So the West End can breathe a collective sigh of relief while taking pity on Amman’s West End (should there be one) and the troops in neighbouring Iraq (should the Whingers find their inner Vera Lynns and pop over the border to entertain Our Boys).
What are they fretting about this year? Previous preoccupations with the potential perils of dengue fever or being stampeded by a herd of elephants? No. Terrorists? No.
Phil’s main concern is spending a night in a Bedouin tent with Andrew (أندرو) at Wadi Rum (وادي رم) which Phil – in a moment of uncharacteristic weakness – was bullied into agreeing to by Andrew.
But now he comes to think about the reality of it: a night in a sleeping bag, in a tent, in a desert, with a communal water closet and no shower? Small matters of hygiene are of little consequence to Andrew but Phil (فيليب), who famously wears his Howard Hughes tendencies with pride, is fretting about that one. Unwashed Whingers? It really doesn’t bear thinking about.
So look forward to daguerreotypes of them visiting sites of Canaanite, Semitic and Edomite civilisations even more ancient than Andrew’s undergarments. Marvel as the West End Whingers (Whingers نهاية الغرب) mount their sturdy asses passing through the Siq to see Petra (البتراء), presumably named after the legendary Blue Peter dog. Gasp as Phil floats in the Dead Sea (البَحْر المَيّت) reading old theatre programmes and waiting to see if 33.7% salinity really is sufficient to keep Andrew’s salty old body from going under.
Jordan (الأردنّ) will no doubt be sandier than Ben Hur Live!, the Whingers may even find it too close to the sun.
Meanwhile, it’s not entirely a holiday for Andrew who is fairly confident of sorting out the Middle East crisis once and for all and has already begun networking with key figures as part of what he sadly considers to be a charm offensive. Mostly this involves following Jordan’s Queen Rania on Twitter.
* Phil claims to know who it is and will spill the beans for the Katie Price of a drink.