Yesterday was our ninth wedding anniversary. We have two anniversaries - the anniversary we started going out and our wedding anniversary. My husband bought me pink paeonies to match the kitchen table and promised me dinner out tonight. We did not make it to dinner; instead, he took me to a show and lunch.
The show was Tony Blair's last huzzah at Trimdon Labour Club. It is a long time since we went to a show. (I do not count the school nativity play). Unfortunately, my husband had forgotten you have to buy tickets. We looked for a tout. But I think the number of yellow-jacketed police put them off. We ended up standing in the crowd with the school children and the Trimdon locals who have mobile phones which can take photographs and the same foresight as my husband. We waited like Stage Door Johnnies to see the star and his wife. If you do not count several hundred journalists and camera crew, there weren't that many of us outside. It was ever so slightly pointless. My husband kept saying: "It's history." He wanted to see the only other man in the world who feels the same way as he does about Iraq. I exaggerate there are three of them.
The Labour Club is a matter of yards away from a stone built church on the village green. As Blair was saying his "goodbye and thanks for having me's", "Nan" was being carried in to church in a coffin for her own "goodbye and thanks for having me". Everywhere I go, there's a coffin lately. At least, this one was not open. The one in Ireland was open. An open coffin can be quite scary if you are not expecting it. In Trimdon, hearses, flowers and mourners sat next to armoured plated cars, satellites and more mourners. I am not sure if the grieving relatives knew what was going on as they drew up to find the world's media and half of Durham's constabulary parked up on the green.
A handful of anti-war protesters shouted their outrage; two of them in orange boiler suits with bags over their heads. I think they would have been better shouting: "Hurray, hurray" if they wanted to win hearts and souls. Instead, they had a loud claxon and shouted things like: "Come out. the building is surrounded by police." That was quite witty. They also shouted: "Shame" which is an utterly pointless thing to shout at any politician. Their banner said they were "Sedgefield against war". Maybe they were. The locals I heard talking to them said things like: "You're a bloody embarrassment, you are." If they are local, I do not think they have a big following.
It was a bit like the Oscars. The Oscars if just Billy Crystal turned up . Everyone got very excited when the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson appeared. Make that Billy Crystal and Ellen DeGeneres. Blair made a quick exit. He blew a kiss. Not to me. My husband was watching. Cherie waved at all of us. I waved back. She waved again. Not to me.
I thought about "Nan". I wondered if she would have gone along, if she was able. Whether she would have minded about Blair. If you get dead, and then you get buried. You want your funeral to be the biggest show in town, don't you? In any event, I have told my husband, next time, I am booking the tickets.