City Diary: Pleasant spots to have your credit card swiped

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The Independent Online
The most likely victim of plastic card theft will be a female motorist visiting Bournemouth.

Let me explain. Insurance companies routinely produce league tables to show which foreign countries are the worst for holiday credit card thefts, in an effort to frighten people into insuring against losses. This time CPP Card Protection Plan has turned the spotlight on Britain.

The company analysed the 100,000 cards reported missing by its policy holders from June to September last year in Britain's holiday centres. Looking at the percentage of cards stolen as opposed to lost, sleepy old Bournemouth came top with 75 per cent.

Blackpool came next, followed understandably enough by London with 68 per cent. Brighton was fourth with 65 per cent and Bath fifth with 60 per cent.

Speaking as a native of Bath, I take this as a gross slur on a great city. CPP should go back to being rude about overseas places immediately. Now where's my Access card, it was here somewhere...

The Bank of England "romped to a swashbuckling victory" over a Fleet Street XI on Monday evening, proving that the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street could show the England cricket team a thing or two about winning.

The icing on the cake was that Howard Davies, deputy governor, hit the winning runs at the Bank's sports ground in Roehampton with a sweetly struck boundary.

The journalists, captained by Mihir Bose of the Daily Telegraph, scored 172 for nine in 35 overs. The Bank XI, which included director Ian Plenderleith and Barry Hoffmann, former secretary to the Bank, replied with a scorching 173 for 5 - with Mr Davies's winning hit coming in the last over.

"The game went right to the wire. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife," raved one Bank spokesman. The victory included a sparkling half century from Donald Thomson, the Governor's assistant private secretary.

The annual journalists versus Bank match fell into abeyance a few years ago, and was revived this time by Garth Hewitt, who runs the Bank's own in-house quarterly, The Old Lady.

The Governor, Eddie George, should play in future matches. He smokes heavily and could do with a bit of fresh air and exercise. His monthly meetings with Chancellor Ken Clarke are swathed in smoke, Ken being a keen panatella man himself.

Apparently Ken and Eddie don't just squabble about interest rates. They take turns in dragging the table-high ashtray between them, in a monetarist tug o'war.

No doubt the person closest to the ashtray at the end of the discussion gets his way on rates. Perhaps this executive decision-making tool could be marketed. Suggestions for a name for the game on a postcard please.

Sir Richard Greenbury, chairman of Marks & Spencer, is another top bod who deigns to play sport with his underlings, in this case football. Recently a number of quaking M&S executives were asking how they should address the Great Man when in the thick of the game.

"My name is Sir Richard," the chairman blithely replied.

So now you know. "On me 'ead, Sir Richard."

Sir David Simon, chairman of BP, launched into a series of sporting analogies when he announced the half-yearly figures. Introducing John Buchanan, a New Zealander and the latest recruit to BP's board, Sir David said that at the end of the Atlanta Games New Zealand "had the best medal ratio per head of population, in athletics, of any country in the Olympics". He then declared: "We're going for the marathon. This quarter represents just the first hundred metres." John Browne, chief executive, chipped in: "By the time I complete the marathon, on that arithmetic I'll be 147."

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