Start at the bottom: Broken-hearted Neil Start considers life outside the goldfish bowl

Monday: Spend weekend contemplating resignation. Position untenable after ex-girlfriend Anka, Latvian receptionist at the Goldfish Action Group, announced she's having a baby with David, our chairman. Vorderman, my Neanderthal flatmate (and Countdown addict), says what I'm thinking: "That baby could easily be yours." He then sensitively switches on The Archers for the latest instalment in the Grundy boys' paternity suit saga.

Decide to stay but bury myself in work. Smile professionally at Anka as I walk in. Rise above her suggestion we have lunch. Too much to do. Goldfish need my help. Spend most of day in toilets weeping.

Tuesday : Trustees' annual Christmas party for staff. Try on my orange suit. Clashes with my grey face. Secretly pleased to see Anka looking drawn too - but perhaps it's morning sickness. David, aka child-snatcher, pleased as punch - although the party cocktail was three parts goldfish tank water to two organic cod liver oil. Plan to avoid colleagues' pity by meeting trustees, but for first hour none shows up. Finally, one old duffer in a bowler arrives. Hat useful when he spits cocktail into it.

Evidently senior civil servant and brother-in-law of David. Make my apologies.

Spot middle-aged man in handwoven jute suit talking to Clare, our head of policy. Trustee two: Mike, a distinguished environmentalist and academic.

Assumes I've read all his books and even offers to sign one for me, but when I steer conversation to GAG, he clams up. Irritation ebbs when complete stranger walks up and embraces me. "My dear chap. I've been following your case closely and want to assure you of my full support," he says.

For a minute I think he's telling me I'm the father of Anka's baby. But it's my recent arrest under anti-terrorist laws at a GAG protest rally that caught his beady eye. "Please take my card," he says. Then he leaves.

Card says Tory MP and, I assume, a trustee, but there is no one to check with because everyone is cosily chatting.

Friday: Struggling to write Q&A section in new edition of GAG newsletter, Pond Life. "Dear Finn (my pen name as agony aunt), my goldfish is very fond of watching the cricket on television. Could Lords be encouraged to provide facilities in the ground for goldfish spectators?" Am about to suggest goldfish as the bail when my phone rings. "Hi, Neil. It's Roger Fenton-Green here." Pause. "Call me Rog. We're all modernisers now." Guffaw.

Ah ... the Tory MP trustee. "There was something you said at the GAG party that stayed with me. Have you got time to meet?" Mind races. Is he making a pass? Or is he offering me a job and a way out of watching another man bag my girl and my child? Agree to call in at the Commons on Monday on way to work. This may be the last time I see GAG offices.

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