Gob turned 74 in June
Some time ago a small monkey in a tiny sheepskin coat was found wandering around an IKEA store in Canada. The media nicknamed him Stumpy but his real name was, according to his owner, Darwin.
Around the same time one of the Salisbury Druids introduced me to his golfing partner, a little advertising executive from Putney. His uncanny likeness to Darwin induced me to christen him Stumpy. He in turn called me Gob. His mercurial wit, his sense of justice and his love of wine endeared him to me immediately. His villa on the golf resort of Desert Springs contained an eclectic collection of memorabilia, souvenirs from his globetrotting days, advertising ephemera and a fine wine cellar.
Desert Springs is near the Mediterranean fishing village of Palomares in Almería, the site of the mid-air collision of a B-52 carrying four nuclear warheads with its air refuelling tanker in 1966. Whilst safety mechanisms and electronics prevented nuclear explosions the countryside was contaminated with plutonium-239. I’m not saying the locally grown tomatoes glow in the dark but perhaps it might explain Stumpy’s lack of stature.
Stumpy and I have celebrated many birthdays together and in addition to copious quantities of wine his contribution is usually a hand-made, multi-page birthday card. His skill as a graphics designer make them collectors’ items. This year was no different.
As the country is in the throes of a leadership contest, Stumpy designed the card as an election manifesto. His political views chime closely with mine so there was little chance of being offended.
Stealing unashamedly from William Hague in The Times, he wrote:
“The Top Tosser has left his job in ignominy. His replacement must have an iron self discipline, clarity of thought at every moment and work while others are sleeping; if not the small and momentous events all start to unravel. That’s why it is one of the hardest jobs in the world. The next couple of years will be one of the toughest periods in the entire history of the UK for the new person who fills this job.
With a war in Europe continuing, global inflation rampant, a recession in prospect, gas supply endangered, pandemic still threatening, climate change accelerating and the promise of Brexit unfulfilled, the big decisions will be colossal.
All at a time when many have lost faith with the integrity and morals of our political leaders.
In an era of pygmies we need a giant to bestride the world stage.“
YOU’LL KNOW WHAT YOU GET WITH MIKE
He’ll ensure we will have a voice in the world and will regain the respect we have always enjoyed with the global community. His experience in senior management with British Airways (He was a top Trolley Dolly) will hold him in good stead.
He will resolve the Irish impasse, he has an Irish passport.
He will remove any remaining rancour with Argentina over the Falklands. He has an Argentinian passport!
He has an English passport so he can be entirely objective in his decision making.
He will rebuild our relationship with Europe where he lived for many years and has a great affinity with their culture, particularly viniculture. Or if you prefer viticulture.
He worked as a home-carer for many years and has an abiding empathy with the needs of the elderly and the NHS.
He has Churchillian oratory skills, he was the town crier for Beer (the place not the drink).
He will have a beady eye on the economy as he and his wife run a small enterprise in the west country and are all too aware of the economic and recessionary pressures their fellow citizens face everyday.
Probably most importantly for anyone taking on such an onerous national role he has the support of a heroic life partner who will provide unstinting and enlightened support.
And it’s his BIRTHDAY (and with age come’s wisdom) so we should all be nice to him.
He’ll immediately take the moral high ground and address the ‘partygate’ antics that so enraged the population who suffered under the yoke of lockdown.
Unfortunately, Stumpy’s memory is not what it was and he confused DouDou’s birthday in October with someone else, hence:
Nevertheless, Stumpy’s card is a welcome addition to my own eclectic collection of memorabilia.