Disappointment howls today like the wind that keeps shifting the rafters as it tries to break the backbone of this old house. It is not a good day to be either a Madeley or a Beckham. I heard through the celebrity grapevine that Titchmarsh was out around town last night, celebrating his new job. I’ve still not had official confirmation but I can only assume that this silence means that the Madeley charm failed yet again to win over important people. I won’t get my second cap as captain of ‘Eye of the Storm’. My search for a job will have to continue and I still cannot assure you about the future of this blog. There is only a very small chance of my finding another part time vacancy as suitable as the one I’ve just missed out on.
If there are positives in this, I fail to see them. My lassitude has begun to spread around the house. Judy has fled to the local shopping centre to escape it. And when Stephen Fry appeared for breakfast this morning, even a man known for his resilient spirit looked chagrined once he heard the news.
‘As long as I’m quizmaster, Mr. Titchmarsh will never be welcomed on QI, I can assure you of that,’ he said as he watched me butter his English muffins.
‘It’s bad enough that he keeps getting all the plumb jobs and that he produces novels that take up shelf space that might have gone to new unknown writers.’ I stopped spreading butter and looked up. ‘But what disappoints me more than anything is that I thought I’d got the job. I left that interview so sure that I’d connected with people. I thought they understood the easy going nature of a man who refuses to abide by the law of underpants. They should have seen that they had a special opportunity of getting “A” list recruitment material for a knock down price.’
‘I feel your pain as though it were my own,’ said Stephen, clutching his arm and giving a dramatic wince. ‘I thought I had a natural affinity with the manatee. Little did I know that they had plans to knock me from a log and laugh about it later.’
He had a point.
‘Are you up for some writing today?’ asked Stephen after I’d finished soaking his muffins in my tears.
‘I don’t know if I am,’ I said, wiping my eyes. The last thing I wanted was to spend the day transcribing another man’s genius to the page.
‘Come, come, Richard. You should do something productive today. You need to rage against the storm that so cruelly batters you. Cry out that you’re not for being beaten.’
‘Oh, I intend to rage,’ I promised him. ‘In fact, I’ve been giving some thought to having a tattoo.’
I shoved the newspaper across the table. ‘David Beckham has had an angel tattooed on his arm,’ I explained. ‘It has the face of his wife, Victoria. I thought I might have the same but with the face of that real angel called Judy. I thought a tattoo might prove to people that I’m not the nice guy they can treat so unfairly.’
‘I would suggest that you think again and make no hasty decisions when feeling glum,’ replied Stephen. ‘Have a day or two to think about it. I regret very much the tattoo of Hugh Laurie I had etched on my… Well, let’s not dwell on that. Let us instead consider written English. Let me help you on your own magnum opus. Let’s see if we can raise your spirits by setting you back on track with that novel I know you’ve been writing about the Australian outback where a young boy is raised by the koala.’
‘You’d do that for me?’ I asked. ‘I mean, you’d really help me finish “Tamazepam: King of the Eucalyptus”?’
Stephen’s smile hung like a cloud beneath that great crescent moon of a nose. ‘Of course I would,’ he chuckled. ‘Not everybody is a Titchmarsh man. Some of us are on the side of Madeley and you should never forget that fact, Richard. Never forget that some of us want you to win and win you most certainly will.’