Dance part­ner Fergie’s got ex-fac­tor at royal bash

THIS MAN’S LIFE

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - BARRY EGAN

‘WE should con­sider ev­ery day lost on which we have not danced at least once,” said Friedrich Ni­et­zsche.

The sage words of an iconic Ger­man philoso­pher aside, none of us were danc­ing last Satur­day af­ter­noon as we found our­selves lost in deep­est Co Wick­low. At 2pm, we en­tered the 2,000m beech hedge maze at Russ­bor­ough House. And, like the ee­jit I am, I didn’t bring the map of the maze — think­ing how dif­fi­cult could a maze be?

Fif­teen min­utes later my fam­ily and I were go­ing around in cir­cles.

My wife and I and the two young kids — a baby boy of eight months in his buggy and his big sis­ter, who will be four in Fe­bru­ary — had a feed of sand­wiches and cake in the fancy cafe, so we weren’t im­me­di­ately wor­ried about starv­ing to death in Bless­ing­ton in the un­likely event we couldn’t find our way out of the maze. Af­ter about an hour of tak­ing turns only to come back to where we started from, my daugh­ter took charge and said: “It’s that way!” And it was that way. It was like a metaphor for life. A three-year-old guid­ing her 51-year-old fa­ther to­wards the exit.

My mood didn’t im­prove dra­mat­i­cally on the drive back into the city when my wife told me that Manch­ester United were two down to Newcastle with the game only 10 min­utes old.

My daugh­ter was de­cid­edly un­sur­prised as she said Jose was a grumpy man and, any­way, wanted the phone switched from the woe-is-me Por­tuguese cur­mud­geon to the slightly more up­beat Peppa Pig.

The fol­low­ing day we stayed off the in­ter­net all day. This had its draw­backs.

We were in a restau­rant in Balls­bridge hav­ing tea when we got chat­ting to a cou­ple op­po­site. We told them we were go­ing to the Kylie Minogue con­cert that evening. (My daugh­ter had been to Tay­lor Swift dur­ing the sum­mer, so we thought we’d try her on Kylie, if only for half an hour, as guests of pro­moter ex­traor­di­naire Peter Aiken.)

The cou­ple next to us re­layed the sad news that the petite Aus­tralian pop­pet’s con­cert was off. Upon be­ing told that she would not be bop­ping to Kylie later, my daugh­ter put on a grumpy face wor­thy of Jose Mour­inho. But the day was saved and she soon for­got Kylie when the waiter in the restau­rant pro­duced a scoop of pink ice cream as a con­so­la­tion treat.

******* Danc­ing with the roy­als? Yes, in 2007, I danced with the Duchess of York at a sum­mer party in El­ton John’s stately pile set on 37 acres of rolling coun­try­side by Wind­sor Cas­tle.

I still think I have the bruise on my toe from Fergie tread­ing on it (as the afore­said Kylie, Kate Moss, Rod Ste­wart and wife Penny joined us on the dance­floor to the sound of the Pet Shop Boys, who were also phys­i­cally present at El­ton’s char­ity do).

Eleven years later, walk­ing into St George’s Chapel in Wind­sor last Fri­day morn­ing to at­tend the wed­ding of her daugh­ter Princess Eu­ge­nie, Sarah Fer­gu­son looked like an air host­ess from the 1970s in that ridic hat. That be as it may, the big jolly red­head looked like the jol­liest per­son in the church, too. There is an apoc­ryphal story that Prince Charles once thun­dered at Diana: “Why can’t you be more like Fergie?”

You have to ad­mire Sarah Fer­gu­son. While not ex­actly a saint, she has put up with much from the House of Wind­sor with a cer­tain grace. The Queen’s pri­vate sec­re­tary Lord Char­teris once de­scribed her thus: “Vul­gar! Vul­gar! Vul­gar!”

Sit­ting not that far from her at the wed­ding, the Duke of Ed­in­burgh once thun­dered to the Queen that the Duchess of York “does noth­ing” and “is point­less”. He was said to march out of the room when she ap­peared on the tele­vi­sion.

Then there was, in April 2011, her very pub­lic non­in­vi­ta­tion to the wed­ding of Wil­liam and Kate at West­min­ster Abbey. Fergie said she never ex­pected to be in­vited any­way. What made the pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion that bit more hu­mil­i­at­ing was that her two daugh­ters, Princesses Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie, were among the 1,900 in­vited guests. Any­way, it was good to see my for­mer dance part­ner back, how­ever briefly, in the good books of her majesty.

My own majesty — my mother — is eight years dead to­day. I will visit her grave this morn­ing. I will never for­get her brief speech at my fa­ther’s fu­neral. She said, “Good­bye Pete. I love you and I hope to see you soon.”

Mau­reen then stopped and smiled. “But not too soon, Pete.”

This mis­chievous side of my mother’s was also man­i­fest one af­ter­noon in 2008 or 2009. I had in­ter­viewed Louis Walsh in town. I asked him did he want to come up to the fam­ily home in Church­town to meet my mother Mau­reen who was, I said, not ex­ag­ger­at­ing, a huge fan of The X Fac­tor.

When The X Fac­tor judge ar­rived in the kitchen, my mother barely blinked. In­deed, when Louis asked would she like to come over to Lon­don to watch The X Fac­tor in the stu­dio, she mor­ti­fied me by say­ing she’d rather watch it in her own front room. That didn’t stop my sis­ters tak­ing Louis up on his kind in­vi­ta­tion many times over the years.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.