"D'you know what I fancy doing, Mrs B", I said, "in this snatched and precious child-free hour we find that we have together?"
"Scrabble, I suppose?" she said, not entirely unenthusiastically.
"Nope", I said , "well, actually, later on, yes, possibly, but nope: right now I fancy going down the pub, so fetch your coat".
An old joke, but a good one, and a cheap laugh is always worth a smack round the back of the head. That's what my Dad says, anyway.
So that's how, dear reader, we found ourselves sharing a jumbo packet of cheese and onion in the Twickenham Tup, snucked up hard against each other on a large leather sofa shared with two spotty teenagers, all of us watching the house band Cambio strum out their very own version of Babylon (yes, indeed: they made it their own)
I say 'band': it was actually two kids with guitars; and less Pet Shop Boys - more Flight of the Conchords.
To be frank I thought Their Good Riddance (Time of your Life) worked better than their Moonlight in Vermont but, at the end of day, I'm a sucker for live music of all sorts and as Mrs Botogol sagely observed: if they haven't ever rehearsed Mustang Sally they can't really be expected to play it for any random bloke in the pub just because he shouts loudly, now can they?
So it came to pass last Friday evening, while two unappreciative old men in a far corner of the cavernous suburban pub nursed their quiet pints of London Pride, unseeing, unhearing and while, behind the bar, three strappy-topped young barmaids danced and pranced, Mrs B and myself, on our leather sofa shared with two young texting teenagers, well: we rocked.
While we rocked our sofa-companions texted blurry camphone pictures to absent friends, and eventually I went off to the bar for two more glasses of Australian Pinot Grigio before the second set, then at 10.25 we had to put our coats on and left: no encores, no cheers, no vote of thanks, no epitaphs, we just slipped away.
I'd honour Cambio with a link, but they appear to be the only band in the Western Hemisphere without a page on MySpace
John Humphrys, since you ask, was rubbish. Well, for anyone who, perhaps, hadn't realised that Humphrys has met quite a few famous people, some of whom have been mildly funny, it would have been a revelation. But for the other 569 people in the building, the ones who had come to this Book Festival event hoping to hear about his book it was a tad disappointing. "Thank you very much Mr Humphrys", said the hapless MC sending Humphrys off into the deep, dark night with a few well chosen words, "for coming here to talk about your book. Although you didn't actually say much about it did you?"
We could hear the teenage party a good three roads before we got to it: music, voices and dancing, merged with the bleeps of incoming text messages and missed calls. In the shadows of the front garden our particular teenager answered her call, and we set off for home. What was the party like, we wondered "It promised a lot, Dad, but yielded little"
We took the short-cut home, over the railway station bridge, and it was there, high above the platforms and the electrified tracks, in the neon gloom of an autumn night that we spotted our S J Harvey's peculiar and poignant notice, and we paused, and we hurried on.
There have been 107 green ideas since I started in Oct 2006, and it's been a lot fun.
I'm not stopping now, not exactly, but I have a new project in mind and I'm not sure I will have time to manage both. If the new thing works I'll be back in the new year, I reckon; if it doesn't - well perhaps next week. Or perhaps once a month.... or once a week :-)