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London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.
We are on fire, as I write. Like Ed Morrow or Walter Cronkite, during the blitz, I am standing here watching and reporting the smoke rise and the debris fall on a great nation, a gutsy people, a proud race..... actually it is only an alarm but it's very exciting.
As was a man who for the life of me looks like Bob Hoskins with a beard, when he learned his son had walked into a camp-site and said his name was Jamie. Jamie had been missing for 12 days in a beautiful but dangerous mountainous region of Australia. Not an alarm and rehearsal for him - this was the real thing. His dad flew to Oz to help in the hunt only to be told, yesterday, the lad was probably done for by the dingos. Then the phone rang as he was about to board the plane back home... Liz takes up the story that echoes with laughter and relief from north London to the Blue Mountains.
Our next story is more of a challenge. On the one hand, a lovely guy and popular teacher, died in tragic circumstances and is much missed by friends and pupils alike. On the other hand, he was on a bender in Brighton and ended up... well, I'll let Lewis take up the story but believe me you will need to understand irony as much as sympathy for this one. He was a Kiwi who lived and worked in Harrow.
All I need now is a Tasmanian to make up the set. The Oz, that's our Alex rather than the continent country suddenly finding the means to speak, tells me Tasmania is part of Australia. Constitutional and legally, of course it is but I think the Hobart Straights stands between her position and mine, and, indeed, between Tasmania and the mainland.
I have scoured my notes from a particularly noisy and rushed meeting and there are no Tasmanians so I'll move on, accepting it as only a part-job done, in antipodean terms.
Our schools are full. Well, they're not - they are emptying fast as the summer holidays begin. But come September they will be full to over-flowing. The off-spring of redundant Lehman Brothers employees are, I am told, forming orderly queues with others whose mums and dads had scrimped and saved at the margin to buy a private education for their little darlings only to feel the squeeze of the recession or the grim thump of a P45 landing alongside the school fees bill. Add to that Londoners were breeding more successfully 5 years ago and you have a problem. Perhaps we couldn't have predicted the recession, whatever Jeff Randall tells you on Sky and in the Daily Telegraph, but the baby-boom of 2004 would have proved a bit obvious, wouldn't it. We'll ask the spokesman for Admissions Policy for London's Schools what, as Lenin put it, is to be done?
When a mummy deer is shot by poachers and the mummy deer has three baby deer, what is to be done? An extended re-make of "Bambi"? "Bambi -the revenge", in which three orphaned deer rampage across Norfolk and trample a poacher to death? The possibilities are limitless. We have a nicer answer which you will enjoy. Glen plays Thumper.
Was it her destiny as a child to be a Chicago moll? I don't know but we'll ask Michelle Williams.
Robin says it is too wet to go out so he'll do the forecast in the studio. It is raining and it is St Swithin's day. All that I didn't know about that particular superstition was that St. S was a chap and not a chapess. A fine school for fine girls in Winchester is named after him. Was there another side to him, beyond the meteorological thing? Not sure I want to know but I may ask Robin.
The Oz says we're wimps - the fire-alarm and all that. She may have a point but I've always thought fire safety and adhering to alarms is the better part of valour. Like taking drinks out to your last two batsmen when defeat is staring the possibility of a draw in the face. I don't think she's forgiven us... anyway, the next Test opens at Lord's tomorrow so we preview it with an open contest between the rival tribes of supporters. It is a frightening prospect made all the more terrifying when I tell you Damien is the man in the white coat and white trilby with three jumpers wrapped round his shoulders. I am heading for the long grass, via silly mid-on and probably off. That will make some of you smile as it stumps others.

See you at six, so long as we reach the boundary without touching the ground......
Alastair and Alex

FW: weather blog

Good evening,
Last night there was a perfect example of a shower, live on TV during the weather bulletin.
I was standing in a recently revamped garden in Wandsworth, instructions from the studio being beamed via the magic of a satellite truck through my earpiece, & no sooner had I received my cue to talk than a shower started.
The fact that it was a light one was both lucky & unlucky. Lucky because I didn't get drenched but unlucky because it wasn't visible on screen & I was therefore able to make no more than a passing reference to it. My walk to the station moments later (I'd declined the obligatory ITN limousine ride back from work to my front door in the interests of fitness) was not only dry but also pleasantly sunny with the net result that it felt like a completely different day. Perhaps 'unsettled' -which is what's currently on offer- is the meteorological equivalent of schizophrenic, leaving us dodging sunburn & soakings in equal measure & never feeling totally relaxed.
My challenge, on a professional level, is to find fresh ways of saying "sunshine & showers" in a bid to keep interest levels up & viewers tuned in even if the news on the weather front isn't particularly good.
See you later,