"I saw your grandmother at the weekend. She sends her regards," Chancellor Ken Clarke told BBC reporter Jonathan Charles yesterday. Mr Clarke was in Brussels to discuss that evergreen subject, monetary union, with other EU finance ministers, but he had no intention of sharing his opinions with the surprised BBC man. It is not clear whether 83-year-old Nancy Lewis of Nottingham is a Tory supporter, or a single currency supporter, or has any thoughts on a referendum. But Mr Clarke was determined not to let anything slip about EMU which might be seized on by Tory Eurosceptics, currently baying for blood, or which might indicate a difference of emphasis from John Major.
To the plush Marriott Hotel off London's glitzy Grosvenor Square on Sunday for an evening of unrestrained luvviedom at the Lloyds Private Banking Playwright of the Year Award. The Black Horse bank coughed up a cool pounds 25,000 for the winner, playwright Sebastian Barry, after his play The Steward of Christendom got the thumbs up from the judges. Dame Diana Rigg presented the prize, Melvyn Bragg chaired the panel of judges and Ned Sherrin provided a suitably witty record of the past year in theatreland. There was a charming musical entertainment honouring Noel Coward provided by Peter Greenwell and Patricia Hodge, with the master's own godson, Sheridan Morley, narrating.
Tales of the City. Last Friday afternoon, as Wall Street fell out of bed and dealing screens turned red etc, a large group of stockbrokers whose employer shall remain anonymous were ensconced in their favourite City hostelry enjoying a well-earned end of week beer-up. These occasions are usually perfectly safe from an employment point of view, since establishments like this routinely have a Ceefax screen above the bar which would alert the drinkers to any serious business. Sadly the screen was switched off, so when people came into the bar and said "Wall Street's off a hundred points" the brokers replied "Pull the other one." As a result yesterday morning the skivers were tied to their desks for the day. Journalists don't get up to that kind of thing, of course.
Prithee, sirrah, no sooner is the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on London's South Bank nearing completion than the developers are seeking to erect a series of corporate hospitality suites on the site. Not actually inside the reconstructed playhouse, due to open in August, but in an adjacent half-timbered "olde" style building yet to be built. They could liven up proceedings by requiring corporate delegates to wear doublet and hose and so on. And all the Shakespearian tales of back-stabbing and betrayal should go down well. Hey nonny.