19 December 2017
Did they know it was Christmas? A search for a British prime minister able to relax over Christmas
Behind the scenes in Downing Street
I used to have the telephone number of the post office in the Scilly Isles in my journalistic contacts book. The postmistress was a charming and friendly person and always happy to take a phone call from Fleet Street. She would chat away about Mr and Mrs Wilson and I would pen a gossip paragraph about the off-duty activities of the prime minister – usually, I think about taking a breezy stroll with Paddy, the Labrador – and this harmless guff would fill a useful space in the dull, news-dead days between Christmas and New Year. In my early memories of Fleet Street, when Harold and Mary Wilson often went to the Scillies over the holidays and celebrated their wedding anniversary there every New Year’s Day, it seemed as if nothing much ever happened over Christmas.
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