There's nothing like having a day off work on a crisp and sunny December morning.
Actually there is. I'm assuming that someone, somewhere is presently lying on a sun-kissed beach sipping on a pina colada.
I was simply lying in my furnace of a bedroom planning today's 2 meetings in South London.
As I got ready to leave home I noticed that the sub-Saharan temperature in my flat (still trying to get rid of this infernal cough) had seen the weeping fig in my living room shed most of its leaves. Weeping? It now looks positively panic stricken. That's one to ask Alan Titchmarsh later today I thought to myself.
Our meeting was scheduled for the Temperate House at Kew Gardens, so from one temperate house to another and I feared I'd be late as the traffic when I approached was totally static. Basically there was a massive queue in Kew.
I did, though, make it on time and a huge thanks to Vince on the gate, who on learning my charity-based intentions, let me off the £10 entrance fee (I'm sure it used to be a nominal 2p to get in) and gave me a complimentary pass.
Kew was 'gorjus'. I love plants and trees and the like, the lungs of our planet aren't they, although slightly less wheezy and tar-lined than mine, so I must say I was a bit upset to see so many people ignoring the beauty of mother nature as they rushed off to slide around on a rink of frozen water.
Once that was all done and dusted Alan had a brief photoshoot with several people and then I took my opportunity to approach.
I've got to say I felt slightly sorry for him. Sat stock still for the best part of 2 hours, then being bossed around by a gaggle of camrea clickers, signing autographs and exchanging pleasantries with a group of elderly Yorkshire ladies and all the while the genial smile never left his face.
It transpired he had been expecting me and my fears were unfounded. He'd even ensured that his PA had bought a signed picture for the charity auction. So it was a very swift affair - the handshake, the giving of thanks on my part, the "good luck with it all" from Alan and then back outside.
Back past the buffoon ice-skaters (what is this recent national obsession with skating) past the sweet group of young kids who were making an imaginary wildlife documentary, past Irish Vince on the gate, and off to Wimbledon.