Sir Humphrey was invited into the Cabinet Office at 11 P.M without any clear explanations why. He was hoping he could reconcile his differences with Sir Arnold. Relations with Sir Arnold had not been particularly great recently. But apparently it was far from being a tete-a-tete, the place was packed, and why he was invited was a pure calculation at its finest.
Sir Arnold was meeting the fresh new Prime Minister who would form a new government. He wanted to visit at a short notice and would come with a bunch of his political broilers. Surely these were empty heads but giving away the edge coming from the headcount just like that seemed rather silly. So Sir Arnold had decided to put together another delegation to honour them. There were Sir Geoffrey and Security Chiefs of No 10 and Cabinet Office and of course the biggest rogues among Permanent Secretaries (for the first and probably the last time he felt sad that Sir George had retired). The new Prime Minister took the gesture in good humour and it looked like their future cooperation does not have to be a complete disaster.
Mrs. Harrisson returned from maternity leave and suddenly prospects looked bright. She was put in charge of those bitches who had previously treated her like shit and made her life miserable. She would also get a bonus at year-end if she could acheive the impossible and make this wild pack of pecking hens work efficiently. Actually she would also get a bonus if she manages to nail good reasons to fire any of them.
She rejected presentational materials that one of the nastiest girls had compiled and cracked down on her if this was the best she was capable of. Reluctantly the hen pretended to work on it for the rest of the day and changed two sentences. She came back to Mrs. Harrisson right before the close. The latter was not impressed – who on Earth had told her to change the contents?!?!?!? What was she thinking of herself? She should revert back to original immediately.
Mrs. Harrisson really had forgotten to mention earlier that the reason why these presentational materials had been rejected initially was not the content? Noone cared that much about the content. It was just that Sir Humphrey did not like the coulours. Probably did not match his tie.
Life was painful with a nearly deaf Minister and getting out of DAA for a change looked splendid. Sir Humphrey was a keynote speaker at real estate develepers conference. He got an impression the audience of business people were neither listening nor did these slobs properly understand what he said. After the presentation was over they could ask questions but they did not. He was a bit offended. What he had been telling was about concession contracts on urban renewal plans. These prospects were actually worth hundreds of millions.
Then he went to Sotheby’s with Sir Desmond. These were still working hours. Knowing when and how to slack was a crucial survival skill for a top civil servant, he had realized a while ago. It was The Cabinet Secretary who always determined the times when they would go on vacations. Getting any other time off from Sir Arnold required weeks of begging and he would still call 24/7, so it was not worth the trouble. His assistant was instructed to tell his associates, he was still at the conference. He and Sir Desmond were bidding up prices on pretty much anything worthwhile. It was the money of Bartlett’s Bank anyway. Sir Humphrey had one fascinating project in his mind but it just could not be done in DAA without causing people to stuff their ugly noses into his business, which in his book was totally unacceptable. Then through an extraordinary stroke of luck he ran into his old buddy Sir Desmond Glazebrook, whom he had not seen for a few months and persuaded him into participating in this project: amassing an art collection for Bartlett’s Bank and organizing an exhibition. Sir Desmond just loved the idea and jumped on it. No tedious questions, ever and he would certainly not bitch about him behind his back. He was such an adorable friend to have. After the auction they ran into some fabulously wealthy Arab clients of Sir Desmond and ended up at a party on a yacht.