At 78, Mail columnist Keith Waterhouse has become so curmudgeonly that he rarely ventures out of his EarlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Court garret and declines virtually all invitations to social gatherings.
Last week his friend John McEntee of the Daily Mail Ã¢â‚¬’ described by Keith as Ã¢â‚¬Å“my social secretaryÃ¢â‚¬ Ã¢â‚¬’ managed to lure him to his favourite restaurant in Knightsbridge to have lunch with former Mirror colleagues Mike Molloy, John Penrose (soon to be the ex-Mr Anne Robinson) and John Edwards.
All went swimmingly as they enjoyed pre-lunch drinks on the restaurantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s terrace. With the clock ticking and McEntee the only one who was obliged to return to work, he suggested that they might adjourn to the table and take a glance at the menu.
Waterhouse gave him a withering look and asked the loquacious Irishman if he knew what Kingsley Amis described as the worst phrase in the English language. It was: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Shall we go straight in?Ã¢â‚¬