John Gibson: They made room for Lady Muck

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THE party’s over . . . it’s time to call it a day . . . they’ve burst your pretty balloon. No they’ve not. Havers, Gibson. The Royals have been whooping it up without you at Sandringham, the private country retreat of Queenie and Phil. One helluva party and it’s still going on. Can’t you hear it?

Thirty friends are there but your face and title had to fit to get past the flunkeys and over the door. You had to be a prince or princess, a viscount, an honourable so-and-so, a Lady Muck.

Say, how did Mike Tindall get in there? Don’t ask me. Like me, you’re a mere serf.

Nothing new in all this. Just goes to show, these partygoers apparently are blissfully unaware of the gloom and doom about to blight the year ahead. They are, of course, aware of Philip’s scare but no way was it going to spoil the party.

C’mon now, one has no wish to dampen a spiffing knees-up, has one? And the next dance is a military two-step, special request by Harry who can’t wait to get to grips with the pesky Taliban.

Hurdle to jump

Better luck this time. Frank Hanlon has organised the New Year Sprint for 21 years and snow the last two have sabotaged his plans.

“We rely on the horse racing at Musselburgh and that was called off. But I’m going ahead with the heats down there on December 31 and the finals on January 1 for the finals. In fact I’ve timed the final for 2.25, the first horse race to be screened on Channel 4.

“I have a tradition to uphold. The sprint, still known by worthies as ‘the Powderhall Sprint’, goes back 143 years. We just keep our fingers cross.’’

Frank is still very much up for it at the age of 67. He is in the private hire business and still lives in Bonnyrigg.

Afterwords . .

You’ve got to laugh. Groucho Marx can still raise a giggle with: “Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped.”