Monday, 30 November 2009

Deck the halls with gamps and brollies

I am now back in the UK, with the all important task of preparing for Christmas. As well as BUBB’s legendary office party to organise, there will be a sleigh-load of receptions and drink-ups to fit in. I have been banned from organising the office Secret Santa after last year’s scandal when I rigged it to ensure that everyone bought me a pressie. The trustees got wind of it and I was severely reprimanded. But still avoided the (Santa’s) sack. So this year Fab Jobsworth has done it and I have drawn Hector Rule. Any suggestions as to what I can get him would be very welcome as to me it seems he already has everything he wants. Except my job.

I will also be attending a number of high-church Christian ceremonies and services celebrating this most pagan of festivals. This is not because I am particularly religious – as far as I am concerned there’s too much religion in Christmas, we need to put the commercialism back into it. But it does give me a chance to comment on the architecture of various churches and chapels and wheel out some Biblical quotes.

And there is the BUBB nativity play to organise. This is always tricky to cast though Geof Sachell will be sweet Baby Jesus and Marina McMoan will be Mary. We always struggle to find any wise men but Ben N’Jerry will play a King who comes from the North bearing gifts of Gold-plated brollies, Gampinsence and Umyrhhbrellas. I will play the shepherd and the rest of the team will be sheep blindly following me about. Joseph (played by me) and Mary will travel to Oxford, naturally, and try and gain shelter for the night. After being turned away by all of the local prisons, which are full, they head to a pub in Blacbury where the innkeeper (played by me) invites them in and they all get trollied on fizz.

Hopefully, I will be able to get some partying in by wearing one of my many other (festively adorned) hats as well. I know that the organisation formerly known as Umbrellabuilders has some unspent money that will only go to waste come the end of March so I reckon we can have a proper knees-up with some of that.

And I am planning to release a Christmas single. Without giving too much away it will be a festive reworking of one of Rihanna’s classic choons.

I updated my Xmas card list over the weekend (Dylan Twirley removed and I need to find out James Purnell’s new address. Again). And I have taken a strategic decision that Hubert Carrington at NCVO will get one this year but I won’t send it until the last minute. I didn’t send him one last year whereas he did send me one. I figure he won’t bother this year and will then be embarrassed when he gets mine without time to hastily dash one off in response.

And tomorrow sees the launch of the Boggmas Gampvent calendar. This will be hosted on my blog and also on my Twitter feed. Join the party!

As well as mince-pie munching and mulled wine guzzling we will have to observe the correct protocol around the pre-Budget report next week. This involves firing off our usual wishlist of things that we know won’t happen and then having a hissy fit afterwards when they don’t happen.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Trinidad - a highlights package

I finally dragged myself away from the beach and arrived at the Commonwealth conference in Trinidad on Wednesday. It was, if I’m being honest, about as much fun as IMPORTANT PEOPLE blathering on about IMPORTANT ISSUES, and most of it was way over my head

As well as speeches and presentations there was a series of round table discussions at square, triangular and hexagonal tables. The main talking points were the financial crisis and climate change. And how are we going to deal with them? Simple. We have produced a 14 million page document which will be printed off and delivered by aeroplane to every single Commonwealth citizen. Funded by all the member governments, this should not only leave a carbon footprint the size of Belgium, but could bankrupt some of the smaller, poorer countries and use up a shitload of paper. Take that, rainforest!

Still, all of our hot air on climate change and the environment will be a useful primer for the Copenhagen lip service gathering next month. I fully expect that this event will come to a grizzly end a lot quicker than the politicians expect it to.

Speaking of carbon footprints, all of my own travelling has trampled its size nine all over the globe lately, but it’s OK cos I have grown a bit of basil in my window box in East Lambeth.

Away from the real problems of the world I was horrified to read, as I lay on the beach, comments by the Witchfinder-General Sandy Burnham-Drownham about the NHS being the government’s preferred supplier of umbrellas for medical reasons, eg. to those with an allergy to rainwater. Once I had looked up the word “preferred” in my dictionary (Oxford English, naturally) I got quite angry. What about the umbrella sector?

This coupled with another attack on the brolly sector by the unions, which included a spelling mistake (you’d never catch me lazily getting someone’s name wrong in my blog) means that we face a real threat from those who say public sector good – brolly sector bad.

Luckily, I had some light relief on Thursday night as I was able to catch up with some of my cousins, who live their life in limerick form.

One, the first Bishop of Calcutta
Was known as a bit of a nutter
He got all divine
On communion wine
And smeared all the wafers with butter

Next day, I was forced to go to Tobago for a day trip. I protested that I had already been there but to no avail and I was frogmarched by police out of the hotel and onto the boat at some ungodly hour.

There was much excitement on Friday night when Queen arrived. Some people think it a travesty that Brian May continues to flog this bloated pomp rock horse post-Mercury but they did a stirring version of Fat Bottomed Girls and the assembled dignitaries were shaking a shoe with aplomb.

But now it is time to come home. There is much important stuff to be done. Christmas is fast approaching and the BUBB Christmas party needs some thought. After all, my arse won’t photocopy itself.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Fashion tips for CEOs

When travelling, always go for lighweight, non-iron shirts. Oxford cotton, naturally. Other helpful hints include: Never put your pants over your head when going through passport control and don't wear comedy Mickey Mouse socks to official functions. Oh and remember that duffle coats and Caribbean beaches don't mix well. I should write a book. Or at the very least be brought to one.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Life's a beach

It's Tuesday so I must be....out of the office, probably abroad. Yes, I am in Trinidad. At least I thought I was, but I went to Tobago by mistake. No matter, it is very nice here and I'll saunter off to the correct destination once I've had a few more rum punches, coconut croissants and Caribbean cliches.

I've certainly been racking up the air miles this year and my passport has more stamps than a toddler's tantrum convention. I have now visited over 10 countries. And that doesn't include the North. Or Wales. I can't exactly recall what is happening in Trinidad, something to do with brolly sector honchos from Commonwealth countries and some big Commonwealth shindig. A quaint, patronising throwback to the heady days of Empire it may be (we will be speaking the mother tongue, Oxford English, naturally) but it shits all over the bureaucratic nonsense that is the EU.

We will be discussing some pretty fundamental human rights issues and Uganda may be in for a blow to the kidneys if they don't back down over proposals to give the death penalty, or even worse, send people to prison for prancing around with an umbrella in a "gay way". I am all for innovative solutions to filling yet more prisons, run by us naturally, but it wouldn't work in the UK, where most people just look miserable when carrying a brolly.

It would be nice if Fab or Geof were here to carry my bags and fan me with cocktail umbrellas. But I saw an interesting snippet about Obama's recent trip to the Chinese takeaway. Or was it China? No matter: "Obama made at least some impact on the Chinese public, though, as soon as he got off the plane in Shanghai: He was carrying his own umbrella. That impressed many Chinese, who are used to seeing their political leaders with an underling holding their umbrella for them. One Chinese online commentator suggested: “Why don’t we learn from U.S. President Obama’s spirit of umbrella-holding?”"

I do agree with Obama in that I don't let anyone hold my brolly for me. But that's because I don't trust them. I have seen Hector staring longingly at a number of cherished pieces from my collection. However, there is nothing wrong with showing staff who the boss is and getting them to perform menial tasks. That's what they are there for. I don't even bother with delegation. I let Hector do that for me. Saves me more time for foreign jaunts.

Monday, 23 November 2009

You pay what you get for

I am going to reheat another tired old campaign of mine now. I have long felt that the standard of brolly governance would be much improved if people could be paid to look after their gamps. Ignoring the fact that most people quite happily own a gamp voluntarily and are happy to do so and that having adequate time to devote to looking after an umbrella is often a bigger barrier than the money, I will still push this suggestion forward in the hope that I can make a tidy packet from overseeing yet more brollies. Some have pointed out that this would simply lead to all of the bigger and more expensive umbrellas ending up in the hands of 20 or so brollycrats milking a comfortable second living. And as long as I am one of them what's wrong with that?

What I really need now to finish off my argument is to shamelessly piggyback on the memory of a respected high profile brolly sector notable who has died recently and was once connected with a committee that had some radical views that are only very tenuously linked with my own. I could then claim that my ramblings are just a 21st Century reworking of hers even though they aren't and anyway, she isn't here to defend herself any more. But even I wouldn't do that would I?

The other reason why high salaries and extra remuneration is so much on my mind recently is that I accidentally bought this recently and have cashflow issues. Apparently, if you wave your hand around during an auction you can end up buying something you don't want. Who knew?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A brave trek to sanctuary

On Monday, my blog had a picture of a poor delicate flower of a brolly which had been abandoned after sustaining severe injuries in last weekend's winds. As you can see from these new pictures, there is still hope for it. Yesterday I noticed it had moved 2 feet and was sheltering 'neath a rock.

Today it had moved again, away from the rock, towards the safety of the nearest house. It still has some distance to go but I will monitor its progress. Of course I could just pick it up and help it myself but I fear
I would get a reputation such as the great Victorian leader Gladstone (himself linked to umbrellas) had for assisting fallen women.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Personalising stuff for members

We launched our interim first draft not-quite-finished initial-findings-with-no-firm-conclusions-as-yet report of BUBB's Commission on Personalisation yesterday. All attendees received their own personal copy with their name on it.

The personalisation agenda is a big opportunity for the brolly sector, especially if we all work together as one. If everyone was made to have their name emblazoned on their umbrella it would mean people could be re-united with their lost gamp much quicker if they leave it on the tube. And it would save the government a fortune on ID cards.

After that I went to a meeting with the excellent brolly sector team of Veronica Squif and Vanessa Doublechin who batter us in government by doing things like suddenly pulling the plug on the campaigning fund that people used to fund the printing of slogans on gamps. Witches. This is clearly not compliant with the terms of the Compact (a small fold-away brolly that fits in your handbag) and is something I really should be making more noise about instead of wittering on about peripheral concerns such as Lotte Shight and the bankers. But as Hubert Carrington's mob at NCVO have already taken up the baton on this one I am finding it very difficult to agree with them and work in partnership.

Bogge de Jour

You may have seen in the news this weekend that the former prostitute who funded her PhD as a high class call-girl, and then wrote of her encounters under an assumed name, Belle de Jour, has finally revealed her identity. Obviously I am suspicious of the motivation of anyone who feels the need to hide behind a ridiculous pseudonym. The rumours circulating that I am in fact behind the equally mysterious Bogge de Jour diaries, about a brolly enthusiast pimping out high-class umbrellas to fund his City & Guilds in plumbing, are well wide of the mark.

On a different note, it is interesting to see Gordon Brown planning a handover of power in Afghanistan. If the brolly sector is going to have a bash at running prisons, I say to hell with it, let's have a pop at running a war-torn, conflict riddled Asian pseudo-democracy as well. Who's up for it?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Zero tolerance

There should be proper punishment for people who take feeble umbrellas like this out into the weather we have had this weekend. What are they thinking? When we're running the prisons there'll be special units for brolly wallies so they can learn the error of their ways. And I am going to start a programme of little visits from one of Don Boggi's boys (Gamp champions, or Gampions), perhaps offering a little protection for people's umbrellas, if you know what I mean. Right, time for breakfast. Meatballs and croissant.

The Boggfather

Did you hear me on the radio on Saturday evening? I was discussing the topic that I can't mention any more, excessive salaries, on Gorgeous George Giveaway's lively show on Talk Shite radio. He called me "Capo dei capi" - boss of bosses. So Dylan Twirley and Donnie Fiddly and Lotte Shight and anyone else who crosses me had better beware. For I am the Boggfather, Don Boggi. I'll make them all an offer they can't refuse, such as borrowing an umbrella from me when it's raining. I keep my sworn enemies close, and everyone else closer. Capiche?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Boggian boggedness

Bumped into Dame Luci Vinyl (chair of the Umbrella Commission and feisty defender of the brolly brand) on a pedestrain crossing in Westminster. She was furious, especially as the cab I was in had jumped a red light. But when she calmed down we got talking about the thing I said I wouldn't blog about again - salaries. She was pleased to see me defending umbrella interests and praised my Boggian doggedness, or Boggedness as I like to call it.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

We need Fiddly salaries

My breakfast was immeasurably improved when I opened an email from brolly accounting guru, Fresh Princey. You know he's a guru because he goes around telling everyone he is. Of course I wouldn't dream of reproducing a private email verbatim just to make a point about me deserving a fat wedge but let's just say that Fresh was very supportive of BUBB's position on excessive salaries.

I will now try and draw a line under this whole affair and worry about something else. Like whether to back the Labour or Conservative philosophical approach to the role of brollies in society as the election approaches. I have been attending a number of lectures recently which have been illuminating.

On one hand Labour have such intellectual giants as Ian Scorn. On the other, David Cameron went to Oxford, naturally. And where was Gordon Brown miseducated? The University of Edinburgh. Being schooled overseas at what was probably formerly the Polytechnic of Scotland or something won't do. Cameron it is.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The actions of one effect us all

I am still shaking like a jelly in an earthquake at the sheer cheek of Donnie Fiddly at Divide about the supposed excessive wage culture in the umbrella sector. I have asked my deputy Hector Rule to write him a letter (his handwriting is better than mine but that in no way makes me unfit in itself to run anything). Hector made some splendid points and finished off by offering Donnie out for a fight.

Donnie may have only been referring to the few cases of ludicrous pay in our sector but he has to remember that highlighting the one or two examples that are out of line tars everyone else with the same brush. Or to put it another way, it only takes one loose cannon to bollocks it up for the entire sector.

To try and calm down last night I watched Harry Potter. What a pile of sub-Blyton shite that was. There were points whether I wondered if it was really meant for children.

And fabulous news this morning as Maggie Pott, chief executive of Tomorrow's Brollies, which seeks to find ungainful employment for redundant umbrellas, has been made a pier by David Cameron. She has to stand in the sea at Southend while balancing fish and chip shops, roller coasters and amusement arcades on her back.

I ring to congratulate her. She is momentarily phased, which is a bit of a blow as I only meant to faze her.

Monday, 9 November 2009

People who live in glass houses, shouldn't.

Oooooh, I am HOPPING MAD. I have got my knickers so far in a twist that I frighten dogs when I speak. I have got myself into so much of a lather that Fab Jobsworth is using me as shaving foam. I am so heated that you could fry an egg on my forehead. (I only said "could", incidentally Hector. I didn't expect you to take me literally and leave me with egg all over my face.)

Why am I so incandescent with rage? Donnie Fiddly, head of the Divide union, has made some comments about excessive salaries in the umbrella industry, while he sits there on his fat pension-plan protected arse earning millions of pounds a year plus perks and bonuses.

I am not saying he doesn't deserve it - his is a challenging role for a complex organisation and anyone who can climb the greasy pole and stay at the top for years in a job they are clearly unfit for gets my full admiration. But leave the brolly sector out of it, eh Donnie?

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Dinner, conference, party, exhaustion

Feeling a bit better now so I’ll write up the bits I can remember of the last few days.

The pre-conference dinner on Wednesday evening went off incredibly well. We had 8 MPs, 2 permed secretaries, 3 mincers and the head of the no. 2 policy unit. So plenty of meat for my members to get stuck into, though on reflection we probably should have served chicken rather than roasted human flesh.

I had to have a quiet word in the umbrella minister Veronica “Gubbins” Squif’s shell-like after she took the piss gently out of me during her speech. No one gets away with that. And when talking to an influential guest with the ear of the Chancellor, I slipped him a micky then tattooed the words “Umbrella Bank needed urgently” on his forehead.

It ended up being a late night but it was an early start at the conference the next day, where we had more top speakers than you could shake a brolly at. Although I did try.

I kicked things off with some wise words from Genesis. In many ways the situation that BUBB is in at the minute as an organisation mirrors this pop combo’s own in the mid 70s. I am obviously Peter Gabriel – flamboyant, larger than life, sometimes incomprehensible while Hector is Phil Collins. Quiet, steady and providing the strong backbeat that underpins my own work, while waiting patiently to unseat me and change direction. And then release a series of ever-increasingly bland MOR solo records.

As Phil put it himself:

“Just as I thought it was going alright
I find out I'm wrong, when I thought I was right
It's always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

Running around, staying out all night
Taking it all instead of taking one bite
It's always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

I could leave but I won't go
Though my heart might tell me so
I can't feel a thing from my head down to my toes

So why does it always seem to be
Me looking at you, you looking at me
It's always the same, it's just a shame, that's all”

I can’t remember all of the presentations as I was twittering away like a good ’un (“If you follow me, I will follow you”) rather than concentrating. But my Great Aunt Maud and Vanessa Doublechin both sounded eloquent and erudite without actually saying much.

BUBB’s own Northern soul, Ben N’Jerry also quoted some Genesis.

“Ooh, Superman where are you now
When everything's gone wrong somehow?
The men of steel, the men of power
Are losing control by the hour

There's too many men, too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see this is a land of confusion?

Well this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in

I won't be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We're not just making promises
That we know, we'll never keep”

Some appropriate philosophy there I am sure we can all agree.

Then it was off to party. The brilliant Fab Jobsworth had got hold of some fireworks but there was a bit of an incident involving Barkles. The age-old safety rule says that pets should be kept indoors on bonfire night. However, I can report that this is daft advice if you decide to light fireworks in your house. Unfortunately a stray rocket set fire to the hound’s back leg. Geof Sachell responded instantly by dousing the poor mutt in champers, while I shouted out “Don’t waste the good stuff”. We had a good laugh afterwards, especially when my superb head of comms, Marina McMoan joked that we should rename the singed creature “Sparkles”, which ironically is the name of the dog in my spoofer Stephen Bubb’s blog.

It is all a bit of a blur after that but I must have gone for a late night bike ride if the evidence presented in this picture taken the next day is anything to go by.

As I blog I look at the lemon that my sister gave me and contemplate how many BUBBles I have consumed over my 5X years.

Friday, 6 November 2009


Not. Feeling. Great. Will. Resume. Blog. About. Dinner. Conference. Party. Over. The. Weekend. It. Has. Taken. Me. Ten. Minutes. To. Type. This.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Anyone want to see a picture of me as a baby?

I will write some in-depth waffle from our conference today later. The important thing to say for now is that lunch was tremendous, really first rate. There have been some presentations as well, but they are just filler really between the coffee breaks and lunch.
And as word has somehow leaked out via the twittering classes, my supposed-to-be-private birthday party is tonight at the Well Oiled Brolly Tavern, East Lambeth. If you want to attend you need to knock three times on the back door.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Meeting heroes: Jack, Mandela and Reggie

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.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Measuring impact impact impact impact impact

Everyone wants to measure the social as well as the economic impact of umbrella organisations. And so there are some 70 different impact measurement tools around. What I want to do is find an impact measurement tool to measure the impact of different impact measurement tools. And then create something to measure the impact of that tool and so on ad nauseum in a never-ending spiral of measuring rather than actually doing anything.

I saw a great example of impact measurement from Germany today, pioneered at Doodlebug University, and as soon as I have it translated into Bogglish so I can properly determine whether it is bollocks or not, I will let you have the powerpoint slides. But before then I would never dream of promoting something I don't really understand just because it fits in with my not so hidden agenda.

And it is all systems go for our annual conference on Thursday (and don't forget, it is my birthday as well - feel free to lay on your birthday wishes via the comments box or Twitter). I am looking forward to cheerfully saying that the worst of the recession is yet to bite, in a very smug way. To be honest there have been times when I did worry whether the umbrella sector would suffer as badly as I predicted but thankfully it looks like the time-lag effect is going to be positive, at least for my soothsayer reputation, if not for my members.

Celebrating All Saints

Yesterday marked the 16th anniversary of All Saints so I went to a special sing song event. Readers who know of my almost fanatical devotion to the vocal charms of "umbrella-ell-ella" chanteuse Rihanna will not be surprised that in the 1990s the Appleton sisters, Melanie Blatt and Shaznay Lewis rocked my world with their exquisite female harmonies, infectious melodies and philosophical lyrics.

A group of fans get together every year to have a massive karaoke party where we belt out gems from their peerless back catalogue.

An extra treat this year was the attendance of the Anglican church's arch-pop-culture-bishop, Dr Rowan Williams (pictured). Obviously he came in disguise and removed his false beard to escape media attention but he led the chorus on "Never Ever" which was a real treat.

Also present was one of London's leading karaoke exponents, our intern Jan Tygers, who is currently working on BUBB's policy of sucking up to the Tories. Not only does he earn the distinction of being one of the first work experience bods in history to be spoofed in a blog but he has a fine set of pipes. He does not sing in the office, or not so as I have noticed but then I wouldn't have as I am never there. My staff could be hosting whole productions of The Ring in my absence for all I know.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Rain pelteth

Sitting in the waiting room at the hospital so plenty of time to blog, tweet and catch up with emails. After a successful eye operation earlier in the year I am booked in for follow up surgery. While the initial procedure went well, a slight correction is required as apparently I am squinting too far to the right as the general election approaches.

I seem to have upset the BBA (British Banking Apologists) with my comments last week about its chief executive, Lotte Shight. Apparently she didn't say we should all "move on" from the banking cock-up. This was a quote wrongly attributed to her by the press and then repeated by popular satirical news programme Have I Got Paraphrased News for Those Who Believe Everything They See on the Telly. OK, Lotte, I am prepared to apologise but stop whinging about it eh? Move on, darling, move on.

I also decide that perhaps I should retire from Twitter as there is too much unpleasantness and bad puns on there. However, my big decision provokes little reaction, other than "well sod off then" which is bloody typical. When Stephen "national treasure" Fry gets a little grumpy and threatens to stop it is BBC news. When I do it, nothing. I even have to set up my own "Save Robin Bogg" campaign. But people need to see the bigger picture. Twitter would soon fold without me and my 167 followers.

My spirits are lifted, however after a stroll by the Thames. I have an excellent lunch at the Ponce de la Tour which is of course where Bill Clinton once had an overpriced steak with Tony and Cherie. This gives me a shameless opportunity to include a picture of Bill with the umbrella I gave him in New York recently.

Note that I am not in the picture as I am taking it. If I were to be in it as well it would look suspiciously like I had asked someone to record the apparently casual and unstaged moment for posterity.

While this is a spurious reason to include a photo I think I can do better. I muse upon the journey of the Thames to the sea and how the seas join the ocean and if you keep going you might land up on a Pacific island where the natives are head hunters, just like my good friend Donald Holding (click on the link for a reminder of what he can do for you as I rarely mention it myself).

Admittedly, Donald's publicity material is a little basic. It was designed by someone he headhunted (Oxford graduate, naturally) but unfortunately their strengths were in poetry not graphic design.

Speaking of poetry, Blacbury looked splendid at the weekend as it was pissing it down. The whole town was like to bubbles when rain pelteth (I don't want to be patronising and arrogant now but I am going to be anyway - rain pelteth is a poetic allusion to those schooled on the national curriculum and so unaware of poetry. Obviously only those of us who have had proper education could possibly even begin to hope to enjoy literature.)