Monday, 9 July 2012
the uninvited guest
there was a bit of a do in Reading a few days ago, for soldiers returning from Afghanistan. A Homecoming Parade, held at Brock Barracks. Very dignified and fitting it was too, I am told by some who were there. Many dignitaries, the Mayor of Reading in pride of position, but many other mayors and important people in the VIP enclosure. And a very good thing too, say I. I do not believe councillors were invited qua councillors unless they had a particular connection to the military. But what's this? A swish car hums to a halt, and out leaps Derek Plews, former spinner for the military, and now Head of Communications at Reading Borough Council. The charming Mrs Plews is at his side! They hustle their way into the VIP enclosure, prompting some of the more elderly be-chained dignitaries to ask each other, "Who is this bespectacled northern oik?" The more tuned-in of the dignitaries spot the hunched figure being smuggled in between the two Plews (singly would they each be a Plew?) out of lens-reach of the snapping paparazzi, and once in the enclosure that figure draws itself up to its full height, shakes out its poodle perm in the watery sunlight, and commences a rousing discourse, the returning heroes forgotten. Yes! Councillor Josephine Lovelock is amongst us! Three soldiers faint, but the speech continues. A veil must, from charity, be drawn over what follows.