To Birmingham for a planning day for the wider team of which my team is a part. Due to what BA always call ‘operational reasons’ (in other words, none of your business) I arrived late, but in time to cut down a proposed ‘vision statement’ from 23 to five words. Had I arrived on time I would have had the chance to contest the value of having such a statement, and the meeting would have been running very late already. As it was my intervention was seen as abrupt and surprising, but accepted as the right thing to do. The rest of the meeting dragged on, fairly industriously, till 5. During the dinner afterwards, the subject came up of a fairly raucous party at this Management Centre one Christmas. Unwisely I described the very undignified state of one manager, but without mentioning their name. This prompted a ten-person inquisition, to which I refused to respond. To my surprise the subject kept being revived during the evening with all sorts of speculation, almost reverting to ‘twenty questions’. Having felt guilty about just such a casual indiscretion last year, I recognised that I still hadn’t learned my lesson and wished I hadn’t allowed myself to be drawn into the conversation. Having got there, I can at least respect myself that I didn’t allow them to prise the name out. In general I don’t believe gossip is harmless, even when it appears to be fun, but the desire to be sociable, to please and be accepted is insidious and that’s what landed me in it. Maybe I’ve learned the lesson now.