We went out to a local Italian yesterday evening. It's opposite a pub, the Prince Alfred, which has just reopened after the combination of a collapsed ceiling and the vagaries of English Heritage conspired to close it for a year. It’s more of a “ten types of gin and pressed belly of pork” pub than a “fags, Frazzles and Tenants Super” pub. So I was surprised to see an irate punter standing in the doorway screaming blue murder at the landlady.

And he was really, really screaming at her, every swear word under the sun, a couple of inches away from her face. People had stopped in the street to gawp. I was one of them. It transpired that the landlady had refused to serve him. He had taken umbrage at this. She couldn’t get him out of the doorway.

I am the mother of all lightweights when it comes to this sort of thing. I've never hit anyone in my life. If a car backfires I put my hands up. But this guy was getting into his stride and clearly going nowhere. And besides, he was a fair bit shorter and older than I, he spoke with a strong French accent, and he wore a stupid Breton cap. Surely even a lanky streak of piss like me could have him.

So I went up, put my arm between them and told him that was enough, he clearly wasn’t going to be allowed in and please would he step away? And of course he went batshit mental. He pushed me into the street and fronted up to me:

What f*cking business is it of yours you f*ck? I am going to f*ck you up so badly. I’m in the street now, I can do what I like to you. I am going to teach you such a f*cking lesson.”

No, you’re not, you’re going to go home right now and stop making such an idiot of yourself.”

F*ck you, you f*ck. I’ll f*cking kill you.”

He screamed and raved at me for more than five minutes, his spit flecking my face, repeatedly shoving me. I kept an eye on his hands, ready to give him a swift kick in the groin if they moved to his pockets and a possible weapon.

    How it might have looked

The landlady was speaking to the police on the phone. I looked around. The City boy parked up in his new Audi, maybe four feet from us, sitting stock still in the driver’s seat and staring in front of him. A small crowd had gathered. A cabbie pulled up and got out of his taxi, a motorcyclist dismounted. Ah, I thought, these chaps will surely jump in and help me send this lunatic packing. And they...

..they all took out their mobile phones and recorded it. They stood at a safe distance, watching this deranged pisshead flail and scream at me, moving their phones around as they tried to find the optimum angle.

Eventually he wore himself out and with a few departing threats wandered off. The cabbie gave me a thumbs up. “You OK mate?” Yes, no thanks to you.

The landlady thanked me. She knew this guy, she’d had trouble with him before. The police were on their way. They’d be there in a few minutes and had said they’d want to take a statement from me.

The police didn’t come. The audience dispersed. The foul-mouthed Frenchman no doubt pulled the same routine at another pub round the corner. And I’m probably on a clip on YouTube looking like ten types of dick. O tempora. O mores.