Monday, 2 April 2007

Parallel existences

Shall I share the message from the charming, helpful but clearly affected by strain, civil servant sorting out the farm's environmental stewardship grant, or would you prefer to hear about the part of my life that recognises (even Devon gets - non-digital - TV) a household name comedian at the next table at the restaurant in Islington? Perhaps we can find a way to segueway from one to t'other. And perhaps we can't.

Word for word, verbatim and exactly as given (can't have you thinking I made this up), I emailed one of the growing number of friendly civil servants that I have begun to know quite well since dealing with the plethora of TLA organisations that are simultaneously the bane and helpmeet of the farmer. "You said get in touch", I said, "if the payment wasn't here by Friday, and it's not". At an hour that you expect only the freelance and homeworker to be at their computer, I received the following: "I am in the process of chasing anyone that phone me at the moment I am servely disappointed with the state of play and apologise."

This poor geezer has to deal with the horrendous fallout at the Rural Payments Agency presided over by the now promoted Margaret Beckett and is, quite possibly, going mad under the strain. I'm tempted to call his boss and suggest they send the chap to the seaside for a few days for a break, but if I do it might be taken the wrong way and selfishly, there will be no-one to fight my corner. Perhaps he could go to a swank eatery instead and eavesdrop on folks apparently more in control of their own destiny, discussing their latest project or planning their outfit for the weekend. He could take a very pretty girl and gaze into her eyes; a true distraction from the horrors of his daily grind. I hope he has an interest that lights his lamp and oils his wheels. I hope he has a talent for something he finds rewarding, from which he can earn a living in future days. But I hope he doesn't resign and leave me in the lurch quite yet.

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