Start at the bottom: Neil Start uncovers the reason for his boss's fishy absence

Monday: Never been so happy to be back at work. Less joy at seeing in 2006 as assistant fundraiser at the Goldfish Action Group, more relief at escaping Christmas at home in Budleigh Salterton with parents. Something mind-bending about being 22, possible dad-to-be, but back in narrow adolescent single bed with Oasis posters still on wall.

Dad, the worse for wear on New Year's Eve at Barry and Sukie Braithwaite's during the dessert stage of a 'safari party' (different course, different bungalow), began to confide he'd sown wild oats before settling down at the bank. Briefly hoped paternal antennae had sensed my longing for Anka, pregnant with what might be my baby and unobtainable by phone in Riga despite trying every 15 minutes. But no such luck. Dad back on careers again. Promise "to give fish a rest" and "get a proper job" to shut him up.

Tuesday: Working my way through accumulated GAG postbag. Many requests for our Foster Fish scheme, for children who don't give a Castlemaine XXXX for the goldfish they've been landed with at Christmas but who prefer our aquatic orphanage to flushing them down the loo. Scheme sponsored by Thames Water, after the dead bodies kept causing blocked water mains.

Wednesday: Still no sign of David, love rival and GAG chairman. Jerome, now retired head of publications, is wearing a cardboard cut-out of MBE he got in New Year's Honours List -"just until I get the real thing from Brenda," he explains. He reveals David is taking short sabbatical and he is acting chairman. His first task to check quarterly itemised phone bill. Delegates to me.

Friday: On sheet 212 of phone bill. Lots of calls to Riga listed. Not number Anka gave me, but try to ring. All international calls blocked.

Wait until Jerome vacates David's office for mid-morning toasted teacake at Army and Navy. Dial Riga number. David answers. Hang up. Weep.

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