Ernie Els fist-bumped me with the im­mor­tal words: ‘The Big Morgy!’

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - NEWS - Piers MORGAN

MON­DAY, MAY 22

I sped to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show af­ter pre­sent­ing Good Morn­ing Bri­tain, and bumped straight into So­phie Ra­worth, once my favourite long-liq­uid-lunch part­ner but now a dis­turbingly clean-liv­ing, marathon­run­ning ad­dict.

‘En­joy­ing the early starts?’ she beamed, know­ingly. ‘They’re killing me,’ I groaned.

So­phie hosted BBC’s Break­fast for two years with Jeremy Bowen, who re­vealed this week that the show took a greater toll on his health than 25 years of war re­port­ing.

‘I started get­ting th­ese un­ex­pected stom­ach pains,’ said Bowen. ‘They never got to the bot­tom of it. Then I stopped get­ting up at 3.30am, and the pains went away.’

So­phie gri­maced at the mem­ory. ‘Jeremy gen­uinely thought he was dy­ing!’

‘I know the feel­ing,’ I nod­ded. ‘But if it does kill me, at least I’ll have the com­fort of go­ing to my grave never hav­ing run a marathon.’

Su­perchef and fel­low Arse­nal fan Ray­mond Blanc was also at the flower show. He was wildly ex­cited by ru­mours of his friend Arsène Wenger sign­ing a new con­tract as man­ager, de­spite 13 years of Pre­mier League fail­ure.

‘I couldn’t be hap­pier!’ he ex­claimed. ‘I couldn’t be un­hap­pier,’ I replied. ‘I know. That makes me even hap­pier!’ he guf­fawed.

He then spent 10 min­utes an­i­mat­edly de­tail­ing to my par­ents how he makes his beet­root ter­rine with horse­rad­ish sor­bet, af­ter I said it was one of the great­est things I’d ever eaten.

If Wenger had half his Gal­lic mate’s pas­sion, in­ten­sity, ge­nius and flair, Arse­nal might win the League again.

TUES­DAY, MAY 23

Very sad to hear that Sir Roger Moore has died. Of all the 84 guests I’ve in­ter­viewed on Life Sto­ries, he was the most charming. He was also the per­fect gen­tle­man.

He told me he’d say to all Bond girls be­fore film­ing a sex scene: ‘Ex­cuse me, I want to apol­o­gise now if I get an erec­tion.’ Then he’d pause be­fore adding: ‘And if I don’t.’

WED­NES­DAY, MAY 24

Few things un­set­tle me, but at­tend­ing the star-stud­ded BMW PGA pro-am golf tour­na­ment at Went­worth as a player is most def­i­nitely one of them.

It’s one thing to shank my way round a course with just my play­ing part­ners to wit­ness it; it’s quite another to do it in front of 20,000 spec­ta­tors and on Sky Sports.

It was a blis­ter­ingly hot day, so I opted for shorts and an­kle socks, thus re­veal­ing legs so un­con­tam­i­nated by re­cent sun­shine, an al­bino would re­ject them as too ashen.

‘There’s a ban on thigh-length white socks,’ Alan Shearer scoffed when he saw me on the prac­tice putting green, caus­ing Ian Wright to ex­plode with laugh­ter.

My team was made up of cricket leg­ends Kevin Pi­etersen and Brian Lara, and golf­ing great Ernie ‘the Big Easy’ Els.

There was a large crowd wait­ing as we ar­rived at our first tee, in­clud­ing my break­fast TV ‘ri­val’ Dan Walker. ‘Don’t get ner­vous, Piers,’ he shouted. ‘I know you’re not used to an au­di­ence this big…’ ‘Have a nice dull, pre­dictable, en­ter­tain­ment-de­void round,’ I coun­tered. ‘Like your show.’

The high­light of a fan­tas­tic day came when I mirac­u­lously holed a 20ft putt and Els fist­bumped me with the im­mor­tal words: ‘The Big Morgy!’ The low­light came when a seven-yearold boy asked for an au­to­graph. ‘Thanks,’ he said af­ter I’d signed his pro­gramme. ‘By the way, my dad thinks you’re a com­plete chop­per.

FRI­DAY, MAY 26

There are few things more em­bar­rass­ing than try­ing to wres­tle a packed carry-on case into an un­der­sized over­head plane lug­gage locker. For sev­eral min­utes on a flight to Nice, I pushed, pulled, punched and rammed away, but still my case res­o­lutely re­fused to slide in.

A line of pas­sen­gers built up, ob­serv­ing the hu­mil­i­at­ing spec­ta­cle in fum­ing si­lence. ‘Maybe take out some of ze clothes?’ snapped an ex­as­per­ated French­man even­tu­ally. Sud­denly, Brexit didn’t seem such a bad idea.

I re-at­tacked the case with venom, fi­nally smash­ing it in with a wor­ry­ingly loud crunch­ing sound. ‘Strug­gling there, Mr Morgan?’ chuck­led a burly-framed, shaven-headed, nose-man­gled man be­hind me.

It was Mike Tin­dall, for­mer Eng­land rugby cap­tain. Be­hind him was his wife, Zara Phillips, 16th in line to the Bri­tish throne.

She was star­ing at the floor, slowly shak­ing her head like she’d just en­coun­tered the vil­lage id­iot.

MON­DAY, MAY 29

I’m in St Tropez for half term with my fam­ily, and tonight we went for a post-din­ner stroll through the port. ‘This is where all the su­pery­achts are parked,’ I told my nieces, ‘usu­ally full of the world’s most an­noy­ing peo­ple.’

As if on cue, my brother ex­claimed: ‘Good God, that looks like Jeremy Clark­son!’

WHAT? Sure enough, there was the un­mis­tak­able physique of my once mor­tal en­emy lurk­ing in the bow­els of a ma­jes­ti­clook­ing wooden ves­sel. ‘Clark­son!’ I bel­lowed.

He re­acted like a har­poon had just jagged into his ex­pan­sive lower-ab­dom­i­nal re­gion. ‘Morgan! What the **** are you do­ing here?!’

‘Look­ing for some­one to clean my dad’s car,’ I replied. ‘You free?’

In the good old days of our 10-year feud, we’d have started club­bing each other to death. In­stead, to the be­muse­ment of my fam­ily, we ex­changed warm hand­shakes and greet­ings.

‘I’m com­pletely trol­lied,’ Clark­son de­clared. ‘Not en­tirely sure how I even got here, though I think it in­volved a he­li­copter.’

WED­NES­DAY, MAY 31

Arsène Wenger to­day signed a new two-year con­tract. It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary how icily de­tached I now feel about some­one I once so ar­dently wor­shipped. As Socrates said: ‘The hottest love has the cold­est end.’

I will never men­tion his name again.

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