Little at Large: Returning as a fat goldfish - and you don't have to pack

Britain's Most Admired Charities was, of course, a joyous occasion, but two of its winners struck a gloomy note.

Camila Batmanghelidjh, chief executive of Kids Company, observed that people normally get recognition only at their funerals: "So it's great to be acknowledged before I get reincarnated as a fat goldfish."

This set Joanna Lumley off about her early life as a "forces brat", when her granny re-assured her about death by saying: "Darling, at least you don't have to pack." She surveyed the motley third sector gathering and declared: "It's like some Masonic sect - I always knew people like you existed, but I've never seen you before."

- The following day saw knife-juggling third sector minister Phil Hope at the launch of v's ambassadors scheme, having a brave stab at emulating the rhyming speech of his teenage hosts. Guffaws made it hard to hear the full text, but the words "grand", "land" and "Miliband" were certainly used. Cabinet minister Ed declined to follow suit on the grounds that he - not yet 40 - was a "fuddy-duddy". Think of the rhymes for Hope, though, and you have another example of Beaker's unerring political judgment.

- Even the electrics go wrong in government these days. The morning after HMRC's lost disks, Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was addressing the NCVO political conference in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform - as we now must call it - when a voice on a loop began droning: "Attention: we are investigating an incident. It may be necessary to evacuate the building." A few looked up hopefully - was it an opportunity for an early escape? But no - someone put their head round the door and said it was a false alarm, so everyone subsided again.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer

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