Let me first of all clear up a matter that has been perplexing certain people who have been emailing me. "Month 4 Day 13" (as above) actually means that I have been engaged in this bizarre project for only 3 and a half months, not 4 and half, and I therefore have 3 months still to go. Remember, Michael gave me an extra two weeks to complete my task, following the bombings by those utterly evil murderers in early July, a time that we both thought it inappropriate and insensitive to send any of my letters out for a fortnight.
Today I had 3 'meetings' pencilled in, my most productive day so far, and a day in which 3% of my entire challenge could be accomplished in the space of five hours.
In days of old, when knights were bold ecetera, witnessing the sight of Halley's Comet was said to be an ominous sign. Likewise, during Macbeth's lifetime, kings tended to be terrified when learning that their horses were eating each other, as this tended to herald fateful news. Like the news that the 2.30 at Ascot would have to be cancelled.
My own ominous portent doesn't relate to bright lumps of rock in the sky, or equine cannabilism, it revolves around the showing of the film Apocolypse Now on TV (as happened last night).
The first time I viewed it was the night before my economics A-level, when I became so engrossed in the action that I forgot to revise the importance of price elasticity of demand to the producer of goods, an ended up getting an 'N' in the exam. I then viewed it several years later, and ended up staying awake so late to watch the climactic scenes of Marlon Brando, that I overslept and missed my flight to Alicante. Having again watched it last night, I faced today with a certain amount of trepidation.
Ok, so it was raining heavily as I left for 10 Downing Street, not the end of the world. The fact that the Northern Line was completely shut, rankled me only slightly. I made my way to Marylebone to take the ever reliable Bakerloo line.
As I walked through the station, however, I had to chuckle when a recorded tannoy announcement stated that "Swiping your Oyster card at the start of every journey will ensure that the correct fare has been paid." How on earth, in that case, have I ended up with a sum of negative 90pence on my Oyster? I don't recall missing my stop at Clapham Junction and alighting at Barcelona.
Anyway, I accidently left my umbrella on the tube and made my way up Whitehall. Outside the gate at Downing Street, I explained to a surprised looking officer of the law what I was there for and apologised that I was five minutes early. "Don't worry" he replied, "after going through all the security checks you'll be five minutes late."
At the famous door, I announced my arrival to another policeman and stood there in the rain waiting to be ushered in. "Well you have to knock," he informed me after about 20 seconds, and so I did, whilst at the same time wondering whether I was the first person ever to pass through this famous portal in a hooded tracksuit top.
Apart from Mrs Thatcher.
Possibly. (Happy Birthday by the way)
Once inside, I informed another officer that I was there to have a photograph taken of myself and the Prime Minister's wife. He telephoned up to the delightfully efficient Sue, PA to Cherie, before inviting me to take a seat in a chair. The chair right next to the notice on the wall that read "under no circumstances are mobile phones or cameras to be used here." Oh dear I thought.
Sue came down and was as nice as a particularly nice pie. We chatted and she took a picture of me outside number 10 (above).
Cherie followed soon after and was extremely warm and welcoming and so I stopped shaking and was put at ease, for that I am very grateful. I thanked her very much for helping me and was introduced to her fantastic young son Leo, who made me smile very much, as he was very sweet. I complimented him on his great trainers complete with flashing lights.
It was explained that he had the day of school today, as part of it had flooded. He appeared most delighted. "Maybe I'll have the week of school", the beaming Leo suggested. "Maybe you'll have the year off school," I winked to him. He digested my comment and with an innocent smile said "Yeah, maybe I'll have the year of school!"
"Um, no I don't think so," said his mother, putting us both in our place.
Cherie was so friendly and down to earth that I was bowled over. We had our photo taken in front of a lovely oil painting, and I was then given a signed copy of her book for the RNIB charity auction, which both everyone at the charity, and I, are extremely grateful for.
And that was it. I left Downing Street to be greeted by an audience of chattering Oriental tourists, who possibly mistook me for the Minister of Sloppy Dressing, and made my way back to the tube.