Last night I was reminded of my theory that all the interesting people live in the country. At the very least there is a disproportionate population of raconteurs who drink at our local wine bar. The evening’s anecdotes ranged from political opinions from the wife of a former ambassador to Israel to winding up a German surgeon who’s recently relocated from Berlin to the Cotswolds and has taken up duck hunting, replete with bad jokes about Germans chasing Englishman around the countryside.
I have a diary entry from last year that shows that, by wine bar standards, last night was nothing special. On that particular evening I first met a former covert ops man who told me about his latest manoeuvre: a rescue operation for his Notting Hill banker son. Said son had a live-in Scandinavian girlfriend with snakes for pets who “took advantage” and had to be forcibly removed in the early morning hours, along with her mooching friends and the snakes and the decomposing bodies of once-frozen mice. I suppose that’s where having a former covert ops man for a dad comes in handy, although it does strike me that a former covert ops man is the least likely person to tell you he is former covert ops.
Next was a fat Blackpudlian with a little dog. His daughter was going to work at the Guggenheim Palazzo in Venice, next door to Casa Artom where I once lived.
Last were a couple who own the inn down the road. He’s a Michael Caine look alike, and she’s a be-pearled, pashmina-ed lady from Fulham who told us how her mother would roll in her grave if she knew her daughter had married a publican. We all laughed and talked about how the BBC has gone to the dogs but the NHS is still brilliant. When in Rome…