David Parkin on why his postman has gone all Michael Jordan and bitter lemon memories

YOU could call it a coincidence but two readers have recently sent me old photos of myself.

It could be a benevolent, munificent and solicitous attempt to keep my spirits from flagging in these challenging times.

Or they could just be taking the piss.

Firstly Richard Doyle sent me a photograph of me presenting him with an award when he ran IT business Esteem Systems.

“Try and put a date on this!” he said.


Well, judging by my hairline I would say about 2001.

But the names of the sponsors also provide a clue – Deloitte haven’t been Deloitte & Touche for a long time.

And it was some time ago that Pinsent Curtis Biddle started the trend for law firms adopting daft names and then pretending the rest of us didn’t find them silly.

Hot on the heels of Richard’s photo came a clipping from an old copy of the Yorkshire Post’s Tuesday business supplement.

It was sent by lawyer Rodney Dalton with a short note which said: “I wonder what happened to this handsome young man?”

I should point out that I don’t believe Rodney is such a fan of my work that he is in the habit of keeping my old newspaper columns, it just happened to be in a copy of the newspaper in which he had written an article.

Having taken the helm of this blog on a couple of occasions last year, you will know that Rodney has a reputation as a wordsmith whose searingly incisive commentary covers all the critical issues of the day such as restaurant openings, bar openings and cocktail recipes.


AN invitation arrived on LinkedIn this week.

“Hello David I hope you’re keeping well in these strange times. I’d like to invite you to a free 40 min guided calming webinar. All who attend will reduce anxiety levels immediately & permanently – & learn to do it for other situations – really. Ideal for your special event?”

I’d be a lot calmer if I didn’t get invitations like this.


Parky’s video clip of the week

You’ve heard the original by Dame Vera Lynn and I’m sure by now you’ve also heard the recent number one by Captain Tom Moore and Michael Ball.

But there’s another version of the stirring wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again you should hear too.

It’s by comedy legend Tommy Cooper.

Enjoy it.


What I’m looking forward to this week

YOU know you’ve been in lockdown when the highlight of your day is waiting for the post to arrive or wondering if the van that has parked outside is bringing your latest online delivery.

The approach of the different individuals making their deliveries is quite a contrast.

Take our postman.

Please. [That’s for my one reader who has heard of Henny Youngman.]

Unlike most Royal Mail staff I’ve met, he doesn’t appear to enjoy his job.

He wears a permanent scowl, although that expression probably helps him keep the cigarettes he chains smokes in position.

And he’s perfected the art of not so much dropping parcels on our front step as throwing them in mid-stride like a rugby or basketball player.

He’s probably been watching the acclaimed Netflix documentary The Last Dance about Jordan’s time with the Chicago Bulls.


Reasons to be cheerful

LAST week I mentioned receiving some career advice from stockbroker Keith Loudon of Redmayne Bentley.

He told me I should go off and give talks on cruise ships.

I’m not sure whether that was because he thought I’d be good at it or he’d prefer me to be several thousand miles away on the other side of the world.

Keith followed it up with a phone call to point out that all the best people have to reinvent themselves during their career.

“Take Ken Dodd,” Keith said to me.

“He used to reinvent his act every 10 years – that’s how he introduced the Diddy Men.”

Keith’s got a point.

If I’m going to go off and entertain on cruise ships, I’ll need more than just one turn.


I’m now on the look out for a dummy….


I’VE been doing some voluntary work during lockdown.

It is only shopping and delivering groceries for people in the local community, but it makes me feel like I’m at least making a contribution.

And it has taken me to parts of the supermarket I’ve not been to in some time.

I’ve not had tins of fruit cocktail for years, well certainly not since they ran out of organic kumquats at our local fruiterer.

And black pudding. I’ve not eaten that since Fortnum & Mason forgot to include Beluga Caviar in their last hamper delivery.

And bitter lemon took me down memory lane too.

It always seemed very grown up to drink it when I was child.

I drank it even though I didn’t really like the taste.

It was nothing like R Whites lemonade.

Seeing it on the shopping list reminded me of an Alan Bennett vignette.

In Untold Stories he recalls a telephone call from his mother:

“Mam rang up in some excitement. ‘Your Dad and me have found an alcoholic drink that we really like. It’s called bitter lemon.'”

Have a great weekend.

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