Luckily yesterdays questions were answered quite quickly when Crispian came back from his scouting mission and pointed out we were just outside Marseilles. But I had no time even to slag off the French National Anthem, I needed to hotfoot (NOT HOTSTEP – Ini Kamoze fans) it back to the UK. Well, after a few well placed gin and tonics in the station bar and a long trip on the SNCF to Calais. 

I had considered a trip on the Eurostar, but since my journey to the centre of the earth/Sue Lawley, I had become a touch claustrophobic. Also I remembered as a child enjoying a trip on a ferry (not across the Mersey) with only the decidedly not rhythmic burr of the engine and the sound of vomiting to distract me. Also the ferry had a bar and Duty Free on it, where I loaded Crispian down with all the latest advances in Gin brewing technology. Whilst Beefeaters Crown Jewel seems a step too far, it didn’t stop me loading up on twelve bottles of it, and necking one of them just as the White Cliffs of Dover came into view. Readers: I was home with almost a day to spare! 


There is nothing like a Dame, according to some rubbish song. I tend to disagree. A Lady, or a Princess, or even a Queen is quite a bit like a Dame. But one thing I know for sure, when I see anything that is vaguely like royalty I run a mile. Not due to a lack of faith in the monarchy. More that I have been burned too many times by Queen, Prince, King and even Princess (with or without the Superstar). As for Dames: Well your Shirley Bassey is enough to give them a wide berth, before you get on to Dame Vera Lynn.

Ever wondered why the Germans did not try that little bit harder to conquer Britain in WWII? For all the gallant efforts of our lads in their Spitfires, and the hand impregnability of the English Channel, the  would have succeeded if the Germans had tried that little bit harder*. Truth is Hitler, Himmler and Goering had heard The White Cliffs Of Dover by DVL and frankly they didn’t think they sounded up to much. Why expend all this effort taking over this country when the country sounds so rubbish? Are chalky cliffs all they have to be proud of? And Bluebirds**? That this countries pride was intrinsically tied up in a big of craggy rock suggested to the otherwise ruthless Nazi’s that this was a country that was not EVEN WORTH invading. Sending unmanned missiles yes (the V2, a development on the much more destructive time-travelling boyband weapon which was its prototype: the V).

For aiding us in our war effort, Vera Lynn deserved here Damehood. For being the only artist around in 1943 she earned the headline slot at that years Glastonbury (The Blackout Year). For making appallingly sentimental unlistenable toss which is unlistenable to unless you are on drugs, she earned status as a drug nickname.  

*For example, just by attaching the word Bop to it would have sent much of the city of London screaming from this Ramones style hell.

**When was the last time you saw a bluebird in Britain?