6.45 AM, and the phone began to ring, next to my bed. I ignored it.
At 6.50 AM, and intervals of 5 minutes thereafter (a total of 4 times) the phone rang again, until - unable to bear it any longer - I picked up the hand-set and answered it.
"What?!" I asked.
"Is that Mr Stephenson?"
"Mr Tom Stephenson?"
"Yes. What do you want?" The voice sounded supercilious, almost sarcastic.
"I am calling from the PM's office, and I have to speak to Mr Thomas J Stephenson."
"But it's the fucking AM, you idiot - WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
"Would it be more convenient if I called later. Mr Stephenson?" So he did.
I was now in the kitchen, and I was half way through my bowl of Lidl's muesli, when the handset next to me tinkled again. Having established my identity again, the voice said, "I am putting you through now".
"Hi, Tom. It's Tony."
"Don't be a silly sausage, Tom - it's Tony BLAIR".
What do you want?"
"Well, we have heard all about the good things you have been doing in your town, and - get this - I want to come down PERSONALLY and see what you're up to, y'know."
"But tomorrow is a Sunday."
"I know - it's good. We'll take in a church at the same time."
"But I have done fuck all for this town - every time I try to do something, it gets blocked by the local council."
"Yes, Tom. And you know why that is don't you?"
"Because you have had nothing but Liberal and Conservative councils since the 70's, but now it will be different."
"In what way will it be different?"
"Because you have made a pretty penny in the last 20 years or so, and it's high time you gave some of it back to the community that helped you. All the people who had true faith in you."
"Which community? Which people?"
"The NEW LABOUR party, you silly sausage! Now, I want this church we visit tomorrow to be a High one, but we can't stay long - a flying visit. Security are shitting bricks over it, but I have put my foot down. OK?"
"I'm not sure I really want to go along with this. I have a bad feeling about it."
"Tom - listen to this. How does SIR Tom Stephenson sound to you?"
"It sounds like a fucking great pile of steaming shit, Tony. Now fuck off!"
And with that, I put the phone down.