Friday, 16 July 2010

The Pros and Cons of Alcohol, and the Need for Self-Help.

God, this is getting so embarrassing. Joan comes in from the Party offices this morning to check something about The Boss' GC* Report. He refuses to even look at her, let alone acknowledge her "Morning, Andrew!" Then he gives me a bollocking after she's gone, for being "too friendly" towards her.

Later, when he's gone out somewhere, she comes back to formally complain about his treatment of her. As she's the person largely responsible for drafting in all the activists to help out in his campaigns; not to mention putting his monthly "newsletters" together, printing them and organising their distribution, this just can't go on. But how the hell am I supposed to calm the situation down, when The Boss is still insisting that everyone in the Party is out to get him? Cannot bear it. What I wouldn't give for a break right about now - but lunches are a thing of the past on Fridays, ever since Andrew declared that "lunch is for wimps." I think he sees himself as Michael Bloody Douglas. I have got to put my foot down about this before Recess starts, or we'll never get a break.

Andrew's edict doesn't seem to apply to liquid lunches, though - and it's obvious he's indulged in one when he gets back, just in time for surgery. For Godsake, has he learned nothing from the Mark Reckless incident? I am almost paralysed with nerves before we start, but actually it passes off okay - until the last appointment. Mr and Mrs Stafford have come in to complain about the inadequacies of the care home in which Mr Stafford's father now lives. The Boss keeps it together, and politely explains that we will take up their concerns with Social Services, and with the management of the home.

So far, so good, and I am just pushing my chair back with a sigh of relief, and intending to show Mr & Mrs Stafford out - but they aren't having any of it. They're not finished. Mr Stafford launches into a diatribe about how outrageous it is that his father's house may have to be sold to cover the costs of his place in the care home.

The Boss leans forward and says, horribly slowly and with great emphasis,

"Ah, so now we get to what you really care about. Your inheritance."

I can't believe it. It's one thing to think it, but quite another to say so. There's nothing for it, but to phone Andrew's mobile from mine, under cover of the table. As soon as it starts ringing, I say,

"That's that very urgent call you need to take, Andrew. You'd better go and answer it."

He goes off very obediently, while I am left to apologise on his behalf; to say that I'm sure that that isn't what he meant, and that he does sometimes have a "wacky" sense of humour. The Staffords look pretty unconvinced, but it was the best I could do at short notice. When I finally return to my desk, after a sneaky cigarette outside, The Boss yells at me that there was nobody on the line, that the number was mine, and what the hell did I think I was playing at?

"Saving your bacon, as per bloody usual," I say. Talk about ingratitude. Sometimes my working life seems utterly, utterly pointless.

Just as I am leaving work, I get an email from Johnny. He's "missing me," he says, and asks again when he's going to get to do "wonderful things" to me. He proceeds to describe these things which, I have to admit, do sound pretty damn good. I am most impressed that he has set his imaginary scenario in my office, rather than his, which seems to suggest that he - unlike most bloody constituents - thinks that I am rather more than just a secretary-cum-plaything. Unless he thinks I am a dominatrix? Oh God, I could not handle leading him around on a leash - I have to do more than enough of that with The Boss. Metaphorically-speaking, of course.

Mid-evening, Max arrives home and is very affectionate. I am much more thrown by this, than if he'd been frosty. Just cannot decide if the Germany trip debacle was a genuine error, or if he's just furiously over-compensating to throw me off the scent. Mind you, he complains that the group were only given one bottle of red and one of white, at each meal - between ten of them. Maybe this enforced sobriety accounts for him having apparently been far better behaved this time?

He says he has photos, too - and uploads them without my having to nag him. They are almost all of the single bed in his hotel room, except for a few items of furniture in a showroom. God, I'm confused. I'm almost tempted to go and buy one of those damned self-help books myself. What was that thing about men being from Mars?

*GC - General Committee, as before

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