I was in France at the weekend. Before anyone starts to go green with envy, I was not in the stadium at Paris, hugger-mugger with the crowds, feeling the pulsating beat of national pride.
I didn’t walk into the, apparently, electrifying atmosphere that greeted arrivals at the Gare du Nord, with a white double-decker bus parked outside, all the supporters’ signatures scrawled on it. No, I was sin of sins checking my mobile-phone text messages for scores, underneath the table of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Champagne. Eventually, a small group of us British journalists, knock-kneed with excitement, manners having lost out to the urgent desire to shout ‘Go Jonny!’, crept out between the main course and pudding to cram into a hotel bedroom to watch the second, jubilant half.
The woman from the French tourist board sat, lips tight and thin throughout. And she was English! I am not a sports fan. I don’t play sports. I don’t, to be frank, know my offside from my yellow card. But national games are a thing to be adored and joined in with. The miracle that is the England rugby team must be cheered on. Enjoy.