“If you run out of tissues,” Andreas wrote as the English team collapsed under the superior German firepower, “you can tear up some of those English flags for handkerchiefs.”
“The Germans may have won the football match,” his son retorted, “but they are still very bad at making at jokes.”
Lanying roared with glee everytime Germany got the ball.
“Which team are you supporting, Mingzhu?” I asked, expecting her to side with England.
“Uh, I don’t know. Which team is better looking?”
In the end her allegiance was with the handsome German centre-back Arne Friedrich.
I was sent to fetch some Sichuan kebabs. At first the streets of London were deserted but, after Germany scored the third goal, the will of the nation wilted. Disheartened fans sidled out of pubs and living rooms to smoke a much-needed cigarette, kick a discarded beer can, or simply stare at the bluest sky we’ve had in years and wonder where it all went wrong.
As I waited on the corner of a deserted south London suburb I began to doubt my choice of rendezvous. I couldn’t have chosen a worse spot to wait. The sun was beating down on me, I looked shady in the shade and my view of the road was obscured by a dirty red brick bridge.
As I stood there, furtively counting my cash and avoiding the stares of the occasional passing drunk, I wondered whether I should risk getting out my iPhone and taking a picture. People have been stabbed on that street for less.
I slipped it out, took a quick snap (see above) and tucked it away again, resisting the urge to read Tales of Chinatown on it while I was waiting.
Then suddenly he was there, the motorcyclist from the restaurant. As he handed over the goods and I passed him the cash, I saw he had thrown in a free bottle of wine.
I love the Chinese. They are so flexible when it comes to doing business.
It’s a shame they are useless at football even though, as I was informed in detail over dinner, they invented it.