Sunday, 12 March 2017


So Wikileaks is back in the news, and I for one am unfazed. Been there, done the photo shoot, the listening devices and Big Brother reading my emails. I went to the sort of boarding school where reading one’s correspondence was par for the course you see, and later lived in Moscow for three years, where we would always shoot a dazzling smile at the chandelier before launching into even the most innocent of conversations. 

As mentioned in last week’s blog, we do not possess a TV. In the light of the latest revelations about the FBI spying on us through our electrical appliances, will this absence of a set in my home now to be considered with grave suspicion? Will I be allowed to plead innocence by offsetting the lack of such a device with an electric toothbrush, toaster or mosquito zapper?

Can I ask for my dinky little Bluetooth speaker to be taken into consideration? I’ll bet that electric blanket could tell anyone who was interested a whole lot more about my private life than a TV set, frankly. And I won’t even mention the fridge. Anyone capable of spying seditious behaviour through the mayhem and tsunami which explodes the minute I open the fridge door this week, deserves my unmitigated admiration.

Hobbling around with a couple of crutches doesn’t leave much possibility to clear it out, you should understand. There are an amazing number of things one can achieve with one operable leg, one operated foot and two pre-occupied hands, but clearing out a fridge isn’t among them. There is an advanced life form lurking at the back of the salad drawer which could turn into a lethal weapon at the drop of a hat.

I once had a girlfriend whose foot was notoriously heavy on the accelerator whilst driving her cute little sports number and, as a result, she was constantly setting off those sneaky speed traps which take such unflattering photos of one’s number plate. She consequently spent a lot of her time touching up her make up just in case she was included in the picture and not represented at her very best. It never bothered her either, so long as she had her war paint on.

I always found it rather hard to get excited about Wikileaks when it first hit the papers in 2012. At the time, apart from the Saudi Arabians asking the USA not very nicely to please bomb Iran before it was too late, most of it was gossip magazine fodder. Not that I would know what gossip mags print, being far too intellectual to actually go out and buy one and far too busy to spend time at the hairdresser’s reading their back copies. One has one’s reputation as a literary snob, (based primarily on two poems published in the school magazine at the age of twelve and a couple of hundred letters from well-known publishers most regretfully rejecting my subsequent manuscripts,) to consider.

But to go back to Wikileaks.

Being disparaging about politicians and rubbishing Berlusconi was an international pastime for most of the world anyway at the time, so there wasn’t much new there, after all. Furthermore, I confess to having had some difficulty understanding how you could arrest someone for rape when both sides apparently declared that what they were having was consensual sex up until the moment when the condom popped. And whilst we are on this subject, I have yet to meet anyone of either sex who would be capable of realising, during the height of the moment, that the condom had clapped out. It’s not like they go off in a burst of fireworks and a roll of drums, or at least, not with the men that I have had, perhaps, the misfortune to encounter, though I can understand how some of them might feel highly flattered at the very notion. It could be that I have been missing out on something earth shatteringly moving in this particular department, but explosions and resultant earthquakes seem to have passed me by. What can I say? Should I go out and conduct a survey amongst my fellow Wives Of ….in order to better comprehend whether this has formed part of their extracurricular diplomatic experiences? No, I must confess to a certain degree of ignorance here because conversations of this nature did not crop up too often during official dinners or rather dire Ladies Luncheons. And just as well, because if the US ambo had been present it would have been all over Newsweek the next morning, presumably.

A modicum of bitching has, of course, always been carried out over the dinner table. In fact, just so long as they didn’t require names, they could have read my columns and used their imaginations without needing to set up a witch hunt for poor Julian who, frankly, should have been an antiques dealer in the first place with a name like that.

But what does interest me in all this, is the inevitable frenetic interest in other people’s private opinions, conversations and considerations. In fact I see some great career openings ahead because if that is what people really want, any old bored wife of not particularly career- manic diplomat could provide it most happily on a silver salver. We spend our entire time eavesdropping and some of us can even read and write.

Just name your price.