Don't mention the war to Queen Victoria

She would have been devastated to see her own grandson trying to destroy England
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The Independent Online

"What do you suppose has happened to him?" said the man at the bar as I entered the pub. "Ever since the shock of his defeat, there hasn't been a sign of him. Has he gone into hiding? Is he sneaking around in dark glasses?"

"What do you suppose has happened to him?" said the man at the bar as I entered the pub. "Ever since the shock of his defeat, there hasn't been a sign of him. Has he gone into hiding? Is he sneaking around in dark glasses?"

"Probably been spirited out to Russia," I said.

They stared at me in amazement.

"Why would Kevin Keegan be spirited away to Russia?" said the man at the bar.

"Sorry, sorry," I said. "I thought you were talking about Milosevic. Look," I said to the landlord, "you be pouring me a pint of beer, and I'll go out and come in again and we can start that again."

So I went out and came back in again, and the man at the bar was saying, as I entered: "The only thing today is to pull it all to bits and start all over again. It never worked in the first place."

"That's right," I said. "Wembley Stadium. Right?"

"No," said the man at the bar. "The England football team."

"Right," I said. "Shall I go outside and come back in again and start all over again?"

"Just sit down and drink your pint and shut up," said the man at the bar.

"Chap's been popping in and out as if he were smoking cannabis," said the Major.

(I think I've mentioned the Major before. He's not a major at all. But some newspaper once said that all pubs should have a major, and as we hadn't got one, he was universally voted into the job and became known as the Major. Funny thing is, he has grown into his new status and now behaves like what he thinks a major should behave like, saying things like "chap's popping in and out...")

"I don't think people start dashing about madly when they smoke cannabis," said the pink-haired lady. "I think they relax."

"I don't think people who smoke cannabis refer to it as 'cannabis'," said the resident Welshman. "I think practitioners call it 'pot'."

"I don't think anyone here has any first-hand knowledge of cannabis at all," said the man with the dog.

There was a roar of dissent, which melted into laughter.

"I'll rephrase that," said the man with the dog. "I think everyone here seems to have had first-hand experience of cannabis."

"What we haven't had is direct experience of Ann Widdecombe," said the man at the bar. "I believe that direct exposure to Ann Widdecombe over a period of months can leave you deaf and damage your brain."

"Does it lead to the harder stuff?" said someone.

"How can it? There's nothing more mind-altering than Ann Widdecombe," said the man at the bar.

"According to one of the Sunday papers," said the pink lady, "several Tory frontbench spokesmen tried socialism when they were young, but it made them sick and they haven't touched it since."

"It's all hypocrisy anyway," said the man at the bar. "All the shadow Cabinet at some time or other have driven a car while over the drink limit. Would they then be unfit to argue against drink-driving laws? On the contrary. They would be even more credible. Same with cannabis. If you have tried it, you know what you are talking about."

"Whenever I've tried it, I haven't known what the hell I was talking about," said the pink lady.

"I seem to recall that Queen Victoria used cannabis to combat her period pains," said the resident Welshman.

"How did she take it?" said someone. "She didn't smoke. Did she take it in fluid form? Or in a hash cake?"

"Or maybe John Brown put it in a haggis for her," said someone.

"The one thing I'm glad of with Queen Victoria," said the pink lady, "is that she didn't live to see the Great War. After all, the Kaiser was her grandson, and she would have been devastated to see her own grandson trying to destroy England. Family quarrels are bad enough, but that's going too far."

"Incidentally," said the man at the bar, "what ever happened to the Kaiser after the Great War? He seems to have vanished from history, but I am sure he lived for years and years after that."

"I should think that after the hideous shock of leading his country to defeat, he probably went into hiding and wore dark glasses and shaved off his moustache," I said, just as the door opened and a young man came in.

"Why should Kevin Keegan shave his moustache off?" said the young man. "He hasn't got one."

He was rather surprised when we bundled him outside and made him come in and start all over again.

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