|Edinburgh City Chambers|
But this was different. For the last few weeks FB's mantelpiece had proudly borne a card of a serious and official demeanour telling him that The Lord Provost and Council of the City of Edinburgh request the honour of his presence at a Reception on the City Chambers. No less.
The far more significant honour of Mrs FB's presence was also requested.
To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Carlton Cricket Club.
For not only is the go ahead club go ahead, it is venerable. Not as venerable as the City Chambers perhaps, which started life in 1760 as the Royal Exchange, before the Council took it over in 1811 as the City Chambers. 1811 is also the year in which the lease on the original Lords Old Ground expired and the MCC found themselves following Doughty Groundsman Thomas Lord to his new Middle Ground for the next three years. FB is uncertain whether there is a link between the two events.
Faced with such a summons, Fantasy Bob could leave nothing to chance. Even without significant prompting from Mrs FB, he found a tie. He had combed what remains of his hair. He had ensured that his socks matched. He was as presentable in polite company as he is ever likely to be.
The glitterati of the Carlton community had all scrubbed up well and thronged the reception room to listen as earnest speeches of congratulations were made by Council dignitaries. The applause rang out when attention was drawn to the sumptuous buffet.
It was then that FB was overcome. He turned white. He could not speak. Colleagues suspected he had been overcome with the majesty of the occasion. Or perhaps it was that standing, chatting and sipping wine all at the same time was at least one task too many for his limited powers of concentration.
Doughty Groundsmen and former club officials turned to his assistance. A seat was proffered. FB waved it away. Still unable to speak he pointed at the buffet, shaking his head. Slowly he managed to form the words to spell out the awful truth.
'Where..........................are.............................the ................................empire ..................................biscuits?'
A hush fell over the room. Slowly it dawned on the company. While the buffet table groaned with canapes and sandwiches, FB's staple foodstuff, which has become synonymous with the go ahead and venerable cricket club, was nowhere to be seen. Of empire biscuits there were none. Not even a photograph of them. It was only with some effort that the attendants quelled the incipient riot.
FB understands that a full inquiry will be launched by the Lord Provost's office into how such an oversight could have occurred.
His worldwide readership will be comforted to know that FB recovered quickly from his trauma. However it is not certain whether he will ever be able to enter the City Chambers again without a sense of deep dark dread. It will be like going out to bat knowing that there is a leg spinner bowling.
|Conspicuous by their absence at the City Chambers|