- Downing Street in Perspective by Marcia Falkender
Weidenfeld, 280 pp, £10.95, May 1983, ISBN 0 297 78107 3
‘The pool,’ writes Baroness Falkender ‘has every imaginable facility from changing-room and showers to a pantry for drinks and tea-making. Douglas Hurd’s two sons learned to swim at Chequers and so did mine.’ Chequers deserves a whole chapter, there are so many tributes to be paid. To the telephone girls, ‘quite simply the best telephone girls in the world’, who go down to operate the switchboard on the second floor every time the prime minister spends a weekend there. (They usually arrive only minutes ahead of the prime minister’s car but they use a different entrance.) To the delicious cream cakes, almost as much a feature of the establishment as the baked grapefruits marinated in liqueur with which dinner habitually commenced. Pickles and jams, she notes, are homemade and the brandy butter the best she ever tasted. No wonder she is disappointed when all this and much else besides comes to a rather abrupt end on the morning of Tuesday, 16 March 1976.