Former PM John Major was interviewed by Andrew Marr on Sunday morning about the time he spent over the years watching cricket in the company of Prince Philip. What did they talk about? Andrew wanted to know. Surely, his
question implied, there must have been many a juicy story to remember. Sir John put him right; when you are watching cricket, he explained, all you talk about is, well, cricket....
You see this is where I have been going wrong all these years married to Mr B, one of sport’s most devoted spectators. It doesn’t really matter which sport (though he does have his particular passions) it’s the game that counts.
Following the play, discerning the strategies being employed by the sportsmen and women, cheering the winners, commiserating with the losers - Mr B embraces every sport with open arms.
Me, these days I like to watch along with him. It’s one way of sharing time when he isn’t able to follow the pursuits which occupied his days before he was ill. I am becoming pretty knowledgeable (though I say so myself
as shouldn’t) to the extent that I can occasionally offer an answer to TV quiz show questions on sport. Sometimes I even get them right.
What I haven’t
learnt, till Sir John helpfully put me right, is to stop prattling on about inconsequential matters in the middle of a Footie game, a cricket match, a golf tournament or whatever. Indeed, given my lack of in-depth knowledge on All Matters Sporting, I would
be better to keep completely silent, aside from cheering a goal, perhaps (provided it is scored by the right team) or a hole in one. Mr B, I can see now, would much prefer this - the trouble is, would I be able to keep up the Sound of Silence?
There was no such problem when I turned up outside the hair salon at lunchtime on Tuesday. My hairdresser, the lovely Rachel, was every bit as keen as I was to find out what’s
been happening in my life since I last visited. I know that casual conversation is what hairdressers are taught to supply, along with the shampoo, conditioner and hairspray, but it’s very much better when you have a reasonably long acquaintance, one
which has gone beyond the weather of where you might (or might not) be going on holiday this summer. With only two clients allowed in at a time due to social distancing requirements, there wasn’t the usual hubbub of chatter all around the salon which
is a pity for an inveterate eavesdropper such as I. Indeed, the Daily Blog relies to a considerable extent on the length of my ears. My daily life is not enough alone to keep up my readers’ interests. Nevertheless Rachel and I had plenty on which to
update each other since last we met over the sink and the hairdryer - we had such a good chat about anything and everything. “It’s so good to see you again!” we told each other as we parted company for another six weeks. I’m so glad
that, in the hair salon at least, I’m not expected to keep silent.
In the afternoon I walked down to church where members of the public are being invited,
if they so wish, to pay their respects to Prince Philip and light a candle. I was expecting that a solemn silence would be the order of the day for my visit. Except that I found myself in the company of two friends who I haven’t seen for simply months;
I’m sure HRH will forgive me for breaking my silence to enjoy a catch-up.
Apparently I was the 96th person to visit the church since we opened it up
for visitors every day until the day of the funeral. I did think about going away and coming back again so that I could be the 100th but, you will be glad to hear, I resisted the temptation.
I walked home in contemplative silence, accompanied only by the sound of bird song.
Sometimes even I enjoy the Sound of
(my own) Silence.