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Last Updated: Friday, 19 March, 2004, 10:19 GMT
Which Dimbleby?

The Magazine Notebook
By Adrian Chiles
Presenter, Working Lunch

There are many good things about having a talented wife. Mine is Jane Garvey, the small, angry woman who presents Drive on Radio Five Live.

Being on the radio keeps her busy, allows me to bathe in her reflected glory and, of course, brings home some bacon. Always useful.

But in keeping your private life private, there are difficulties. Ironically, she's always professed to me quite strong views about how we should never involve our children in anything we do. Or allow our privacy to be invaded (not that anyone's particularly interested).

West Bromwich v Wigan Athletic
Adrian's team in action
Imagine my surprise then when I was walking across the car park at West Brom on Tuesday evening, ahead of our vital fixture against Wigan, when a bloke shouted "I can't believe your wife; you'll never guess what she's just said."

I nodded, tutted and raised my eyes. Probably something disparaging about the Albion. Or, me. Or, most likely, both. But it was worse than that. "Someone just asked her if we're going to get promoted. And she said 'I flaming hope not. Last time West Brom got promoted I gave birth nine months later'."

Embarrassingly, this is entirely true. I'm not sure if anyone's done any research looking into whether promotion of your football team promotes fertility. But, if we go up this season, I'll be happy to help out.

'Over to you...'

Entirely by coincidence (that's not true, but anyway), I was in Birmingham to cover the Budget from a bar. During Tuesday's rehearsal I was chatting to David Dimbleby, who was in Westminster.

David Dimbleby
"Well, Jonathan..." "It's David"
I was telling him about that night's game, and he was telling me how he hoped his team, Tranmere, would beat Millwall in the quarter final of the FA Cup that night. It was one of those conversations that as a teenager I would have felt was about as likely to ever come to pass as a trip to the moon. Me? Talking to a Dimbleby? About football? Come off it.

The man is a pleasure to work with, although he did get in a muddle handing over to me. "It's over to, er, Andrew Chiles in Birmingham now..." I wasn't the least bit offended but I had a riposte ready: "Thank you Jonathan."

My past flashed before me. But he seemed fine about it. And I've been disgracefully happy to take praise for being so quick-witted. Although the truth is he did the same thing last year and I couldn't think of anything clever to respond with. So if taking a whole year to think something up counts as quick-witted, then I'm a clever guy.

Down the hatch

Hats off to the Scotch Whisky Association, it certainly knows how to lobby effectively. I'm in the middle of a series of So What Do You Do All Day, where I spend one day with a successful person finding out... well, I'm sure you can guess. I was in Cardiff this week finishing off two of the programmes.

A favoured tipple
One features the British ambassador in Romania. He too is a West Brom fan. We saw him following orders to lobby the Romanian finance minister over the discrepancy in duty between that paid on whisky and on bourbon, which is much lower.

The other was filmed in Delhi. Our subject, the boss of Cobra Beer, had a meeting with the British High Commissioner in India, Sir Michael Arthur. I asked Sir Michael to give us an example of how he helps British business there. His response? "We've been banging away for ages to get the tariffs on Scottish whisky coming into here down."

Music to the ears of the SWA, I'm sure, and fair play to them. But I wonder why this is such a priority for our diplomats. Nothing to do with the Chancellor's Scottish roots, I suppose.



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