I appear on Radio 2’s The Jeremy Vine Show, talking about bowls.

It is a vibrant morning in Norfolk.

The Parish Council election votes are being counted; an important bowls match is scheduled for the evening. Further afield, the Canaries have won promotion; later, the disbanded XIII Squadron at Marham will be honoured with a thundrous supersonic flypast of six Tornado fighters over the skies of Norfolk. The weather is sunny and the birds are cheepy. My email explodes into life with a cheerful ‘bing.’

It is Radio 2’s The Jeremy Vine Show! Could I call them to arrange being on there, to talk about bowls.

I have been on the radio before, but Radio 2’s The Jeremy Vine Show has about a grillion listeners and occasionally plays really good stuff, like Leonard Cohen. Honestly, this is exciting. But I am determined to play it cool. About 0.00000000001 second later, I call them.

I get put through to a researcher. She speaks to me for some time, claiming to be doing research; after a while I twig that the research involves establishing that I definitely don’t possess some form of medical condition that compels me to shout the word ‘vagina’ at periodic intervals.

This confirmed, we chat for a bit about my knowledge of the current bowls scene. This chat tails off, and we conclude that I would best be used as light relief after the serious bowls conversation, which will involve John Woodcock MP talking about his ‘you must not build houses on bowling greens (2011)’ bill.

She goes on to explain that as Jeremy Vine (from The Jeremy Vine Show) is covering the elections, today it will be Matthew Bannister presenting The Jeremy Vine Show. My ‘oh’ in reply is meant to mean ‘I acknowledge that fact and there is nothing wrong with it at all,’ but unfortunately comes out as ‘I am crushed and disappointed that a lesser person like Matthew Bannister is presenting The Jeremy Vine Show.’ I immediately realise this and try to make it better by praising Matthew Bannister and slagging off Jeremy Vine, but that comes out wrong as well, so I just say something like ‘never mind’ which seems to make it worse.

“Could you get to a studio?” she adds.

I laugh. This is rural Norfolk. She may as well have asked me if I can get to a teleportation vestibule. There is very little background noise on the phone line, however, so phone it will be.

My appearance takes place as scheduled. John Woodcock MP talks about his ‘you must not build houses on bowling greens (2011)’ bill. They cut to me.

“Is it easy to learn the rules?” asks Matthew Bannister (for Jeremy Vine).

“Oh yes,” I say. “You just…”

I am interrupted by a thundrous supersonic flypast of six Tornado fighters over the skies of Norfolk.

Conversation tails off a little after that. We chat a little more. Matthew Bannister (for Jeremy Vine) puts a Barry White record on.


  1. First! That’s all.

  2. dandeliongirl01

    I’m glad to hear you past the strict “vagina” test (and it’s not often I get to write that!).

  3. First? Last! Everything!

  4. Nice use of the word vestibule. You only ever here it on the train nowadays, and they always pronounce it “vestibull”. I listened to you on R2, you sounded very calm.

  5. On the train, and in the field of teleportation, NickyB.

  6. You opened for Barry White? Wow!

  7. If you ever get asked again, can you try and get to the studio, and get me Alan Partridge’s autograph?

  8. You have teleportation vestibules in Norfolk? I’m jealous. We only have motorways and tractors here in Warwickshire.

  9. I know, Lola. I was there, five minutes ago, before I reappeared here to cook dinner.

  10. Jeremy Vine… Tim Vine… Tim Smith (Cardiacs) 🙁 why does your website always remind me of the sad… VAGINA… sorry did my comment sound disappointing… <3

  11. The fact that you are national radio’s go-to person as the celebrity spokesperson for bowls tells us all we need to know about the future of the sport – ie, stick a fork in it, it’s done.

    Just be glad the Tornados didn’t bomb you as they went past, not that anyone could spot the difference in most of Norfolk. If you hear any Blackhawks circling, however, best go hide in the chicken shed…

  12. Oh dear. I’m not sure that I’ve ever listened to Radio 2. Could you arrange to be on Radio 4 or 3 and let me know in advance? Serendipity doesn’t cut it around here in South Norfolk, we live by our diaries.

  13. What is Radio 2?

  14. Sometimes I miss that about Norfolk.

  15. You’re back! But we have to share you with The Nation – where’s the fairness in that? I bet the listeners of the Jeremy Vine show, lacking in alternative pursuits though they may be, haven’t be waiting with baited breath for you to extracate yourself from nappies.

  16. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b010nn92

    Go to 1:42 in for the full article and 1:47 for JonnyB. At posting there were only 21 hours left before the item was being taken down so go now!!

  17. So how did they find you? Are you on a national “bowls expert” list?

    Or did they just search Amazon for authors of recent paperbacks mentioning the word bowls in the title?

    Or do they use one of those random number dialling thingies?

  18. I think that shouting out VAGINA would have come across badly – TWAT would have been much better.

    I’ve finally heard you speak – apart from your muffles from inside the cupboard at TFP….(Yes, I’m still miffed.)

  19. Until I heard the listen again just now I hadn’t realised that the background noise I was vaguely aware of last week while I was making a sandwich was you. Sorry about that, must pay attention in future.

  20. Good lord, I was actually driving around Norfolk this past Tues-Wed, tuning in randomly to various BBC radio stations. You don’t mean to say I could have accidentally heard you talking about bowls instead of wondering why they kept talking over the good songs they were playing? I was speculating about whether or not I was near your village and your chickens had escaped, since I saw several dead ones squashed on the road.

  21. I would guess that I am the new national voice of bowls, Rufus. The John Arlott/Ted Lowe/Sid Waddell figure.

  22. I don’t want to make you feel bad…but…

    …there’s a chap who blogs about how much he hates The Jeremy Vine Show, and the next thing you know, J. Vine calls the chap and they talk for 10 minutes.

    Or is that chap you?

  23. Not me. Jeremy Kyle…?

  24. 13 Squadron? I shit ’em! Bunch of amateurs.

    IX(B) Squadron was and still is the Premier squadron in the Royal Air Force.

  25. Drat! I often have him on with the iron – but not this time.

  26. Guest sausage review?

    Greetings esteemed blog writer. As the custodian of Rate My Sausage, I would like to invite you to write a guest sausage review, to be published soon. Of course, we will link back to your blog, unless you ask us not to.

    All we need is: Minimum 200 words, at least two digital images. That’s it. Write it how you want to, feel free to put the boot into the supermarkets if you want, but have fun!

    Contact me at sausage-blog@live.com with your review, or for more info.

    Go on, you know you want to!

  27. “Rate My Sausage”? Asking for trouble there, Simon. Jonny tends to take a Freudian approach to interpreting such requests…

  28. It’s simply a blog upon which sausages are rated….

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