By way of guiding you through the economic downturn back to the sunny uplands of commercial contentment and solvency, we have brought you our Top Tips - I, myself, have changed credit cards and reviewed Standing orders - and we unveiled "Recession Road". Not quite Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" - no "selling postcards of the hanging" nor "painting the passports brown" -but just round the corner, second left and third on the right - it is not unlike it.
We were thrilled, therefore, when one of you, our band of loyal viewers, penned a ditty to that title, putting words and melody to our concept. OK, it isn't Ray Charles, but he is OUR Ray and we are thrilled to share his soaring efforts at 6.
Some little time ago, in better times, we carried a report on a very collectable range of honey from one of London's finest grocery stores. A clip on YouTube attempted to suggest that video of KD and my good-self, sampling the product of the bees' best efforts, had more to do with narcotics than nectar which, I must say, we took a bit amiss though not too seriously. I returned to the grocer to buy my wife her Christmas truffles and queued, with my eleven year old son, for an age - such was the demand for the fine confections. Oscar put several chocolate Santas, a fistful of chocky dollars, and a white cocoa pig in my basket before I had even selected the dusted plain truffles I wanted for Herself. It was a good day for him, a good day for the shop, and my bank manager forgave me. It was that time of year.
You can imagine, then, my sadness and shock to learn that Fortnum & Mason's are shedding jobs. I do hope my chocolate vendor and our honey supplier aren't among them. But for anyone to lose their job is ghastly, incapable of being "sweetened" by any amount of honey or chocolate. As Fagin says in "Oliver!", we are 'reviewing the situation' and will give you our take on London's prospects as seen from the trading floors of F&M - if the toffs have stopped shopping for toffees, we really are in the sweet and sour of a recession.
You may opt for alcohol to numb the pain. Pub? Off licence? However you do it, if you do it, remember - YOU MUST BE OVER 18. And however old you look, remember, you might still be called upon to provide ID. Whatever your age? Well, I know a lot of 15 year olds (they go to school with my 15 year old son) who look 18 and more; and I know a few 23 and 26 year olds (friends of my older children) who look like choir boys and girls, not yet old enough to vote nor buy the Devil's water. But a 65 year old woman? Never! Yes, actually, and on our patch. D.O.B to the fore, Marcus examines the assertion that whilst "age shall not weary them", irritating shopkeepers might.
I can't remember when Cubs become Scouts nor when Brownies become Guides but I think, nowadays, they've all been lumped together like a sheep-shank knot that's gone horribly wrong. I was a Scout and my arm was weighed down with badges. Faye, (lose black trousers yet still quite clingy top) was thrown out of the Brownies but claims, incredibly, not to recall the reason. Bet she was a Pixie. She still is. Anyway, a couple of modern-day heirs to Baden-Powell and the Brownsea Island experiment shattered all illusions when they gave evidence to the House of Commons on knife crime today. Good for them and good for you to give ear. Glen, in shorts and a toggle, is your guide. Scout, that is, but you get my point.
You may also want to give ear to Lewis Vaughan Jones' guests. Many of you will certainly want to feast your eyes upon them, too. Others will dismiss them as talentless upstarts from the other side of The Pond but that may be because they are beautiful, successful singers, one of whom is dating the best racing driver in the world. Think "Felix", think "Barbie", forget "Garfield", forget "Cabbage Patch" - got it? You really won't want to miss them.... honest.
Some guys are planning to play cricket on Everest, for charity. Silly-mid-on and silly-mid-off are fielding positions in cricket. Say no more. Harsh. It is for charity so it is A GOOD THING. Details, hiding in the long grass, will be sent your way with a deft edge stroke from Piers Hopkirk. (Suffolk and England: av: 52. Best 7 for 32 against Worcs)
Finally, the Police are looking for things they may have "missed" 30 years ago in a tragic killing of a beautiful young mum. I am not optimistic but I admire their determination, after all these years, to make sure they have done their best ... to do their duty.... etc. It is a famous "Cold Case" and Phil is with them as they leave no stone unturned.
Weather, papers, your thoughts on knives and scouts... an eclectic mix to raise your spirits, tickle your fancy and make you think.
You'll need a chocolate after that lot. Not KD, however: she's at the dentist but promised to be back - or, at least, I think that is what she was mumbling through the anaesthetic - she may be ordering mouthwash and aspirin!
See you at 6, when we'll both find out.
Alastair & Katie