Do the banks really deserve all these holidays that they are getting? Monday was another Bank Holiday here in the UK; I don’t like such days. Why? When I was at school we never got Bank Holidays off so I am used to working through them whilst everyone has the day off. I also don’t like the fact that the television and radio schedules temporarily change for the worse and also that you can’t get hold of anyone as they are all off driving up a motorway to the nearest bit of coastline. Anyway, on Monday I took myself off to Lakeland Plastics at Handforth, as I reported last week. Very exciting shop; I was in my element. I bought a knife sharpener, a fluted flan tin, some hob cleaner, and some grout re-whitener. But to be honest, I nearly bought the entire shop. It’s good to know that there is at last somewhere near me that I can go to get kitchen things (as I have said before, central Manchester lacks a cooks’ shop).
Some friends came over for dinner and I cooked them chilli con carne (not very exciting but it was all I could do at short notice) and triple chocolate brownies. Now, these brownies are indeed the best ones ever. I do appreciate that everyone says that their brownies are the best and so on, but these really are the best I’ve tried. I am not one to say to give out praise where praise is not due, so I deem myself a good judge of such things having tried many brownies. The recipe came from my mother and everyone who ever tried them when she cooked them adored them, and now I make them, people say equally wonderful things about them.
That evening I went off to the BBC in Manchester once more and did a piece for BBC Radio 5 Live on the change in British values, following a comment Bill Bryson had made that day saying that Britain wasn’t as polite as it used to be.
On Tuesday I did a phone interview for BBC Berkshire, a station I hadn’t done before. It was for the Anne Diamond programme (she of TV-am fame), and was about exactly the same as the interview I had done on Monday evening. Anne wrote on her Twitter page (@theannediamond) after my interview: ‘Bright young man to watch: I reckon I have savvy for these things… And he’s a talent that will out. William Hanson. Great interviewee.’ I only saw this yesterday – I was very touched. It made my day.
On Wednesday afternoon I taught a 2 hour one-on-one seminar on business protocol at the Radisson Edwardian in Manchester. On walking to the hotel I passed Waterstone’s and saw that Bill Bryson had a new book out (obviously he had made the comments earlier in the week to publicise his new work). I went in and bought a copy of it, as it looks quite interesting – it’s called ‘At Home’ and is a history of each room in a typical house. I look forward to reading it.
I had to get up very early on Thursday (5am) as I had been booked to go and speak in Billericay, Essex to 110 women at the Stock Brook Ladies Probus group. Regular blog readers will recall I made my first trip to Essex three weeks ago. I was met at the station by the guest booker and was promptly taken to the venue. They were all very nice and I enjoyed speaking to them. I spoke for about 50 minutes on me and what I do and why I do it (that’s what I had been booked to speak about, before anyone makes any comments along the lines of ‘what an ego’). I then did 15 minutes of questions and answers before sitting down to a lovely two course lunch.
One woman, from memory she was called Jeanie, said that I looked like I belonged on a Roman coin: she said I had a very distinguished profile! Well, I was flattered. Another woman told me she wanted to adopt me. I think it’s safe to say that I made an impression on them!
I left Billericay (didn’t see any Burberry-clad taxi drivers this time) and headed to London where I had two meetings and then had dinner with my boss and colleague at The English Manner, Alexandra, at a wonderful restaurant in Chelsea, Tom’s Kitchen. Really lovely food – I had a burger, which was to die for – tender, succulent and the chips were wonderfully plump, too. If you are ever in the area… go!
Next week I am in Bristol to see family, although on Monday I am filming a piece for Australian TV. All my TV work this year seems to have come from the antipodean regions. Maybe this is Britain telling me to emigrate… ?
Tags: Anne Diamond, Australia, baking, bank holiday, BBC, BBC Berkshire, BBC Radio 5 Live, Bill Bryson, Billericay, Chelsea, chocolate brownies, cooking, diary, essex, etiquette, London, manchester, Probus, public speaking, social commentator, talk, william hanson