MONDAY, MAY 21
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show usually provides a glorious temporary oasis of peace and calm in my turbulent life.
Today’s visit began in a rather different atmosphere.
I arrived at the VIP ticket collection desk with my parents, to be confronted by Will Young, once a pop star but now a full-time professional celebrity ‘victim’.
He recently claimed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, supposedly brought on by being separated from his twin brother when they were delivered at birth several weeks apart from each other.
The BBC news star Sophie Raworth had just returned from running 150 miles in only six days across the Sahara desert. ‘You do realise you’re absolutely nuts, right?’ I said. ‘Yes, but I love running and I also lost a stone in weight,’ she replied, casting a withering eye over my own rather curvier physique. ‘You should try it, Morgan.’
I found this, like most utterances by Mr Young, to be utterly ridiculous, so tweeted: ‘Will Young does not have PTSD. He has WNTS – Whiny Needy Twerp Syndrome.’
Inevitably, this sparked howls of outrage from the easily offended brigade.
So I challenged Mr Young to come on GMB and debate PTSD with me, but after accepting, he then pulled out.
Today was the first time we’d met since our little spat. ‘Are you COMFORTABLE with what you said about me?’ he barked, with preposterous puffed-up pomposity.
‘Very comfortable,’ I replied.
‘Do you even UNDERSTAND trauma?’ he sneered.
‘Well,’ I replied, ‘my brother’s an army colonel who’s served in various wars, so yes, I know a bit about real trauma.’
Young was disgusted.
‘REAL trauma? Trauma comes in many different forms. Are you a psychotherapist?!’
‘No, but I know you don’t get PTSD three decades after being separated from your twin in a womb.’
Young smirked, slightly dementedly: ‘You’re feeling really UNEASY standing here having to defend yourself IN PERSON against someone you ATTACKED, aren’t you?’
I laughed out loud.
‘No mate, I stand by everything I said about you. I’d just like you now to shut up and get your tickets so I can take my parents to see some begonias.’
But he wasn’t finished.
‘You said Lady Gaga invented her PTSD too!’ he squealed indignantly.
‘Yes. You two have a lot in common,’ I replied. ‘You’ve both made absurd PTSD claims and both bottled interviews with me after agreeing to do them.’
I turned to find Anthea Turner stifling a giggle. ‘Well that’s got your morning off to a rosy start!’ she said.
Fortunately, Sophie Raworth was nearby to lift the mood.
The BBC news star had just returned from running 150 miles in only six days across the Sahara desert. ‘You do realise you’re absolutely nuts, right?’ I said.
‘Yes, but I love running and I also lost a stone in weight,’ she replied, casting a withering eye over my own rather curvier physique. ‘You should try it, Morgan.’
Nick Knowles was lurking in the undergrowth wearing a gigantic, vivid purple floral shirt. ‘That’s… brave,’ I ventured.
‘I know floral shirts at flower shows are a no-no,’ he conceded, ‘but I desperately needed something big enough to hide how fat I’ve got!’
I heard a loud voice braying into a phone and knew immediately I’d strayed into Biggins country. ‘Darling, I’ve got to go, Piers Morgan is here!’ the great man exclaimed, adding after he hung up: ‘That was Lesley Joseph.’
He’s the only better name-dropper than me.
Christopher visited our mutual friend Barbara Windsor this week following the revelation she has Alzheimer’s. ‘I walked in and said very slowly, “Hel-lo Bar-bara, this is Christ- o-pher..,” ’ he said, ‘but before I could finish, she cackled, “Oh do f*** off, Biggins!” ’
Nigel Havers walked past.
‘I really enjoyed you in that Jeremy Thorpe drama last night,’ my father told him. ‘That’s very kind of you to say,’ Nigel chuckled, ‘but I wasn’t actually in it… that was Hugh Grant.’
I was more perturbed that my father thinks anything to do with Hugh Grant is enjoyable.
We strolled inside the main hall to find Mary Berry standing alone by a small garden, looking pensive.
‘You OK, Mary?’ I asked. ‘You look like Meghan Markle’s mother at the wedding!’
She smiled at me as if I’d just spiked her lemon drizzle with arsenic. ‘Piers, it’s lovely to see you… but would you mind awfully moving out of my shot?’
I turned to see a large BBC camera pointing at us. ‘Ah. Awkward.’
I sped away shamefaced and ran into ITV newsreader Mary Nightingale, who worked with my wife Celia on the network’s Royal Wedding coverage. ‘I was surprised you weren’t involved too?’ she said.
‘I think I was deemed too off-gush message.’
‘Yes, I imagine there were concerns you might get a little… undiplomatic… volcanic even… possibly nuclear. Or worse.’
We discussed Victoria Beckham’s absurd sulky pout. ‘She thinks she’s Audrey Hepburn,’ I said, ‘but she’s more Audrey Roberts.’
‘Piers!’ my mother exclaimed. ‘Stop being so naughty!’
Mary exploded with laughter. ‘Mrs Morgan, with great respect, it’s about 30 years too late for you to deliver that directive to your son!’
The flower show itself was superb; it really is one of the great English social events and I thought this year’s gardens were the best ever.
As we left, Shirley Ballas marched purposefully towards me.
We’ve never met, but after the waspish new Strictly Come Dancing head judge savagely drove my GMB colleague Charlotte Hawkins out of the latest series, I launched a furious campaign ‘to bring down Ballas’.
My flower show visit thus looked as if it was going to end how it started – with a rumble amid the rhododendrons.
But Shirley was all smiles and even planted a kiss on my cheek. ‘It’s all showbiz, darling,’ she said, as we posed for a photo.
Charlotte didn’t quite see it that way when she saw us cuddling up. ‘Traitor!’ she texted.
Worryingly, there were none of her usual accompanying jocular emojis to suggest even the slightest tinge of humour to her rage.