I have been annoying my colleagues over the past few days (nothing new there, they might say) by making constant references to my forthcoming holiday.
By the time you read this, I shall be eight hours behind you at the start of a week-long cultural study tour of California. Actually, I’m on a golf trip with a few of my friends: it’s an annual excursion that is one part City Slickers, one part Tin Cup, and one part The Hangover.
Like most men of a certain age, we revert to our teenage selves when we’re away from the responsibilities of real life, but we haven’t as yet kidnapped someone’s tiger. By the second day we’re there, we’re on first-name terms with most of the hotel staff: not difficult because everyone in the service industry in the States seems to wear a name badge. We have a rather juvenile competition to see who can remember the name of, for instance, the bellboy in Santa Barbara, or the barman in Carmel. And we’ll never forget Jessie, the 6ft 6in athlete who worked in the pro shop at Pebble Beach. Having spotted his name badge, one of our party, a cheeky Ulsterman, went to the desk and said: “I’m looking for a big Jessie.”
So, for the next week, this column will be penned by Stefano, our executive editor, and any complaints should be addressed directly to him. I shall be too busy having a chicken curry salad at the Urth Cafe (thanks, Alice, for the recommendation). Our splendid iPad app means I’ll be keeping an eye on you all, so you had better behave!
Last week, I mused on the subject of who would be your ideal choice as guest editor of this newspaper. The suggestions have continued to pour in - from the sublime (Joanna Lumley or Mariella Frostrup) to the ridiculous (Sir Alan Sugar or Ryan Giggs). I particularly admired the chutzpah of Michael Bowker: “As a reader since day one, I would like to suggest a nobody as guest editor - myself!” Not a bad idea for the people’s paper. Keep thinking. See you in a week (with a suntan)!