Saturday, December 23

The ghost of Christmas present

Five days on the trot, up town, – on or before 09:00hrs. By up town I mean Tuesday to Exeter, Wednesday Newton Abbot, Thursday Plymouth, Friday Totnes and this morning to Tavistock. If I haven’t got it by now we’re doing without. Today’s excursion was to collect our goose from the Beaworthy lad. It may be a beaut but by the middle of next week I’ll be sick of the thing. Today is Pie Day – three of my favourites. So little time, so much scoff. There’s a picture of Godrew Smith in today’s Times obits, and by rights I should more resemble the doughty trencherman than the waif I am. …Smith believed that enjoyment was an essential component of editorial life. Thus his fortnightly ideas sessions, held in the office, involved caterers bringing in rare beef, York ham, salads and chilled Chablis; office gossip took precedence over editorial matters; features were conjured up on a wave of exuberance. “He had an utter enveloping joviality,” said one of his reporters, Philip Norman, adding, “He was the ghost of Christmas present.” Reminds me of a place we once knew.

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