Spending a peaceful weekend in Blacbury enjoying the rain. I am supposed to be in Brighton schmoozing the Tories but I cannot be fagged. Not when I have got 2 weeks worth of Corrie to catch up with. Last week was pretty full on. I have been busier than Christine Pratt's whistle and haven't had time to run the UK's premier umbrella body. But that's OK as technically that is Hubert Carrington's job.
After the fun and games of the NCVO conference where I managed to avoid detection all day, the next evening we had a parliamentary reception for the Brolly Investment Business with such political make, I mean heavy, weights as my Great Aunt Maud and Vernica Squif. The wine was awful but as befits our business model we couldn't dish the canapes out fast enough - never mind the quality we just wanted to ensure they were all troughed as quickly as possible. And appropriately the speeches were delivered speedily without much thought as to the impact of the words.
Then the next day it was a breakfast meeting with the Chancellor who laid on a pretty ropey spread of half eaten croissants. "I see the cuts are biting, Darling" I joked as I walked in. "Yes" he replied. "You are getting the leftovers of what the bankers had yesterday. Just like the rest of the taxpayers."
I was shitting myself about the presentation I had to give about how the umbrella sector can transform public service delivery. But I figured that if can't bullshit with authority on the subject who can?
Roz Berry from the Women's Brolly Voluntary Service gave a cracking slide show about its Brollies on Trollies service where they go round to the houses of the infirm and drag them out in to the garden when it is drizzling. They provide them with a gamp thus ensuring that those who would usually remain dry in their own home can enjoy the use of an umbrella.
Hubert Carrington (he typed through gritted teeth) was masterful though Berry nearly got a right hander for suggesting Hubert and I would make an effective double act afterwards. Though if we were to team up, he would be Saint and I would be Greavsie. Suggestions for other double acts on which we could model ourselves welcome via comments please!
The Chancellor agreed to a series of meetings to discuss how we might begin to formulate ways in which we can brainstorm how to drill down into some of the methods of beginning to bring the best of these ideas to the metaphorical table. And then he muttered under his breath "It will be George's problem anyway." But hopefully we can establish a Commission for Implementing Good Ideas Quickly by 2050.
After the breakfast I had a meeting with the BUBB trustees where I had to explain myself. Again. Every bloody year we go through this. 15 hours later when I had finished my chair threw a mug at me exclaiming "I suppose we have no choice but to keep calm and hope you don't make too much of a carry on".
Then it was onto conduct some interviews as I have been busy seeking victims to volunteer to undertake a series of umbrella related torture.
Mind you, this all rather pales into insignificance compared to what my European supremo, Pepe Ohdearie, director of EuCLUTS (the European Committee of Leadership in Umbrella Technology and Sophistication) has been up to. He has been invited to the Vatican to discuss such issues as whether Catholic umbrellas should have covers for protection, but knowing him he will unleash his style and energy and end up going clubbing or to a steam room with the Pope. How do you like your eggs in the morning, your holiness? Benedict.