My Week: Stanley Johnson

Ahead of the publication of his memoirs, the author and environmental campaigner discovers the joys of the BlackBerry
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Today is the launch of the Policy Exchange report on the growing problem of litter. I go along even though I'm a bit tired. Bill Bryson kicked off and he was very good indeed. I asked why a chewing gum could not be made that did not stick to the pavement. It's such a huge problem in this country. My wife Jenny is on the development committee of the National Portrait Gallery, so in the afternoon we go and see a private view of Constable's portraits. I wouldn't say that portraiture is Constable's strongest suit, but then, I'm no expert.


I have a meeting of the trustees of the Jane Goodall Institute. This supports her work around the world and the main thing we're working towards this year is the 50th anniversary of Jane Goodall's first visit to Gombe in Tanzania, where she first worked with chimpanzees. She's coming here soon and I'm so looking forward to it. I think she's superb.


I go on the Richard and Judy show today to promote my book. It's good fun – you get to meet some very nice people. There was a lovely chap called Tom Hardy, who was just in the movie Bronson, and Kimberley Nixon from Cranford. When they introduce me they show me on Have I Got News for You with William Hague, who was chairing, saying, "Stanley, you are brilliant." It occurs to me I should have used that quote on the back of my book.


Sir William McAlpine kindly asked me to speak at a private lunch at the Caledonian Club; it could not have been more genial. I decided to tell the party why my book is called Stanley I Presume. When I was head of the anti-pollution department of the EU, I was sent to Nairobi and took three of my children with me. We were driving in a Land Rover when I discovered that my briefcase with all my family's documents, money and passports had fallen out. I drove back and after about two hours came across a sign saying "Olduvai Gorge 18km"; under the sign a notice had been pinned saying "Found: One Briefcase. Apply Mrs Mary Leakey", who was, of course, the archaeologist and wife of Louis Leakey. I drove down to the gorge, where she must have seen me coming, and as she came out of her house with my briefcase she said to me, "Stanley I presume."


I do the long drive to my farm in Exmoor, although the time spent travelling is no longer a total write-off – I've recently acquired a BlackBerry, so when I'm not driving I can keep up with work. When I get to the farm I relax in the room I've sat in for the past 58 years. It hasn't changed in all that time – my prep school tuck box is still around. I find it the most comforting place to spend my weekend.

Stanley Johnson's memoir Stanley I Presume will be published by Fourth Estate on Thursday