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Why you need to have a happy workforce

18th April 2023

Waterfly on King Charles, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hawking

The Waterfly sees the reflection in the water. It takes note as the water shifts. Here’s the latest gossip from the education and employability sectors.


Racking up the Royalties


As we move towards the coronation of a new King, Waterfly hears that Finito’s CEO Ronel Lehmann has had the opportunity to meet His Majesty on multiple occasions when the current King was the Prince of Wales. The first meeting was facilitated by Lady Nourse, who enjoyed her superior position perhaps a little too much. “The first time that I met HRH The Prince of Wales was thanks to Lady Nourse who was chairing a charity event at a West End theatre,” Lehmann recalls. “We all had to be seated half an hour before Charles arrived. Lady Nourse took great pleasure in marching into the Royal box and immediately chastising us for not standing up quickly,” he recalls. It’s not recorded how Charles reacted to this: at least it didn’t involve a rogue pen.


But the future King’s humour comes through in Lehmann’s recollections. After a lifetime of service, charity, and championing the environment, His Majesty took particular pride in another accomplishment of his when he and Camilla visited The Jewish Museum to mark its Camden Town expansion. Among the refreshments were Duchy Original Biscuits, which the then-Prince of Wales began production of in 1990. Now they are a Waitrose product, though to their credit the royalties still go to charity. At the museum’s grand opening, His Majesty was seen to relish picking up biscuits, placing them in his jacket pocket, and excitedly telling guests “these were mine!”


Lehmann also recalls a meeting at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which he attended through an invitation from Marianne Fredericks CC. Lehmann and the future King spoke of his own long-standing association with Sylvia Darley OBE, who founded The Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children. “I told His Royal Highness that I was trying to get the Royal Albert Hall to honour Sir Malcolm on one of their stars located under the canopy of the building. These are dedicated to key players in the building’s history, from its opening in 1871 to the present day,” Lehmann says. “Most young people have no idea of his impact on classical music or Sir Malcolm’s importance to the survival of The Royal Albert Hall. I felt that I was beating a Royal path for common sense to prevail!” We feel another black spider memo coming on.


Baised and Confused


Waterfly hears that the world of snooker is a place where journalists experience a variety of welcomes. According to Finito staff writer Patrick Crowder, Australian champion Neil Robertson exuded quiet confidence and kindness, asking nearly as many questions about Crowder’s life during the interview as Crowder was asking him. Eventually the expats connected over the question of homesickness – and even swapped mobiles.


But when Crowder approached Ronnie O’Sullivan after a match, the legend was initially closed off. O’Sullivan generally has little patience for the media, preferring to focus on his play. He asked which publication Crowder was writing for, and as he began to explain, O’Sullivan cut him off with, “I don’t give a f**k mate, how much time have we got?” But O’Sullivan warmed up when he picked up on Crowder’s Californian accent – an unusual nationality on the snooker circuit. Eventually the pair bonded over their shared love of scones and clotted cream from ‘Marksies’, which O’Sullivan was surprised Crowder had even heard of. From expletives to cream – the true trajectory of a Rocket.


Our Mole in TV


The author Tim Robinson recalls what it was like directing and producing Reading the Eighties for BBC2. He recalls: “Sue Townsend of Adrian Mole fame was perhaps the most amiable, although she couldn’t stand Beryl Reid who played Adrian’s grandmother in the TV adaptation. ‘She was a mad pain in the neck,’ said Sue, ‘who, unable to do a Sheffield accent, did an awful Brummie caricature and then tried to force the rest of the cast to imitate her.’ I confessed to her my terrible fear of aging and losing my looks, and she, who was close to death, replied, laughingly: ‘Because of my diabetes, I’m completely blind and can’t see you at all, but I’ll tell you how lovely you look if that helps.’


Hawking his book


Robinson, whose acclaimed new novel The Orphans of Hatham Hall is published by Northside Press, also had other fascinating encounters: “Stephen Hawking wasn’t noticeably more agile than Sue, but still manfully plugging A Brief History of Time which had sold in huge numbers – although, it has been scandalously suggested, a smaller percentage than usual ever reached the end. I was allowed only one unprepared question and as we were featuring ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, asked him about Douglas Adams. For twenty minutes the camera ran while he dutifully programmed his gizmo, and I crossed and uncrossed my legs. But it was well worth the wait as finally everybody’s favourite household dalek began speaking: ‘I once met Douglas Adams in Los Angeles for lunch where he told me about working on scripts for Doctor Who.’ The silence that followed told me the anecdote was complete, so I jumped up, shouting out: ‘Wonderful, that’s simply wonderful!’ Still, it made it to the final cut.


Lowering the Standard


The management team at Stansted Airport aren’t the only ones struggling to find solid ground. A source close to Waterfly tells us of trouble at the Evening Standard. After two years of anticipation and preparation, staff at the Standard were finally ready to move into their new offices, only to find that the WiFi didn’t work. Apparently, staff were told that there was “an 80% chance of WiFi” during their first week in the new digs. On top of that, the Standard faces an £11,847,000 operating loss, and net liabilities totalling £28,998,000, so if you’re on the market for some pre-owned printing presses keep an eye out on Gumtree.


Call a Doctor


Russell T Davies was heard to be quite rude about MP Nadine Dorries over her appearance on Radio 4. “The woman is an idiot – a big f**king idiot. She’s a plain, complete, clearly idiotic woman,” Davies tells Waterfly. Speaking of his return to writing for the nation’s favourite time-travelling doctor, the Welsh screenwriter expressed concern about going back to the BBC, which he believes is coming under fire. “I think it’s under attack all the time. Every single day,” he tells us. His proposal to save the historic broadcast service? “Vote the government out, it’s simple as that. But we won’t, it’s not going to happen, so when your children are sitting watching cartoons it’s your fault for not voting them out.” Call the Paw Patrol.



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