27 May 2002
7 October 2013
18 October 2013
23 September 2013
22 July 2013
13 March 2014
The head of department has sent round a memo warning that he's taking special note of swipecard check-in times for the duration of the World Cup, but the prospect of watching England holds no fears for the Lawyer - he's invited his top five clients to a series of seminars at the local Aussie sports bar and is writing the whole lot down as practice development.
That only takes care of a handful of games, though; for the rest, he's booked out the video conference suite, claiming that he's reached that delicate, hand-holding stage in a crucial Far Eastern deal, and bribed the office manager to set up a live satellite link. Only the fear of not hitting target next month stopped him from actually going out there and trying to close the deal - a lifetime of imagining that England could actually win the thing prepares you for most fantasies, I've found, although none that seem to involve me, unfortunately.
Things are not so easy for Subjudice, on whom the sins of the fathers are definitely being visited. Enough years of your dad commandeering the TV to watch Manchester United matches will get you hooked, and now she's desperate to see the games. The first week is covered by holiday, but subsequent games are proving difficult. She's currently lobbying Mrs Wright, the head of PE, to run special screenings at school, claiming that it qualifies under a whole spectrum of national curriculum must-haves: citizenship, sports development, geography, physiotherapy work experience…
Alas, she attends the toughest girls' private school in the county, where the only sport that counts is a violent form of netball requiring heavy body padding. Football, I'm afraid, is seen as rather a wussy game, so she's trying to prove that it deserves a place in school by championing the ladies' football team at the Lawyer's firm. She managed to drag both the Lawyer and Mrs Wright along to the last match of the season, having led Mrs Wright to believe she'd be discussing a huge donation to the new sports hall, while the Lawyer thought she'd be retaining him to draw up the contract. This being business, they bored each other rigid with two hours of small talk before realising they'd been set up, by which time Subbie had demonstrated her point. In spite of all the Lawyer's sneering beforehand - the only balls you girls can master are charity ones etc etc - the game was fast and furious, with four goals scored in the first 15 minutes, and all of them from the blistering left foot of his new assistant, the one who hates closing projects. "I wish she'd show that sort of finish in the office," the Lawyer mused, as goal number five cannoned into the net.
The Lawyer was most impressed by the ladies' elbow work, which scythed through the opposition - a pale group of public sector specialists, who spend too much time under NHS strip lighting and not enough enjoying freebies on the golf course - and occasioned an almighty punch-up just before the final whistle.
"Good show!" the Lawyer and Mrs Wright cried in unison, as our striker pushed her opposing number into the goalposts, which cracked asunder and buried the goalie, who came out fists flailing and had to be sat on by the captain.
"Do you know, I think there might be something in this game," Mrs Wright said to the Lawyer. But he had gone to sort out his assistant, who was nursing a broken hand - he's now got to type all her amendments for the next two weeks. Beckham's foot is as nothing compared to it.