Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

I wrote about holidays last week and got a couple of emails (I am always amazed at how people get hold of my address).

One gave me a rollicking for not having a holiday, the implication being that everyone should have a holiday as a matter of duty.

This reminded me of a chap I knew when I lived in North Yorkshire. He was a local government official. I mentioned to him that we were off to visit Mother in Spain:

"You lucky people ( I could do with a holiday". "But," I said, "I thought you chaps got six weeks holiday". He glared at me: "That's leave, it's not a holiday".

When is leave not a holiday? I suppose the answer is when it is a casuistry, which as you know is defined as a "plausibly deceptive fallacy", like civil servant, come to think of it.

The other email suggested I must have led a very dull life, if I had never travelled. Ho! Ho! Ho! Fifteen countries at a rough count and then some in the Caucasus, whose names I always get muddled up and absolutely none of them at my own expense. I was fortunate in as much as I got a job with a London broadsheet in the twilight of the palmy days of expansive expenses. In fact, after my first month my editor's secretary telephoned me and asked where my expense sheet was?

I said that I did not have any, expenses that is. She sighed deeply and told me not to be silly: all journalists had expenses. This was true then ( there were men who banked their salaries and lived off their exes ( but in case you think that writing for The Journal is like wading through champagne, I did once get reimbursed for giving three ex-miners lunch at the Cook and Barker.

This was just a bit different from putting in a chit for pounds 8,000 for my trip to India. Different days, lads, different days. There were some very interesting days too, but in the end I was only too glad to put my passport in a drawer and hide away in the Cheviots.

My last major trip was to the Caucasus which was then in the middle of the umpteenth Chechen war. …

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