Monday, 5 August 2013

Diamonds Last Forever

3rd August 2013

08.30 hrs Buckfastleigh

V had hoped his retirement in a quiet Devon village would enable him to pursue his love of fine wine, skillfully-prepared food and modern jazz, although he had accepted that his interest in fast cars and might be curtailed somewhat. 
He also knew that no-one who worked for the service ever really retired.

He had received the text this morning while eating a single egg, boiled for three and a third minutes and presented in a blue porcelain egg cup with a gold band around the top. It was a very fresh, powder blue egg from Crested Cream Legbar hens owned by a still active female operative known as D, who lived in nearby Meavy.  Irritated by the interruption, he checked the text message.  One word sparked his immediate interest: diamonds.
17.00 hrs Bedford Hotel, Tavistock

The semi-professional 10-piece jazz band, Desperate Measures, met to set up their PA for a sound check in preparation for a private function.  V and D were both there.  Playing with this band provided excellent cover for their activities.  And this was another opportunity to keep an eye on the band leader, C Sing Lowe, who V knew to be a freelance wet operator.
18.30 hrs Robertson’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, Pepper Street, Tavistock

The band moved to Robertsons- apart from D, who had taken the opportunity to run a cyber intercept on Sing Lowe’s 64 GB iPhone 5, which unfortunately returned nothing but cricket scores.

V's instinctive choice of a 2003 Pomerol and 2008 Chablis caused a few raised eyebrow around the table and immediately alerted Sing Lowe who had studied the tastes of British agents.  Realising his mistake, V improvised an embellishment of his back story about his first teenage love which was based on a sanitised version of an early mission involving Kooli T├╝druk, a female Estonian spy who loved him.

Sing-Lowe cleverly turned the conversation to schooling and established which band members had received classical educations, knowing that secret services all over the world recruited such agents.  This revealed that most of the band were probably unlikely to be who they claimed to be.  V also admitted that he had scored 23% in his Maths O level, realising too late that this considerably weakened his cover story of a career in banking...

The band return to the bar in the Bedford, eyeing each other with suspicion - particularly the immaculately-dressed Linney who was overhead talking to V about a leak.
In the bar Sing Lowe picks a small seat, realising too late that his choice of shirt shows his true pedigree

CIA operative Tessa listens in to agents discussing pirates based in Penzance and what happened to the policeman they put in a unhappy lot

Yeah, well, sorry.  Silliness again.  You had to be there.  Sensible stuff now.

There was a diamond connection.  Desperate Measures were at the Bedford on Saturday to play at a Diamond Wedding celebration - a gig we were offered as a result of our Sunday lunch gigs at the hotel. This time, the usually carpeted dance floor was revealed so we had to arrange ourselves around it in a sort of L shape.

The L-shaped Boom (caption courtesy of Mick Johnson)

We started later than we had planned because, as at all wedding-related celebrations, the speeches and cake-cutting took longer than anticipated.  We therefore played our first two planned sets without a break and the dance floor provided us with an entertaining variety of dancing styles.

In our break, the celebrants’ grandson entertained the party singing a range of songs that were largely a mystery to our rather more mature ears but which were well received by those present.  So when we returned to play again, Jo pruned our planned final sets to fit the remaining hour, finishing at midnight with “Too Young” - a song with particular redolence for the happy couple.

So it was a return home in the early hours for the band - a very long day, especially for those who had to travel some distance.  So it does feel as if diamonds last forever.

See you at Meavy on Bank Holiday Monday for the Cider Festival.