We band of brothers, The Portals Press Club (PPC) of Mallorca, are nothing if not a generous, compassionate lot, so we came together, en masse, this morning to celebrate the forthcoming birthday (tomorrow) of our upstanding-when-sober member, Frank Leavers.
Money being no object, we pushed the proverbial boat out and bought him a candle to blow on in a croissant borrowed from a neighbouring table at Chameli’s, the legendary Portals Nous watering-hole that is the PPC’s spiritual home each Tuesday a.m. (guests welcome only by prior appointment).
Island-dwellers are familiar with Frank’s wit and wisdom from the weekly column he scribes for the Daily Bulletin and his commitment to his personal, journalistic dictum, ‘Never use 10 words when a thousand will do.’
‘Show me the space,’ he adds diligently, ‘and I’ll fill it.’
It should be noted this maxim has no connection whatsoever to Frank’s days at sea, when he took The Queen’s shilling and – according to malicious gossip – rose without trace from cabin-boy to stoker second class, before gaining entree to the wardroom at the captain’s port side.
Salt water courses through Frank’s veins, for he hails from Eastleigh, Hampshire, the village (sadly now reduced to a suburb of Southampton) where the wily locals are once said to have constructed a three-foot high, wattle-and-daub fence to keep the cuckoo in.
Other landmarks in Frank’s illustrious career are the sterling work he did in making the Liberal Democrats unelectable – he was a paid, party agent – before moving into PR and coining the immortal slogan: ‘Cardiff is the world’s most exciting waterfront.’
Understandably, denizens of Shanghai, Sydney, San Francisco and Hartlepool may cavil a tad at that boast.
Some untold number of years ago, Frank and his partner – the striking, raven-haired Julie – founded the highly-successful My Majorca Wedding; hence it’s not unreasonable to conclude he has assisted in arranging the nuptials of more brides than a serial bigamist.
And let us not forget his selfless efforts for Majorca Cricket Club, where, in one tight match, he heroically fielded a sweetly-driven off-drive with his teeth. Such are the wonders of modern dentistry, you can hardly see the join.
Still boyishly handsome, urbane and one of nature’s gentlemen, his brethren at the PPC fraternally salute Frank as he celebrates, by his calculation, the big Six-Oh (‘You know what liars journalists are!’ – Ed).
So, old friend, may you never flounder on the rocks of life and long may you regale us with your telling observations and gripping tales of….er?