To Westminster: whom should I come across but Sarah Teather? She is considering which measure to promote should she secure a favoured place in the next ballot for private members’ bills.
“I am thinking of taking up the problem of people slipping on carelessly discarded banana skins,” she tells me. “I think we should give local authorities a duty to pick them up.” “What, the people?” I ask with (I like to think) a twinkle. “No,” she replies, “not the people but the banana skins.” “What about people who are hit in the face with custard pies?” I return. “Yes, that is a problem too,” she says. “I am planning to call for the introduction of ASCRBOs – Anti-Social Custard-Related Behaviour Orders.”
I am about to say that I know of more than one restaurant that should be served with one of these – not enough custard with one’s pudding, do you see? – when a civil servant bursts out of a hitherto overlooked wardrobe in the room. As he rushes to the door his trousers fall down, revealing a splendid pair of polka-dot boxer shorts. I double up with laughter, but the delightful Sarah says: “Isn’t it terrible that there are people without trousers in Britain in the twenty-first century?”
Earlier this week
- Monday: Living with Mark Oaten