I have had a very hectic weekend.
The weekend of any good MP like me is a very busy one although sometimes it is complicated by domestic matters.
My wife was urgently summoned to visit her mother in Macclesfield on Friday afternoon. Despite the effect this sort of last minute announcement can make to my own social plans, it can have benefits such as a welcome relief and a sort of unexpected feeling of freedom. I usually find I can make the most of it.
But leaving London to catch an earlier train on Friday afternoon (I was expected to deal with my son Hector who had been left largely in the hands of our cleaner, Millie) was frustrating. You see, Friday afternoon is the time when Anthea, my PA, and I catch up on paperwork and other things. Unfortunately Anthea had been suffering from hay fever yet again so things were disrupted because she constantly needed to wipe her nose. As you know I am a perfectionist and hate interruptions or having to rush things just because I have a train to catch.
And there was another interruption to my regular 'Meet your MP' session on Saturday evening in the Red Lion in that I had to return home to check on Hector. Why my wife couldn't just have left him a sardine salad in the fridge and a good book to read I don't know. But at 10.30 just as I was really warming to my heaving crowds of supporters I had to leave.
It was 1am before I could return because Hector had a tantrum over the book I had pulled from the bookshelf for him to read. I was sure Enoch Powell's memoirs would have been very enlightening but he was less enthusiastic and eventually fell asleep in front of a late night X rated horror movie on the TV.
Anyway, by the time I returned to town, I was shocked to find that the Krupton police were everywhere particularly in the vicinity of the Red lion and the Pink Coconut. Now I am a great supporter of the need for our Police to be patrolling the streets after midnight. After all, it is then that the surge in criminal activity and street aggression occurs across the towns and villages of Britain. Unfortunately, Krupton is not alone in this phenomenon. But the numbers of police on Saturday were far higher than normal.
When I had left the Red Lion at 10.30pm to deal with Hector, everything had been fairly peaceful and orderly. Quite what sparked the problem after I left I don't know although perhaps it was me raising the subject of European Football. I had spoken with some passion about the need to support the England team in case they lost both the next match and their jobs and so were forced to join the ranks of the long term unemployed.
"We cannot afford to lose these talented young men with their high footballing skills," I said, above the increasingly noisy bar.
But then I went into overdrive. This sometimes happens late on a Saturday evening in the Red Lion. I forget exactly what I said but it contained phrases I had previously used at a packed gathering of local sporting heroes I once attended in Yeovil.
"What I have been saying in Parliament is that Britain needs to attract and develop the skills of our working class youth," I said. "We need to encourage entrepreneurship and support our sporting talent, our creative industries and our inventors. We need to encourage international trade by attracting foreign investment into our football industry, import new players from abroad and export our own to underdeveloped places like Africa and Singapore. We need to show them why it is that Britain is best. We need to show them that learning to play football with a tennis ball is best for developing basic skills and educate them on the offside rule because we invented it."
I think there was a lot of cheering at this point although I hadn't finished.
"We need to be ready to fill the shoes of those that have retired and moved on to higher things and pastures new. We need to train new goalkeepers like Kevin Keegan and Gary Lineker and we need to find more big shots like Bobby Charlton."
It was then that I heard Gordon on the other side of the bar. I think he had been playing darts but had become distracted by the emotion in my speech. Gordon supports Krupton Rovers and was shouting above the rest something about (excuse the language): "They are all fucking big shots now, Quentin -the overpaid, bloody flankers."
Now I am not a particularly enthusiastic watcher of football, preferring to play dominoes (I enjoy the intellectual challenge and sense of military precision in the manoeuvres) so I was unsure what position a flanker played. But I was hardly given time to ask the question when Mike then shouted out about someone who played for a team called Manyoo. Mike supports Krupton Town and he was saying that that the bloody flanker Gordon had mentioned drove an Aston Martin with personalised number plates and that he was (excuse the language once again) 'Overpaid and fucking useless'.
Then Gordon came back to shout that they were all overpaid, bloody flankers with no style who lived in (quote), "Mock Tudor homes in Cheshire that looked like Chatsworth House."
I think Chatsworth is in Derbyshire so he had clearly got his geography wrong but nevertheless, his point seemed to be hitting home and the discussion really got going.
Then Mike's girlfriend Mandy shouted out that not only did he drive around in an Aston Martin but he was accompanied by some (here I quote and excuse the language)"Fucking tart who's dress sense rivalled Nora Batty from Last of the Summer Wine."
Mandy then went on to claim that this woman, whom she called a 'WAG' (which sounded worse than the f word she had been using previously) and that this 'WAG' spent most of her time having her nails done and getting sprayed but only made her look like a darkened version of Nora Batty from the Belgian Congo. Not only that but she claimed that the 'WAG' behaved like a large monkey from those same parts who used bananas on herself rather than eating them. This suggestion really got the women involved.
Madge from behind the bar piped up and accused Mandy of being jealous just because Mike was useless at football and could only get a job as an assistant painter and decorator. Then Mike threw something at Gordon which, judged by the speed and direction it travelled, looked like one of the darts they were supposed to be playing with.
Perhaps it was fortunate at that point that I glanced at my watch, saw it was 10.30 and so needed to go home to make Hector his sardine salad - or, if there was no lettuce, a bowl of Coco Pops.
So, when I returned at 1am, the area around the Red Lion was very busy. Not only was it illuminated by blue flashing lights but loud, blue language was to be heard everywhere. I have to admit that I didn't get out of my car as it looked as if everyone was now outside and, anyway, to continue making my political arguments at 1am by standing on the bonnet of my car seemed unlikely to match the demand.
Instead, I sat watching the activity from the relative darkness of my car seat. As I sat there, three men and three policemen ran by, two girls were lying on the kerb finishing their drinks, a man without a shirt was urinating against the car next to mine and at least a hundred others were discussing football and remonstrating with one another. Judged by their behaviour, I think half were supporters of Krupton Rovers and the other half Krupton Town.
It was then that I happened to see the policeman with his breathalyser coming towards my car. Not wishing to be witness to any arrests, I quickly put the car into gear and drive home. As I was feeling hungry, I finished off Hector's sardine salad.