... or something like that.
It's just about exactly 25 years since I achieved the post I most coveted in my early career in journalism - Political Correspondent. And for the World Service, which still had its own foothold in the Lobby, its own desk in Parliament (in an overflow office known as The Dungeon, where in the evenings the smell of fried fish wafted up from the watchroom below), and its own access to the movers and shakers.
This was still Thatcher's reign. Heseltine had by then stormed out of her cabinet - Lawson and Howe were still to follow. The political capital gained by her 'victories' in the South Atlantic and over Scargill's miners, and in three successive elections, was being frittered away amid a raft of party squabbles, particularly over Europe, and poor policy decisions, of which the Poll Tax was the worst.
There was an incendiary air to politics - and on occasions a whiff of grapeshot on the streets. It was a truly stirring time to be a pol corr.
I had come across Mrs T at a Commonwealth conference in Harare - and she seemed much more charming and relaxed than I had expected. (I could say the same for Robert Mugabe). But there was little charm in her despatch box performances. And on the one occasion I got to interview her, no charm at all. Here's what happened.
Downing Street's press office, under the irascible but immensely likeable Bernard Ingham, was perpetually running feuds. After an environmental summit conference in London, No. 10 - for reasons I never uncovered - was determined to deny both BBC TV News and ITN's 'News at Ten' the big PM sit down interview which was standard fare at the close of such events. So the broadcast interviews went to Channel 4 ... and the World Service. And a callow and inexperienced World Service pol corr, who in his anxiety had perhaps over rehearsed his questions, got a rare chance to interrogate Margaret Thatcher.
She sensed my nervousness - and pounced. I still haven't summoned up the courage to listen back. I remember, as the interview was spiralling out of control, staring intently at Mrs Thatcher's face and in my panic-induced reverie seeing it transform into the Gerald Scarfe caricature with the Concorde nose. When, in response to my killer question, she disdainfully replied: "I don't think you've been listening to what we've been saying", I could feel the blood freeze in my veins. It was a chastening experience.
Mrs T was of course the commanding British political figure of the second half of the last century - and in terms of eminence, ranks alongside Churchill, Lloyd George, Disraeli, Gladstone and Blair as the epoch-defining Prime Ministers of modern times.
This evening, I got home just as the World Service was broadcasting my half-hour obituary programme for Mrs Thatcher - first assembled a decade or so ago, and freshened up a year or two back. It brought back a host of memories. 'Love her or loathe her, no one was indifferent to Margaret Thatcher.'
For many of us who spent time at Westminster - politicians and Lobby alike - it feels as if part of our past has slipped anchor.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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