December 6 2019: smart Alexa

The final column of my journalistic life appears in The Northern Echo on Saturday, 55 years after the first foray. Without real explanation, I am redundant.

David Walsh recalls another quote about December 7 – “a date that will live in infamy,” said President Franklin Roosevelt, but that was 1941 and he was talking of Pearl Harbour.

Infamy, infamy? Who knows but Saturday’s paper looks like being a sell-out. A possible record may be claimed by former Hartlepool United chairman Garry Gibson who lives in Scotland but who’s headed to the nearest newsagent he knows which keeps the Echo – at Bamburgh, on the Northumberland coast.

He’ll also find a very good butcher’s there and, three miles down the road at Seahouses, the North-East’s best fish and chips.

The good luck messages  – carefully crafted, kind and eloquent, continue to arrive by the shoal. I’m truly grateful.

*Yesterday’s blog had cause to mention Alexa, a sort of robotic handmaiden employed by clever folk like West Allotment Celtic secretary Ted Ilderton.

Don Clarke has her on the payroll, too. “You should get acquainted,” he writes. “It’s female, I assume, and if so the only one I’ve known who obeys my every command without complaint.”

Another blog reader, whose email’s misplaced somewhere, endorses the recommendation. “A great gadget but can’t perform the impossible and get three points for the Arsenal.”

Several other correspondents show shameless schadenfreude, as the Germans neatly have it, at Arsenal’s plight. “The Gunners became the Gooners and now they’re Gonners,” writes former Crook Town secretary Dave Thompson from Australia.

It’s doubtless coincidental that this week’s Spectator magazine has a cartoon of an elderly lady sitting in an armchair, talking to her own grandmother’s little helper on a shelf nearby. “Alexa,” she says, “do you remember the good old days?”

Ah me, if only.