WE had to send out a search party today. Fears were that Danny Boy (the poipes, the poipes) had fallen into the rising Taff and been swept away. Either that or he had just drowned in the liquid he had managed to imbibe on a particularly strenuous mission last night. Rumour had it the wife was away for a few days.
The Prince of Darkness was first to notice that his prodigy was missing. He called every number he had available, but just got a ring tone and then an answer phone message. The rest of us looked at each other, knowing full well that when we last saw Danny Boy (the poipes, the poipes) he was moving swiftly from The Yard to the City Arms in search of more partying and was showing no sign of flagging.
His plight made me so glad that I decided, despite the little devil whispering in my ear, that it might be an idea to call it a day around 10pm on the basis I had a 16-hour Saturday ahead. Oh yes, and with the pace of the rounds, I don't think I could physically drink any more.
You see, Kempy left yesterday on maternity leave and though she didn't take up the chance of a leaving do (not much fun watching your colleagues get mashed while you have to stay Teetotal, I guess) the rest of us decided to give her a good send off anyway.
The Fab BB, Roberts, the wonderful Withers, Catherine Mary, the Voice of God, Smashy... you name them, they were there. And there was also an Echo birthday do going on. As soon as the first person in the round finished a drink, they demanded a new one, so the pace setting was really something to behold.
Danny Boy was sailing through it, but I did detect a sparkle in his eye not noticeable at times when alcohol isn't around.
Anyway, on to the following day. It's now 10.50 and the worries are growing. The Prince is really quite concerned. He speaks to Liz the photographer and asks her whether she could pop over the River to the missing person's house and knock on the door and generally make discreet inquiries. He is, after all, 50 minutes late and the fear is something has gone drastically wrong.
At that moment I decided to have a cigarette break and headed for the side lodge. As I turned the corner, however, I bumped into a running Danny Boy, who looked particularly drawn with a midnight shadow of stubble around his chin.
"Oh, my God, I got in and forgot to set the alarm. The Mrs is away. I would definitely have been up if she had been in."
Mystery solved then. Noticeable, though, that Danny Boy has been particularly sheepish all day.
The wonderful Withers had an interesting encounter with an open window this week. From the other side of the office comes all manner of banging and crashing, followed by heavy muttering under his breath. Finally, after wacking the window twice more and failing to get it to close, he gives up. "That window will never close again and I shall freeze to death," he announces.
Just then Kempy offers a hand. "Why don't you lift the handle a bit, then push," she says. He tries. Problem solved. Cue unbridled laughter from the watching gallery.
Rumour has it the wonderful one, who only recently declared "I'll never sleep with a woman again" - managed to cop on last week.
For some reason that is not completely clear he was in a gay club.
And hooked up with a heterosexual woman.
So he claims.
Sadly, though, the liaison is unlikely to continue.