A miracle child!

And, lo, it came to pass that a child was born in lowly Paddington, to humble parents. And all of heaven did rejoice, and all the people in all the lands of the Earth did raise up their voices and sing, for it was a miracle child. For, in all the history of mankind, no woman did ever bear child before.

And the Earth did shake. And men did converse with wolves. And the great enemy of the south was thwarted. And Vanessa Hudgens did share bikini holiday snaps with her blonde pal. And horses did enter burger restaurants. And Big Pharma did mobilise patients in battle over drugs trials data.

And there was an end to war and pestilence. And peace fell across all the lands. And God saw, and said it was good.

Amen.

Code-10 abort

I answered the phone within two rings, but there was silence at the other end. Three seconds later, there was a click, and a woman with an Asian accent introduced herself as Rachel. She began to ask me about pension plans. From the slight time delays, I guessed the call was being bounced off a bird above Karachi.

I explained to Rachel that, yes, I was indeed already receiving a pension. She asked me who I was receiving my pension from. I explained that I was receiving a pension from the Queen. This seemed to confuse Rachel. She asked me which pension company I was received my pension from. I explained that it didn't work that way, and that I received a cheque through the post each month signed by the Queen.

Rachel put me on to her supervisor. I didn't catch his name. He also had an Asian accent. I then had to re-explain my pension arrangements to him. He sounded confused as well. He explained that their database showed that I might not be receiving as good a pension as I could be. This set alarm bells ringing. I demanded to know which database he was accessing, as my personal details were supposed to be secret. He sounded even more confused. I asked him where he had got my phone number. He explained that his company had bought my details off a data provider, and asked me if my concerns had anything to do with the telephone preference service.

I explained to the man that I am indeed registered with the telephone preference service, and that, in calling my private number, he had blown the cover of my MI6 safe-house. The man tried to reassure me that there was nothing to worry about, but he was far from convincing and sounded pretty worried himself. I told him he didn't know what he was talking about, and demanded to know whether our conversation was being recorded. He said that it was. So I blurted out something about having to establish a new safe-house and hung up.

I'm going deeply covert: Coventry Protocol. The code-phrase is BLACK APRICOT.