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.