A bumper crop of letters awaited me when I staggered home last night, and I opened them whilst listening to Johan Sebastian Bach's Zardok the Priest on the TV. It's not that I'm a particular fan of classical music, it's just that the piece in question is the opening theme music for the UEFA Champions League programme and I was tuning in to watch Manchester United's decline and fall against Benfica.
So what epistles of delight were waiting for me? A jiffy bag sent by Orange in order to return the Nokia N70 that I don't wish to upgrade to (the 4,000 page instruction manual correctly lead me to assume that you need a degree in astrophysics to be able to work it). A letter from Camden Council demanding £100 for the cardinal sin of straying into a bus lane on Kilburn High Road. A letter from MBNA letting me know exactly how much money I don't have. A note from Royal Mail informing me that they couldn't quite cram a large fragile packet through my letterbox and replies from Jamie Oliver and Richard Wilson.
Jamie's assistant went to great pains to explain all of the charity work that the young celebrity chef is currently involved in, including his 15 Restaurant Project. I don't doubt any of it for a second. In fact just today I read an article in the Evening Standard entitled "Jamies's Jammin' Session" whith a picture of him playing the drums in the company of Joss Stone and Cat Deeley at a Great Ormond Street Fundraiser. Shame, I could have had a triple greeting had I been there.
Suffice to say, unfortunately he has no time to meet me.
Richard Wilson, on the other hand, was able to agree to a meeting. He wrote me a lovely personal letter to say that he'll soon be appearing in Cindarella in Wimbledon, and if I turn up one day and mention Greeting the 500 at the stage door, he'll give me 30 seconds of his time (and the stage manager will no doubt give me an odd look).
So far then, panto-wise, I have Peter Pan in Birmingham and Cindarella in South London.
I've actually just been looking at www.its-behind-you.com, the definitive guide to this quintissentially British phenomenon and blow me, if there aren't at least 30 off my list appearing up and down the country in make-up and frocks.
Amongst others we have one of my personal heroes, Richard O'Brien, appearing in Snow White in Milton Keynes. Darren Day is in Cinderella in Derby, Sir Ian McKellen is in Aladdin at the Old Vic and Scarlett Johansson is in Mother Goose at the Croydon Civic Centre.
(Ok I made the last one up).
What a shame then, that I foolishly agreed a clause with Michael in our bet stating that I can't simply turn up somewhere hoping to cross one more name off my list and that any meeting has to be agreed in advance.
An email that I received today from the agent of Robbie Coltrane aka Cracker aka Hagrid, mentioned that as he lives out of town and is something of a private person, he will sadly not be able to meet with me.