The Bain of Jocelyn’s Life

PIPE DREAMS: Hard at work on the Daily Express foreign desk in 1972 are, clockwise from the left: Ian Bain, Jim Nichol (deputy foreign editor), Stewart Steven (foreign editor), John Moger (night foreign editor) and Norman Jarvis


I note the departure of Jocelyn Stevens in the Drone. It was due to his hospitality that I unintentionally circumnavigated the county of Kent by train and bus. 

The Express had booked the vast dining room of a hotel (I think the Waldorf) for a lunch for editorial staff and a presentation by Jocelyn of a new-look Express. (It actually didn't look much different).  

I can't remember too much about it except that there was no limit to the flow of wine and many imbibed freely, particularly those of us who had come in on our day off.  

I do remember interrupting Jocelyn at the start of his presentation when I yelled to a waiter: "Bring us another bottle! This one's corked!"  

Afterwards, several of us repaired to the Press Club which I left around 8pm to get a train to Tonbridge where I was living at the time.  

In a drunken coma, I sailed through Tonbridge, Ashford, Folkestone, Dover, Deal and was rudely awakened by a guard when the train reached its destination at Ramsgate.  

By that time it was near midnight and there was to be a 24-hour train strike the coming day.  I managed to persuade a train driver who was repositioning a train to Sittingbourne to let me ride along.  

There I was able to hop another to Chatham where I hailed a taxi to Gravesend, turning up on a friend's doorstep at 3am.  

Dreadfully hung-over, in the morning I endured a three-hour bus ride to Tonbridge, arriving just in time to pick up my car and drive to the office for my 3pm start.

*Tell that to the wives of today and they wouldn’t believe you – Ed

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