I had an anticlimactic ‘talk’ at the annual lunch of a branch of Yorkshire Cancer Research yesterday. We were just sitting down to lunch when all the lights went out. A builder working down the road had put the bucket of his JCB through the mains cable. The rubber tyres protected him from electrocution but, once the fireworks subsided, it was obvious that he was definitely going to need a new bucket on his JCB! One of the organisers tentatively suggested that I might like to do my speech before, rather than after the lunch, in the hope that the power might have been restored by the time I finished, but I had to point out that the PA system was powered by electricity and therefore also not working, and shouting at a large room containing 120 ladies, several of whom were of a certain age and accordingly hard of hearing, was not likely to be a roaring success. The caterers then announced that the chicken dish for the main course was only partly cooked when the power went off and the wise decision was then made to cancel the lunch. So I trousered my fee and didn’t even have to make the speech, though I’ll be back to fulfil the booking – this time for free – when they they rearrange it. The good news was that the raffle did go ahead – I was recruited to shout out the winning numbers! – and raised over £450 for Yorkshire Cancer Research.