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Today was the RSA civic day and fifty or so staff members trooped off to Hackney to paint over graffiti, pick up litter and drag stuff out of the canal.

I was on grappling duty and it was so much fun. I pulled out of the canal a wheelbarrow, a carpet and something that looked like a pigs' trough. In fact, I became obsessed and the organisers had almost to pull me away as I shouted 'wait wait I'm sure I've got something big I just can't quite snag it' (story of my life, to be honest). Partly, this was envy as our chief operating officer Steve King had found a moped and another team (of women!) got a bicycle.    

The day was made more memorable by the news of Hazel Blears' departure and a series of rumours - all begun by Nina our head of external affairs - that other people ranging from Alistair Darling to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Alex Ferguson had also resigned in sympathy.

It was also fun to be able to deal with the predictable media calls: 'would, you like to come on and pronounce Gordon 'dead man walking' ?', answer, 'er, no'). But not with usual excuse that RSA Fellows expect us to rise above politics but because I was currently using all my energy to pull a corrugated tin roof out of the canal. 

A great day was had by all. We are all deeply grateful to Louisa who organised it for us. And we will certainly do it again. Maybe next year we'll get some Fellows along too.

And being an eternally optimistic person I will ignore the nagging thought that when we've gone the nice men from Tower Hamlets chuck all the big exciting stuff back in so the next lot of do-gooding office workers  have something to boast about.


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