My week was fun. So I thought I’d give you the blow-by-blow, day-by-day!
At the Tate Britain with friends, learning about the artist Frank Auerbach. He has lived in Camden all his life and paints with (literally) heaps of oil. Why are we alone in the gallery? For a special reason. My friend Tim (second left in our rather over-posed pic) is a trustee and it gives him the ability to take friends round after hours. My pal Katie Derham is on the right, by the way. We discovered Auerbach together.
A first trip down to Haslemere, Sussex, to see my sister Sonya and her young family in their new home – and our walk after lunch takes me here. In my childhood, the Devil’s Punch Bowl was associated with death. My grandmother, who lived in Guildford, would horrify me with stories of fatal crashes on the narrowest part of the A3 above the plunging valley. But now they’ve built the 1.8-mile Hindhead Tunnel, the old A3 is gradually being reclaimed by nature. For a sense of scale, I’ve ringed the family walking on the old road on the right of the photo.
Don’t worry. The patient is a dummy and the nurses just practising. I’ve been invited down to open the Elena Power Simulation Centre, because they thought they’d ask someone who was born here at Epsom Hospital! The doctors, especially Jenny Blair, were hugely welcoming. And this facility looks good – the hi-tech mannequins can respond physically to their treatment in all kinds of ways, which gives the medics a chance to make mistakes without a real patient even being close.
Hosting a debate on Brexit, I meet the Chief Barker (yup, that really is the title) of Variety, Pamela Sinclair. And it’s a highlight of the night – we had the politicians like John Redwood doing the ideological heavy lifting, but Pamela’s devotion to this charity for disabled and disadvantaged children is part of what keeps Variety special. Those Sunshine coaches!
In Trafalgar Square I stop my Boris Bike next to a guy dressed like a soldier. The gent on the left is actually a bit of a legend on London’s roads – among his many cameras is one mounted on a 3ft fishing rod that sticks out of the front of his bike, and that’s how he took this photo. Unfortunately, when he put it on Twitter a number of people attacked me for not wearing a helmet (Boris Bikes don’t supply them) and the Mail ran with the story. So my Wednesday was busy trying to tell lovely, concerned people on Twitter about something called the Bath Study which suggests cyclists may actually be safer without a helmet.
Can I call this a celeb moment? Emma Bunton (yay!) and Aled Jones (yo) are about to interview me on the new BBC2 show “Too Much TV.” I am trying to remember the hardest ever Eggheads question…
…but this team had it cracked! They won £29,000 and are in the papers today after they took on, and beat, the famously gritty Eggs last night. It’s a show I present and I’m incredibly proud of the way Eggheads combines seriousness and fun; money, jokes and little-known facts. But even happier when the quizmasters end up losing to such a deserving team. The challengers in this photo were representing Alopecia UK, which concentrates on the illness that causes a person’s hair to fall out. They sent me a beautiful picture afterwards from the pub where they were watching; thank-you!