I was walking back across Hampstead Heath when I saw two young schoolgirls, aged about 14, coming towards me, laughing and shouting, arms around each other, all very harmless, all very normal for that time of day, it being coming-out-of-school time. They were from Parliament Hill School, which one of my daughters used to attend, though I didn't know either of these girls. Not that I was taking much notice.
As they approached, one of them stopped and smiled at me. "I like your walking stick," she said. "It's very fashionable." I've got this poorly knee, having had a total knee replacement seven months ago which I wish I'd never had, what a mistake, don't get me started. My stick is more of a prop really, but it is rather smart, sort of black cane. And it's collapsible, which you wouldn't realise, looking at it. It folds into five sections. I got it at Firn's in Cockermouth, only £14. Mail order, they're much more expensive.
"Thank you," I said to the girl.
For a moment, I thought, "I'll demonstrate its wonders, collapse it in front of them, won't they be amazed, then snap it straight again." That always amuses my two granddaughters, aged five and six. Then I thought, "No, could look a bit pathetic, trying to impress 14-year-olds."
Both girls smiled, started to walk on, until they were right beside me. The other girl suddenly stopped, held out her arms towards me. "Would you like a hug?"
I was totally taken aback. Into my head came the front page of next week's Camden New Journal: "Old git in sixties accosts 14-year-old schoolgirls". Nobody, in this present age, would ever believe my version.
"Er, how kind, but er, no thanks," I said, walking on hurriedly.
When I got home I told my wife. She gave me a funny look. "I think they were being satirical," she said.
"Don't be daft," I said. "It's part of the national euphoria". I'd noticed that one of them was wearing an England T-shirt, obviously still carried away by the general air of rejoicing. Our lads winning does perk us all up. I myself have felt a warm glow all week, but I didn't manage to get to any of the street parties - a bit too cold, and there's my poorly knee. But I bet all shops will now have a record Xmas, shares will rise, and Tony Blair will win any vote he wants. Gordon Brown will smile, even though none of the England team plays for East Fife. Or is his team Raith Rovers? I've got confused with all the excitement.
Having already won the World Cup, Sven deserves his four-month break. I clearly saw him standing up. Totally brilliant. And he once even went to the touchline. Now that was a master stroke.
After that 3-2 win over Argentina, I take back anything nasty I ever said about him. We are so lucky having him, and so cheaply. It's an insult to his brilliance, paying him only £4m a year. Rooney of course is a genius. So is Wee Michael. Ditto Becks. In fact, we have a team full of geniuses. Gawd, we are so fortunate, living in these times.
Yes, the guys got in each other's way now and again, and the Argies did rather carve us up in the first half-hour, but hey, they are a good team. But not as good as us. Nobody is. Little wonder that Brazil, Germany, Italy, France have all backed out of going to Germany, scared shitless by the very thought of Rooney and Owen. I read that in the Sun, or was it the Mirror? But of course it would be pointless them going anyway, as we've already won.
I'll treasure for ever that image of Becks holding aloft the 2006 World Cup in Geneva after that amazing win, which John Motson described so graphically. That was the final, wasn't it?
I'm sure that's what Motty said. I've tried to contact him, but he experienced so many orgasms during that game that he's been lying down in a dark room ever since. Well, he is an old gent in his sixties. He shouldn't get so excited, but it is very easy to get carried away, misunderstand the signals. I've sent him my stick.
It might help him to get around, once he returns to normal life . . .