THE power of observation is a vital tool for any journalist. That's why my flabber was completely gasted by a story that came out of Friday night's "quiet drink after work" involving two of our key reporters. Step forward Wathanovski and Withers.
Having departed the scene early feeling rather ropey after my first experience of Sushi the previous night, I did not join my colleagues as they moved on to join a stag night organised by a Real Radio journo. I understand the night went rather swimmingly, however.
In fact, it wasn't until 1.30 that Wathanovski, the new boy facing up to only his second busy Saturday since joining this esteemed organisation, teetered back to his home on the outskirts of Newport. On entering through the door he was greeted by his girlfriend, teacher Jen, who inquired: "Whose jacket have you got on?"
The rather tired and emotional soccer writer was perplexed by the question. So teacher Jen explained how she had arrived at her Sherlock Holmes-style piece of deduction.
"For a start that's navy blue and your jacket is black, it also contains a mobile phone and pen which don't belong to you and if that isn't enough it is so small the sleeves finish just below your elbows."
At that moment it occured to Wathanovski that he might, indeed, have walked off with the wrong jacket, meaning that his own garment was missing.
Next day he brought the jacket to work, keeping his fingers crossed that he would be able to do a swap with the person who had obtained his during the previous night of alcohol-fueled skullduggery.
Eventually it was the Wonderful Withers who responded to the typically Welsh question: "Whose coat is this jacket?"
"Mine!" he declared, giving it a hug as it is passed across to him.
"Can I have mine back now?" inquired Wathanovski, quite reasonably.
But the Wonderful One could not oblige. "When I left I forgot I even had a jacket so walked all the way home without one," he pointed out.
Fortunately one of the many hostelries Wathanovski had visited on Friday night was able to furnish him with the missing garment some time later.
Bozos both, I reckon.
I'm getting pretty fed up with Withers these days. Not only does he continually do impressions of Zippy (ie me) from the far end of the newsroom, but he also makes spurious comments about my love life at every opportunity.
The problem is jealousy, I gather, because he continues to insist: "With this face I will never EVER get a girlfriend again."
Anyway, he went too far in The Yard on Boozeday Tuesday. In fact, my normal laid-back demeanor finally snapped and I ended up hurling a small white vase in his direction and covering him in water. "Bloody hell, Rippers, what did you do that for? I will reap a terrible vengeance on you for this."
I'm not worried, though, for two reasons. One, Withers is a 22-carat wimp who runs a hundred yards at the mere sniff of confrontation and, two, he still relies on me to furnish him with roll-ups when he runs out of fags.
Withers is quite delighted that the number of "party-lovers" on Wales on Sunday is back on the increase. As well as Wathanovski, we have just recruited Smashy to the Sports team ranks, and he is quite partial to the odd beer. Danny Boy, too, is proving a mainstay of the Boozeday Tuesday crowd and an able apprentice to the Prince of Darkness. I assure you it's pure coincidence that I was part of the interview process in all three appointments.
Anyway, when I crept home after a particularly stiff boozing session on Tuesday, Danny Boy and the wonderful one were still going at it hammer and tongs.
I hear that they finished in the City Arms at gone 11pm and Danny Boy, then rather the worse for wear, was unable to track down his keys.
His solution was to beg to stay on Withers' sofa for the night, not braving the inevitable confrontation with the angry Missus, who just so happens to be a solicitor to boot. Creeping home after 7am this morning he thought he was on safe territory, knowing his better half would be on the way to work. Wrong.
Danny Boy breezed into the house only to be stopped in his tracks by the angered party sitting on the sofa and directing him with an icy glare. There followed a familiar courtroom drama:
"Where were you on the night of Tuesday, July 17, between the hours of 11.15 and 12.30?" she demanded in typical Old Bailey prosecutor fashion. Danny Boy could only hang his head in shame, admit his guilt and utter apologies.
As she stormed for the door she let out a final sigh, looked at the pitiful sight standing in front of her; then muttered between gritted teeth: "I hate your new work mates!"
Does she mean us?
He has a lot of making up to do.