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London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.
Hard to think, sometimes, that I get paid for what I do. Yesterday I sat next to Katie; tomorrow the Oz returns from whence I know not but return she does; and today, the elegant, witty, charming and occasionally giggly Lucy Cotter - though, believe me, she can do the serious bits with the best of them.
Morbidity and canonisation come to the mind of this old Catholic - I must have died and gone to heaven. Then I remember where I work and I am reminded more of purgatory than that beatific state of purity and karma. London can be the very best city or collective of humanity the world has to offer. Great teachers, teaching wonderful kids in marvellous schools - well some of the above is true in some parts of London - though the "wonderful kids" bit is more true, in my experience, than false. So we were all thrilled to bits when one school was doing so very well it was drawing down a King's ransom in bonuses for the top team. How nice that so many of them were friends, even relatives, too. Then an old curmudgeon in the Geography department called out the academic equivalent of "the Emperor has no clothes!". He suggested it was all a con. We dug, delved and dissected the assertions made by the master of the study of tectonic plates, and, lo, it transpired he had a point. Or several. Given the reaction of Ed Balls, it seems the Sec' of State has learned the management lessons of the Baby Peter case! Jon G wades through the cloud of chalk dust to find an abacus to do the sums.
As the geography teaching whistle-blower would tell you, speed bumps are an ecological gamble, an environmental hazard and often a social irritant: they force cars to emit more fumes by slowing down and speeding up and they tend to make cars make more noise. If they slow cars down and save lives, good. But it is also an issue of unintended consequences. On a long straight road outside a school, for example, they are probably a good thing. On a short cul-de-sac which curves, it seems unlikely to win in the old cost-benefit analysis stakes. Cue Lewis and the good folk of Mercia Grove who are up in arms - the Mercia Grove-ites, that is: not our impartial cool Welsh matinee idol.
I, too, am fiercely proud of my impartiality and that of this programme - we have to be, in law, but we are thrilled to be as a point of principle, too. It only slips with me a touch when it comes to charities and especially kids. So all I will say is that Robin is on a very good and very important story that features good and important things being done for people who deserve good and important things being done for them. It also features some very fine and very famous people who have made it, in part, possible. I didn't like his shark in formaldehyde but for this kindness to children, in their moment of need, I forgive him everything. There, I've given you a clue.
I can't spell. Never have been able to and it has got progressively worse as I have mastered reading out loud and using computers. The only reason most of these words are spelt correctly is that either the boss or a thing called WordCheck makes it so. So I will not be troubling the little darlings who know that eye comes before ee except after sea, and all other rules of lexicography. Why they call spelling bees bees I don't know but I hope they win a yacht or a bunch of chrysanthemums as their prize because I'd like to see their thank-you letters!
Decca famously turned down the Beatles and took on the Stones who used the London subsidiary label in the US of A for such stunners as "Flowers". The Beatles were taken on by Parlophone and used Capitol in the US of A but made no stunners until "Revolver" by which time the Stones were The Greatest Rock and Roll band in The World.
So, what will the signing of one of our premier Guards Bands do for Decca and are Parlophone, even as I write, considering the Band of the Ghurkas? The Pipes and Drums of the Kings Troop? Who knows but Nick is checking cap badges and bugles.
Glen phones in to say he has found a small creature terrorising a part of London to the effect that communications are disrupted and adults live in fear of even going to work. He may be exaggerating, or his "source" may have gilded the lily a little. I am not sure but am willing to give it a whirl. Join me in suspending belief for the sake of a potentially good yarn from the master of the ridiculous.
Chrissie's on the roof. She's not stuck up there but we chose to put her there and she accepted. We will let her down when she promises to forecast, in honesty, a good few days. Why are meteorological time periods called "spells" ? Why do witches and wizards cast "spells"? Letters to the kids who win the contest and we'll forward them.
Finally papers and your thoughts on the merits and de-merits of cul de sacs - the original was a purse, closed at one end, according to Websters. Aren't all purses closed at one end, by definition? Otherwise the coins would fall through. Education? Not worth what it's cracked up to be - unless you worked up Wembley way, or so they say !
See you at six when I will be all a glow.

Alastair and Lucy