We go along the edge of the rose gardens and across the road to Rosie cafe. There is a fish and chip shop nearby but Key says he rarely visits. “Body’s a temple. Write that down.”
At Rosie they place him on the corner where he can be easily seen from outside. He’s good advertising. The Keys are clearly regulars. Key asks a waitress about her upcoming wedding and advises on dates. “Go for October. Snare him early.”
Key still does his physical training drills, assisted by the boys, at 5.40 several mornings a week. He’s doing a bit of boxing, flailing at a punching bag. He won’t say who he imagines when he’s punching it.
The boys are his DPS guards.
But Bronagh can get her own back. After Key insists his body is a temple for the fifth time, she says “more like a warehouse”. He laughs and says, “There’s a reason she’s restricted to 600 words a day.”
She also reveals what is possibly the real reason the Max versus Key snr golf game idea was rejected. “Max can whip him. The beautiful thing is Max doesn’t really practise.” Key is highly competitive and doesn’t like to lose. In an attempt to regain ascendancy, he has a putting lesson lined up for the next day.
Key is meant to be a 15 handicap, so Max must be pretty damn good.
It turns out Bronagh also has quite the sense of humour. She mimics a teacher they had at school dubbed “Screaming Skull”.
The mimic emerges again when talking about Key’s handyman abilities. Key’s mother warned her he was useless at DIY. She puts on the late Ruth Key’s Austrian accent: “John is USELESS at fixing things round the house,” she says. “He’s going to have to do a good job because he’s going to have to pay someone else to do everything.”
When I ask Key later who gets which half of the cappuccino, he replies, “I won’t answer that on the basis your headline will be ‘Key likes a bit of fluff’.”
I love his sense of humour.