EMILY MAITLIS Washington High tea with George Bush
EMILY MAITLIS Washington High tea with George Bush in the Oval Office. Polite but tough questioning on my book. He tells me how much he's enjoyed reading it. Next stop, the wonderfully counter-counter-cultural bowling alley with Dick Cheney, flanked by Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History. They tell me how much they've enjoyed my book.
Paris Crogue monsieur for 70 at the Elysee Palace with Nicolas Sarkozy. Nico tells me he's only just put down my book. I tell him how much I'm enjoying his presidency. We part amicably.
Afghanistan To the Tora Bora caves for mint tea with Bin Laden, author of 9/11, then off kiteflying with his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. They tell me they take issue with my thesis but have greatly enjoyed my book.
London I, Emily, awake from ten-ifying yet exhilarating dream in which I have become Andrew Roberts, the historian. Realise with much sadness that no global leader has ever complimented me on my book. Recall with yet more dismay that I have never actually written one. Put on washing: economy, coloureds, max spin, 60 degrees. Then hastily pick up names dropped carelessly around bedroom in my sleep. Minus a few which I kick under the chair for later use. Piers Morgan has sent me an email advising Beroccas, a pint of milk and a few prayers before we meet for lunch.
T4ife as a newsreader would not be complete without the wonderful world of award ceremonies. I'm not talking Cannes, Bafta, Venice anything that obvious. No, I mean the Oscars of the Heating and Ventilation World, the Pride of Plumbing, the Celebration of Steel. Believe me, the list goes on. Protocol dictates that you host the awards with a friendly hello and brief introduction. But sometimes your mind goes blank. I have just hours to go and nothing to kick off the evening. In panic I call up Andrea Catherwood and Katie Derham and seek help. The TV girls are united. You need autocue mishaps, they say. And shower me with their cast-offs. 'Have you done the one where you say, "That's all from the one o'clock news, I'll be back with the main news just before sex"?' Katie asks. 'What about, 'And now for the weather, frequent rain and a lot more drivel to come"?' Andrea offers up. Ah, to have such friends. We have shared on-air maternity wear, baby clothes, career highs and lows. But to lend another your own cock-ups? Greater love hath no man.
xcited call from the Newsnight producer. I have made it, she informs me, on to The Noticeboard. Oh hallowed wall. This is where all our press mentions, our newspaper clippings are proudly displayed. The investigative reporting that has helped fell governments; the devastating discoveries, the piercing interviews. Was my recent forensic questioning of Hamas picked up by the Independent? Could the New Statesman have warmed to my discussion of motoring and embarked on a threepart series in my name? My reverie is quickly shattered when Lucy tells me. 'You're in heat magazine As Parky's pin-up. I stuck it on the board anyway.' I am flattered. (Michael, truly I am.) But why oh why couldn't it have been for the London Review of Books?
ilo, aged two, has developed a fixation with Spartacus, introduced to him by his nanny. I'm delighted, in a pushy Notting Hillmother way, although struggling to recall who Spartacus was. Mark, his father, is not impressed. Spartacus, he reminds me, was the Roman initiator of the Slaves' Revolt, fomenter of the Uprising. But he is possibly reading more into the situation than it warrants when he tells me he believes this is our longsuffering nanny's way of asking for a pay rise and that she is about to leave us. I begin a frenzied scouring of our Greco-Roman glossary in panic. But the situation miraculously resolves itself. Spartacus, it turns out, is actually a cartoon superhero called Sportacus who Saves the Planet. His best friend is Stephanie. She has Barbie-pink hair and Barbie-pink shoes and the kind of dress that makes Zandra Rhodes look like a home secretary. On Thursday Milo announces he no longer dreams of being Spart/Sportacus. He wants to be Stephanie instead. Mark, his father, is not impressed.
T am presenting News 24 from outside 1 Parliament as Tony Blair quits the stage and Gordon Brown shuffles in. It is momentous, it is emotional, but more than anything, it is wet. It reminds me of a day, exactly ten years ago, when I witnessed and reported on another handover of power — as Hong Kong was returned to China. Then, as now, the driving rain seemed to compound the very Britishness of the occasion. We never knew if Chris Patten was crying, or if a carefully positioned raindrop merely lent the shot more poignancy. At home, Milo is watching. 'Why is Teddy Bear leaving?' He asks Mark. 'Mummy just said Teddy Bear was leaving Sedgefield.' Why he gets the name of a remote Durham constituency right Twill never fully understand.
And so, finally, to a charity do for Breast Cancer Haven that I am hosting with Rory Bremner. During drinks beforehand I spy Andrew Roberts. I blush and tell him how much I am enjoying his book.
Emily Maitlis is a BBC newsreader and a contributing editor of The Spectator.