Another early start! Barkles was not impressed at missing out on his walk once again while I swanned off leaving a trail of exclamation marks behind me! This time a breakfast at BUBB's offices (which I found after asking a friendly local bobby) with Jack "Far right" Herbert MP, the Tory spokesperson for DefRoes. Having come across Jack on quite a few occasions now I am deeply impressed. He is one of the Tories and will be in power soon so I will say what it takes to keep him sweet. Bright, thoughtful and charming. I'm a fan. And shameless.
This is also in no way connected to the fact that when he had the justice brief he was clear the brolly sector had to play a much bigger delivery role inside and outside prisons. Quite right. You can smuggle a lot of contraband into chokey inside a gamp.
We began with a little banter on meat eating (as you don't, usually!) when I asked him what he was planning to do on farting cows . "Ride 'em like the gassy broncos they truly are," he replied instantly. His recent blog was eloquent on the glories of roast beef and the iniquity of the recent Stern pronouncement on cutting out meat eating to save the planet. Heaven forbid that we should give up prime hunks of steak for the greater good.
This led to comments on the absence of bacon butties in the BUBB breakfast offering, though the Lidl rice krispies were particularly excellent. Jack argues, correctly in my view, that we need to encourage people to be sustainable rather than penalise them. If people are told they can't eat meat then it risks turning them away from taking sustainability seriously. We must beware the "hair shirt" brigade who want to scare and punish us all. Hear, hear! No hair shirt tendency at BUBB I can assure you! We will go to great lengths and personal sacrifice to prove we don't have a hair shirt mentality and will punish ourselves rigorously in pursuit of presenting such an impression.
I then had a meeting with some geezer with a normal name that I can't even begin to bother spoofing, from LURCH (London Umbrella Recycling Community Hub). He told me how the Victorian Umbrella Loving Vintage Association had offered the local council a deal to provide rain protection in their parks with their splendid old age brollies. An offer refused by the Council who contract this out! Government has to realise that the umbrella sector can play a useful role on many levels.
I then had a meeting with a Global Hero, but at many removes. I was meeting 3 of the bar staff at a pub frequented by South Africans. It's a real privilege to buy a drink from people who lived in the same country as the Mandela family. There are few figures more admired globally than Nelson Mandela and what a thrill it is to now be able to tenuously and shamelessly use his kudos for my own personal benefit, especially as in the 80s I was active in opposing the wickedness of the South African apartheid regime by boycotting Chenin Blanc and cape oranges. Probably.
Then on to a meeting with another Hero (and I do use the capital H for grovelling effect) of our sector, the great Sir Reggie Coining. Reggie is not just one of the pioneers of venture capital in the UK but the author of the idea of a umbrella investment bank here, funded by unclaimed brollies. He must be so disappointed at how the government have let him down, especially considering how much dosh he has donated to the Labour party in the hope of deflecting attention away from his own very cosy non-domiciled tax arrangements.
It is one of the joys and honour of the BUBB role that I am able to meet with such eminent and interesting people, whether they like it or not. And hopefully to convert those contacts into making real change for our membership . I think that is what is called a caveat for endless hob-nobbing and name dropping.
Finally, I am wondering whether I should trade in the Blackberry for an i-Phone. Or as I call them, a me-me-me-Phone. Waddya reckon? Could make a nice birthday present for myself.