small, exceptionally ancient and grumpy group of U.S. ex-G.I.s.
But my attention was drawn to Vladimir Putin. I got the impression that other dignitaries were reluctant to seek his company. He is a most peculiar-looking fellow, with a large flat head and really unnerving eyes. The young man with the wire in his ear, by then recovered and very anxious to point out all the other young men with wires in their ears, reminded me that Mr Putin was once the head of the KGB, and no stranger to speaking harshly to people. In a lull in the proceedings whilst a fight between British ex-paratroopers and a group of much younger German diplomats was broken up, the young man with the wire in his ear invited me to look at some pictures of Mr Putin on his snazzy little computer, showing the Russian leader chopping down trees in a state of semi-undress. Or riding a horse in a state of semi-undress. Or gazing into the middle distance in a state of semi-undress. These things are obviously very important to the Russian people, but I found them rather strange.
“Can’t see Nigel Farridge poncin’ about in his undies, eh Archie?” commented the young man with the wire in his ear.
Soon though, we were Blighty bound, me on the good ship HMS Bloater, whilst the young man with the wire in his ear left me in the safe hands of Captain Whilloughby Strains-Upward (RN), leaving French soil himself on the Eurostar train rather than risk any more of the “Wuuuurp! Jesus!” business. I’m sure Our Lord would have understood.
Pip, pip etc,