In honour of Spike, I am naming this post "Potato".

Thursday, June 26th, 2003

Firstly, a big welcome to my friends' list to Spike (). I've felt for some time that he was a glaring omission from DJ: the world looks… strange through his eyes. Audrey, Zowie – I'd take it as a personal favour if you'd stop by and say 'hello' to him, it'd make his day. Spike – if they do, you'd better behave like a gentleman or I'll have something to say about it… and so will .

Anyway, other stuff.

Leaving work yesterday I had a military escort… of sorts. I usually walk for about 10-15 minutes from work to Bank station, and yesterday for almost all of that time I was keeping pace with a military band in full red parade uniform with bearskin hats and a detachment of soldiers with rifles on their shoulders. They were marching down the centre of the road playing stirring martial tunes and I was walking on the pavement trying to look as if this sort of thing was an everyday occurrence. After a while I gave up on that and just gawped at them the same as the tourists did. Eventually they paraded off down another road and two black limos purred out from behind them… the second seemed to have bodyguards in it, couldn't see in the first – probably some fat-arsed politician.

Today I wore a hat to work, a panama hat. More people should wear hats, especially men – I have more hats than I have pairs of shoes. I deeply regret that they're no longer must-wear items. Since I was also wearing a pale brown summer jacket, chinos, and a beige outdoor shirt festooned with pockets and I haven't shaved for four days I attracted a fair amount of leg-pulling from my colleagues. I got accused of looking like Allan Quatermain, Hercule Poirot and Indiana Jones, while others suggested I should sit in a deck chair and wave my hand languidly while flunkies run around doing all my work for me and serving me tall drinks. Finally my boss appeared, looked at me quizzically, and boomed in broad Welsh tones “Andy, why have you come dressed as a gardener?”

Ho ho ho. Is it my fault if I have natural style? ;o)

Today was not a day during which much work got done. My immediate line manager leaves tomorrow to have a baby and we went down the pub at lunchtime to wish her farewell. Several people who might otherwise have come failed to attend – they had been to another leaving do there the week before and weren't at all sure they would be allowed back in. Apparently at this previous event the person leaving was neatly but comprehensively sick into an ice bucket. The bucket – now a mix of vomit and ice cubes like a very dodgy Slush Puppy – was quietly placed under a table and everyone left…

We needed an ice bucket at today's event, too, but for completely different reasons. The ceiling started to leak water. First one drip, then three, then a steady trickle, then a stream. We put a bucket underneath and got out fast.

I'm not sure I'm going there again for a while.

I have been writing this post for an hour. I'm stopping here and going to get me a life.

Actually, I'll probably go on AIM and MSN, but that counts, right?

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.