JD turned on his reading lamp and checked his diary.
Tuesday: meeting with the PM and Chief of Staff, 1400hrs Downing St.
Wednesday evening: banquet at Buck Palace, state visit.
Friday evening: with wife to Chequers, informal working weekend.
He stretched his legs out towards the fire; this was his favourite room in the house, his study, his den.
A sharp rap at the door irritated him as his wife entered without invitation. Her febrile state suggested important news, but he couldn’t rouse himself to give his undivided attention to what she was saying.
‘You’re not reading those old diaries again? I can’t see you ever starting that autobiography.’
He pretended not to hear.
‘Don’t forget we’re going to Waitrose tomorrow, shall we buy the beef there or at the butchers? We could have morning coffee, or would you rather try the new café at the garden centre?’
He sighed heavily.