My relationship with my wife has been tested sorely twice in my years of being corporately entertained. It could have so easily gone the wrong way twice but thankfully Judith and I are still together. The occasions were even worse than the time I murmured “Oh yes Valerie” in my sleep. A terrible thing to happen, especially as I do not know anyone called Valerie.
The first occasion was when I was invited by British Airways to fly to Australia to see the rugby world cup semi final match between France and England. A fabulous opportunity which I could not turn down even though we would only be there for less than four days.
Anyway, we went to the fantastic Telstra stadium which makes our Twickenham ground look like a public toilet and sat just above the half way line in some of the best seats in the place. Marvellous, and to complete our joy England won, thanks mainly to the boot of Johnny Wilkinson. After the game we went into one of the ground’s hospitality suites and imbibed in copious quantities of the amber nectar (Australian for beer).
The need to make more room for the next pint(s) became irresistible so I went back into the main stand to find the lavatories. In the nick of time I found one and as I did what comes naturally at such times the loudest, drunkest and rudest Australian jubilantly staggered into the convenience. “Is that all you have got” he crowed as he relieved himself in the middle of the room. We are going to thrash you bstrds in the final next week. I disagreed and we had a little undignified pushing and wrestling.
The argument was settled by me during a pause in grappling. “Look” I said. Why don’t we swap phone numbers and agree that whoever loses next week phones the other to apologies”. He agreed and we parted and I frankly thought nothing further about it.
The following week I sat down back home with my wife and watched the final and, thanks to the boot of Johnny Wilkinson, we won. I went ballistic and jumped all over the room screaming “YES, YES” rather like that famous scene in the film ‘When Harry Met Sally’. I did not hear the phone ring but Judith did.
The first thing I noticed was the shocked look on her face. She asked me if there was something I needed to tell her about my sexuality. The question rather shook me so I asked why she should enquire. “Well” she said “I have just spoken to a drunken Australian. He was crying. He said he met you in a toilet in Sydney and that you had been rough with each other. He says he feels sad and ill but wants to say sorry. Hard to explain convincingly, I am sure you will agree.
The second time was far more local. It was at a supplier’s evening summer garden party near Windsor Castle. It was ‘finger buffet’ style and I was standing on his patio with a glass in one hand and a plate in another talking to other guests.
I suddenly felt something hard (and sharp) pressing into my groin. I looked down to find the host’s Doberman dog showing an enormous interest in my private parts to the point of chewing them. I tried to move him but every time he growled and snarled and continued with his fetish. By this time I was desperate and fortunately mine host arrived to drag the hound away, but not before my whole crutch area was covered in doggy drool and also a couple of trouser tears.
There were huge apologies all round and, after an extended visit to the cloakroom I came out with some of my trousers, and dignity intact. I did not want to hang around with such a wet patch so I went straight home.
Judith was in bed reading a book when I walked into the room. “Looks like you have been having a nice time” she muttered. I followed her eyes down to discover that what was initially a clean wet patch had turned dry, crusty and stained. “I know what you are thinking but you are wrong” I said. “Really” she replied with eyebrows arched. “Yes” I said. “It was a dog”. “They all are” she responded cryptically, and switched off the light as I stood there.