Lunch­ing with spies like us

Daily Express - - FREDERICK FORSYTH -

WHAT a small world it is. The other day I was ring­ing an in­sur­ance com­pany on the sub­ject of a bit of cover for my next for­eign hol­i­day trip. The ex­ec­u­tive asked if I was the au­thor. I con­ceded that I was. “We have met,” he said, “but many years ago.”

Not ter­ri­bly un­usual. I have met quite a few peo­ple but this was dif­fer­ent. In an ear­lier ca­reer the now se­nior in­sur­ance ex­ec­u­tive was once a waiter at a Lon­don ho­tel where I lunched reg­u­larly, the Mont­calm in Great Cum­ber­land Place. He was the head waiter.

He went on to greater things. I left Lon­don and re­tired to the coun­try. The din­ing room was given a com­plete re­fur­bish­ment. But ap­par­ently they put up a plaque to say I used to lunch at that table “with spies and mer­ce­nar­ies”.

Well, all right, when I was re­search­ing thriller nov­els I used to have some rather odd lunch guests but I haven’t been re­minded of that for many years.

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