‘Annoying the lovely wife is just not cricket’

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I am sitting in the House of Spice on a Saturday night.

It’s the first time I have been in here for three or four years and it is nice to revisit an old haunt.

In the good old days BC, ( before children) the House of Spice was very accommodating after a tour of the pubs of Thame High Street, and the memories flood back as I wolf down the popadoms.

It is 8pm on a Saturday but the restaurant is quiet. There is a family group to my right and just arriving is a distinguished looking chap, with his companion.

I take no notice but as he settles in there is something about his voice that jogs my memory. I’m sure I know that voice, but where from?

It is a rarity to be out with Mrs The Thamensian so I try and stay attentive as we stare listlessly into each other’s eyes. I am doing all I can to hang on her every word, but there is another voice distracting me. And not just the voices in my head this time.

An audio clue comes my way. There is a hint of Australia in the accent. What famous Australians do I know? Jason Donovan? No, too old. Harold Bishop? Skippy? No none of those. Perhaps it is sport. So cricket then. I look for hints of a hair weave. Nope, not Shane Warne.

I stop.

The bloke is staring at me as I stare at him. Ooops. Mrs The Thamensnian is staring at me because I am staring at a bloke on the other table.

I must try and make her aware of why I am ruining her night out. But the tables are too close so I can’t whisper, and she has her back to him and can’t turn round.

I text her. ‘Don’t turn round but I think there’s someone famous behind you’. BEEP goes her phone. She is now staring at me even more for texting during our romantic meal, but I notice she reads the text. I remind myself to have words after. Ever subtle, she turns 180 degrees and stares full frontal at the celebrity with no name. A second later my phone beeps. ‘No idea who he is. Shall we order now?’

Good idea. Concentrate and leave the mystery man alone. A-lone. A cloney. Coney. “JEREMY CONEY” I shout.

And the former new Zealand international bowler turned test match special commentator looks up from his meal, nods politely at me and raises his glass, seemingly pleased just to be recognised.

I am equally pleased. The memory banks still work then. Wonder what he is doing in Thame.

What’s he ordering? I will keep an eye on him and listen in to his conversation, just in case he is equally charming in real life as on the radio.

My phone beeps.

‘I AM over here, on your table. HE is not famous. YOU are an idiot.”