On the Blair trail
Tony Blair is rarely in Great Britain for long, so to get him on his own, and especially talking about sport, is something of an event.
This Friday was anything but quiet. We had no sooner left King's Cross, London, when Dr John Reid, his former home secretary, slid into the seat next to him.
Blair wouldn't talk about politics but he was keen to expand on the idea that sport can reach beyond the playing fields, improve both bodies and minds, and help bridge the gap between divided communities.
The opportunity to talk to him was provided by his journey to Sunderland where he was visiting his sports foundation. Set up in November 2007, it has so far helped 10,000 children from 350 schools receive tennis coaching.
In convoy, on the way to the sports foundation from Darlington station, I was provided with my one and only glimpse of being a VIP.
Escorted by speeding motorbike outriders, I found myself being driven on the wrong side of the road, while traffic on either was held back and our vehicles sped past more red lights than I can imagine.
Prime minister he may no longer be but a shadow of that power is quite telling.
At the foundation, as he signed yet another tennis ball from an admiring young boy, it felt fleetingly as if the Blair of a decade ago was back but when I asked him would he like to be back at number 10, he wouldn't be drawn.
For his real feelings, we shall have to wait for his memoirs, which are some time away but should be an interesting read.