Well it's relatively late on Friday night and I was hoping to update this site slightly earlier as I have to be up early to meet John Francome at Newmarket tomorrow, but frankly I'm currently transfixed by Andy Murray's second round tennis match in the US Open. Without wanting to jump on any bandwagon, the guy's a bloomin hero as far as I'm concerned. The way he fights and gesticulates and chunters to himself like a madman is just fantastic. There's passion for you.
Anyway, I digress so back to today.
Driving through central London on a Friday afternoon is not particularly enjoyable at the best of times. But when you're pressed for time and St Johns Wood tube station has been closed causing traffic jams in that area, your passanger is crabby because he hasn't eaten for three minutes, you get stuck behind a dustcart in Paddington and then you accidently stray into Mr Livingstone's congestion zone, you know it's not going to be your day....But I was wrong.
Lord Archer resides in a building overlooking the Thames, not far from Parliament. As I approached it, with Michael lagging behind mumbling something about cigarettes and a petrol station, I noticed that a film crew were filming someone on a patch of grass in front of us. Well blow me down, if the subject didn't turn out to be a man who only recently was one of the most recognisable individuals on the planet. And I'm not talking about Telly Savalas.
Now I know that in theory I'm not supposed to approach celebrities from my list without having attempted to contact them beforehand. However, in practice, I had attempted to contact former Prime Minister John Major. In fact his letter was amongst the very first that I had sent out . In order to garner my handshake I approached one of Mr Major's aides on the sidelines, who despite not having the slightest inkling as to who I was and what I was blathering on about, "500 celebrities...RNIB....received my letter...photograph", listened to my plea and said that he would see what he could do.
In the meantime, Michael and myself entered the apartment building of Lord Archer despite being ten minutes early. Well, the aforementioned turned up on the dot of our pre-arranged meeting time, and truly was as nice as pie. Thrusting out a welcoming hand, we exchanged pleasantries before Lord Archer asked where we would like the picture taken. Michael piped up that we should go outside as it was a warm day (well he does carry a bit of extra weight), and so to the photograph that you see above.
As we made our way back inside to gather the auctionable memento, and my cack-footed friend embarassingly managed to kick over a metal bollard that formed part of the structure of the building, talk turned to John Major. Lord Archer seemed surprised to learn than he had never got back to me, as he considered the former PM to be a really good sport. Well all would become clear soon...
Up in Lord Archer's stunning apartment, we were generously given a book for the RNIB to auction, whilst an assistant fetched both Michael and I a drink to take with us. So basically a triumph all round.