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Mon 9th Feb

Good afternoon.

I suppose it might have been an initiative test in some search for new management trainees. If it was, it was pretty complicated.
First they had to choose their moment: appalling weather. Well, on Monday, along it came in spades - the worst for 18 years.
Then they had to square the Mayor - he dutifully went on tele' and said he didn't want it to be a "skivvers charter" but "staying at home" did seem a sensible option. Getting complicated, now. Following that, they had to ensure that a bendy-bus jack-knifed, allowing them to "pull" all 7999 other buses back to their depots. Might have been easier to get one to explode but the jack-knife was beautifully and safely executed. Finally, they had to fix it so that, bar a few stretches, the Underground stood at a standstill.

"Now, how many of our people will make it to work?", TfL may have thought, in a machiavellian manner. (Italian political theorist and henchman to the Borgias: see The Prince and the Florentine Letters).

Well, most got in but a few didn't and those that did aren't being made managers and those that didn't aren't being paid. The normally angry Bob Crowe is apocalyptic and the normally mild manner TfL are standing their ground. Odd because it is shifting a bit - was it just a handful who stayed away or a mightily disruptive critical mass? Can't have it both ways.

Harris -(it had to be, didn't it?)- seeks to untangle this philosophers knot of industrial relations and just remember - lack of tubes and buses disrupts you and lost revenues due to the aforementioned costs you. Ping-ping and mind the doors, here comes Harris.

In another case of having your gateaux and crashing those gleaming white incisors into it, rail firms are selling season tickets like there is no tomorrow and, for some of their passengers - SORRY:CUSTOMERS - there may not be as fewer carriages are being linked together to make up the average train-set (yes, that is REALLY what they call them) and fewer services, in some areas, are being run. Mike, who loves trains and all things "transport" wonders what it all adds up to. I could tell him but I still have to use the trains and don't want to get banned.

There's another story in the running order called RAILCROSS which I though might have been an up-sum of all the above but it is not. It is a visually compelling yet behaviorally terrifying expose of people playing chicken on level crossings. Kids in trainers and adults in cars - all are staggeringly stupid and all lucky to be alive. We'll also remind you of those who weren't lucky enough still to be alive in the hope it might stop people doing it. Watch out for how close an express can get to a foot - it is measured in angstrom units... quite unbelievable.

Totally believable are the measures property developers are going to tempt you to part with your "hard earned" to purchase one of their "well built"... as an economist, I don't think it will work but, as an investor, I may review my shares in mobile telephony and regret John Lewis is a partnership in which I can't buy shares.

Lucy is delving into "hip-hop meets the movies" and I am told by the Big Boss it is notorious. "Surely, she has not been that badly behaved", I ventured. His eyes glazed over as he explained all. You will be wowed, once you've, like me, got the drift. Another cracker from the lovely princess of entertainment.

Finally, my favourite story because it has so many dimensions, twists and turns. It is about dogs from Afghanistan that are not Afghan Hounds. It features a character called Bear who isn't that at all, and a very tough soldier who is known to all his friends as Penny. The dark side is fighting - human and canine - and the warm side is a trained killer doing his bit for man's best-friends. If that doesn't have Spielberg on the phone and you in your TV seats, I'll eat my sou' wester (look outside!).

Talking of which, Robin will tell me if I should stay in town and if you should stay in doors, today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable....
and the papers will be in English but we are watching the Standard closely, comrades.

Breaking News - Chelsea have sacked Scolari - Brazilian Blues...I can see it now!

Now, it may be the Oz. It can't be Katie, even if that is what the roster said. It will be someone unless, for me, it is like the initiative test the bus and tube gang faced on Monday last. Can I do both?

Share the resolution of this mystery with me, at 6.

I hear "Waltzing Matilda" and the pop of beer cans in distance.... could it be? Might it be?

See you later,


Alastair, PLUS The Oz, NOT plus Katie... or PLUS some other "belle of the ball" , should the slipper fit.