A Month To View
PUBLISHED: 11:34 22 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:45 20 February 2013
The charm of accountants, the fear of white water and the frustrations of utilities are on Judi Spiers' mind
The charm of accountants, the fear of white water and the frustrations of utilities are on Judi Spiers mind
Isnt it funny how one thing can lead to another? Last year I interviewed a delightful chartered accountant not two words you often see together, I"know. Tim Lerwill is also a writer of childrens fiction books. He grew up on a farm in North Devon and has published two books under the Farmer Tim Stories brand. Anyway, Tim asked me if I ever worked outside the region, and I admit to being a little tentative, as travelling anywhere north of Taunton nowadays fills me with dread!
He wanted someone to facilitate the West of England Society of Chartered Accountants awards ceremony in Bristol at which Lord Lamont was speaking. Turns out that apart from encouraging those present to donate to the chosen charity, The Princes Trust, all I had to do was hold the evening together. So it was with relish that I embarked upon bullying the number-crunchers to part with their money. Must have done something right because last week I received a lovely letter on behalf of the president of The Princes Trust, HRH The Prince of Wales, and a red lapel badge adorned with the Royal fleur de lys welcoming me as an Ambassador! So all that and a fascinating tete-a-tete with Lord Lamont over coffee.
Phil Hammond is the sort of doctor we should all have sensitive, informed, communicative and very funny. Still a practising GP, he is also a writer, broadcaster and possibly the only comedian to have appeared at a public inquiry. He was touring recently with Dr Phils Rude Health Show, and I couldnt help but laugh when he told me how during his training he had to stitch a deep cut on top of a patients head and ended up stitching his rubber glove to his head... resulting in the man looking like a demented cockerel!
In my days in regional television, I was a bit of a have-a-go girl. I have cleaned the windows of the Plymouth Civic Centre hanging over the side in a cradle, Ive gone headfirst from a smoke tower over the shoulder of a burly fireman, dived with sea lions off the Isles of Scilly, parascended between the legs of an Austrian I hadnt even been introduced to, and in latter years white-water rafted in Zimbabwe. The only thing I have ever hated and would never do again (apart, that is, from the window cleaning), is the white-water rafting. The instruction was minimal, as was the instructors English. I had to sit in the back with two non-swimmers who were terrified particularly as the next raft was full of gung-ho Aussies whose raison detre was to capsize us!
At last I have found another pretty have-a-go broadcaster who hated it too. Frank Gardner, the BBC award-winning security correspondent who had always been an adventure-loving soul before his disabling accident, still skis and dives. He too hated white-water rafting. Frank did capsize, came up under the boat, put his hand over the edge and trapped it the guide yanked him up and all was well until he noticed a row of people on the shoreline laughing, which is when he realised his trunks were around his ankles. As he put it: An undignified way to do the Zambezi!
Im not usually this careless, but a few months ago I found an uncashed cheque for 30 in one of my files from a utilities company. Only problem was it was dated 2005. So I rang and asked if they be good enough to honor it? Oh yes, said a very helpful lady. If you would like to send us a cheque for 13.60 to cover the costs.
How could they justify charging such an exorbitant amount? I knew it was pointless asking as I would no doubt get the some waffle about standard charges. Perhaps I should have asked my new friend, the former Chancellor of The Exchequer, Lord Lamont! Anyway I banked the cheque and so far no letters, no returns... so watch this space