Travelling up the escalator to the sixth-floor office, I saw a gaping hole at the top and Mr L (my school history teacher) fell down. Fortunately, he swung himself back to safety like a gibbon. But I was fuming about the hazard and confronted my colleagues. My boss explained that someone I was at school with had damaged it playing “alcohol basketball”.
I stormed off to create a diversion. But when I arrived on the ground floor, there was a British-American ice pageant going on. I squeezed between two American women and sat in a red velvet seat. First, British and American ice athletes played badminton and ping pong and I feigned enthusiasm.
Then someone started playing a religious Christmas carol on a silver trumpet and I said, rather too loudly, “Oh, God. They’re not going to shove Jesus down our throats now, are they?” Immediately I realised how offensive something like this would be to the Americans so I muttered “….or any other religion” and hoped they’d forgive me. Then two royal-prince lookalikes entered the ice and the Americans got excited. “Is that Harry? Is that William?” one of them asked me. “No, it’s someone playing them”, I said, pointing to the seats opposite. “The real Harry is over there”. The Colonel sitting in front of me turned around and told me to shut up.