Friday, 16 November 2007


Today is the day the UK goes mad and gives money away left, right and centre.

Last year they raised 33million for children. This year they want to better that figure. On the Terry Wogan Show Radio 2 (yes, I still listen!) listeners were phoning in and almost throwing money into the pot. One tempting offer was to attend the British Grand Prix, meet the driver of your choice, meet the team, see the workshops, sit in the car, all the sort of stuff petrolheads adore, champagne lunch - the bidding went to £100,000. Gulp.

Two 6-course meals at the Sharrow Bay Hotel on Windermere plus a trip on the lake and a big Audi to drive - I think that went for £30,000.

Have lunch with Terry Wogan and Roger Moore - you've got to be olver fifty to know who they are! The last I hear that was £70,000.

Now I feel cosily secluded from the madness. The closest it encroaches is the Pudsey van parked right across the street from my home. No doubt Paul will be out in the cold with the BBC tonight while I stay warm inside and watch it on tv.

At the College, Children in Need seemed to be an excuse for the students to dress up, wear something outrageous and almost illegally sexy, to barge into classrooms, workrooms and libraries yelling and falling over with laughter - and waving buckets into which everyone was supposed to throw money.

The first time it happened was a surprise, and welcomed with good humour - but the 31st time it happened the old patience did a u-turn and flew out of the window. And it happened every year, without fail. For the students, it was new and exciting, but for the staff - the phrase sitting ducks comes to mind. OK, I'm an old Scrooge...but am I alone in noticing how often these days we're asked to donate for this cause or that, sponsor this run or that walk, attend this party but pay for the priviledge as the money's going overseas?

I'll let all these go by and just keep quietly donating twice a year to the RSPCA and Dogs Trust.

And admiring the Pudsey van.

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