…Clara says I have to apologize.
She's wrong. Even if she was right, Clara isn't somebody who gets to tell me to apologize. Not very many people get to tell me to apologize for anything and Clara is not one of them.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, would you believe, she's telling me to get on with it! As though she had that right too!
Get on with it, she's saying, and apologize!
Apologize for what, I ask you!? Apologize for rousing the slumbering masses out of their contented apathy? Apologize for railing against the chewing-gum-spitters of contemporary Britain? Apologize for doing something, where so many others might have sat around and sighed about how awful it was and not actually gotten naff all done? Apologize for that, Miss Oswald?
Oh. No. She says she means for me to apologize for:
- Turning out most of the lights in London for more than two days
- Talking over every tannoy in said-city for said-length of time
- Being, and I quote, 'a major annoyance and earache' for aforementioned length of time at aforementioned location.
Which would make a lot of sense. Those are all things I would want very much and very deeply to apologize for. Those are awful things to have done!
Trouble is, Clara, I didn't do any of those things.
For starters, I turned out less than one percent of the lights in London. This is not a majority. This is barely even a minority. This doesn't even feature. One percent. It is, quite literally, next to nothing. And even if it had been 'most of the lights', it was for a good cause! We needed a spotlight. And as those tannoys, well, people needed to hear me. There's only so loud one can shout. And it's very loud, but it didn't carry that far down off the Fourth Plinth!
If there's one apology I should make, it's to whoever created the large art installation that I landed the Tardis on. Sorry. Didn't know until we took off again and all the bits started falling off the bottom. Sorry for that. Don't mind apologizing for that.
What was I talking about?
Oh, yes! Tannoys! Public announcement systems! Well, Clara, I'm afraid I must correct you again. It was not every tannoy in said-city.
I left the hospitals, police stations and fire stations. I'm not a complete monster. I did, however, tune the radios at all those professional places to what I was saying so they wouldn't miss it if there was nothing going on.
And as to being a major annoyance… Well, frankly, Miss Oswald, I am offended. And very disappointed in you. How could you be annoyed by the soaring rhetoric of an outraged soul?! Why, you yourself were outraged when I found you, bellowing like a bull outside that school gate!
For the benefit of our younger and more sensitive readers, I shall remove some of the more choice and colourful language from my repetitions, but I believe it went something like this –
"You terrible, narrow-minded person, you!" You understand, Miss Oswald here was addressing our gum-smacking friend. "You ought to be sent to a horrid place run by unsavoury sorts who would…" How to rephrase this… Hm…
'Tickle you senseless with feather dusters'? 'Feed you molten cream jelly through second-hand nasal straws'? 'Make you eat baked beans with slices of pear three times a day for a year'?
Certainly I can't tell you what she actually suggested be inserted into where…
Anyway, you get the picture. And Clara has the nerve to say that I was an annoyance. I had an effect. In fact, due to my annual charity appeal via this website, I was able to raise the grand sum of twenty-four whole pounds.
…That doesn't sound like much, does it?
But when you think about it, that's the electricity for eight sensory sessions to benefit an autistic child. It's three whole classes of literacy improvement games. Two punch bags at a boxing club in an inner city. Ten or twelve meals at a shelter for homeless teens. That's the subsidy for some academic casualty to attend a confidence-building event and have major fun for a weekend. That pays the counsellor who can help bereaved children for a few hours.
Twenty-four pounds isn't a lot, but it can do untold things. And that big yellow bear that my wife loved so dearly, he knows exactly where that money is needed.
Speaking of the old ball-and-chain, bless her heart, I shan't disappoint her. I will, of course, be matching that lovely Miss Garmonbozia's kind donation. And if any of you missed this original charity drive, well….
Well, how's this? I'll add that on. So there'll be forty-eight pounds going to Pudsey for definite – what the hell, call it fifty, nice round number – and if any of you want to honour the original agreement now, well, I'll add that on too.
How's that, Clara? Happy now? What're you tapping your foot for?
Clara? Why, Clara, you look quite as though you might punch me! What've I done?
Refused to apologize? No. I explained, didn't I? I have nothing to apologize for. Except the art installation incident and I did apologize for that.
Took the credit? Clara, I don't know what you mean! This is my third year running appealing to the lovely Fanfiction people. It's a thing. I'm so used to it I don't even remember posting an appeal this year! Isn't that wonderful? It just shows how deeply charity runs. It's part of me, deep in my heart. It's just a lovely thing to know, isn't it?
Clara, take that look off your face. Clara, why are you bracing yourself? Clara, you're concentrating very hard on my nose, you know. Clara, why are you rearing back as though you wanted to headb- Aargh!
Charity hurts, ladies and gentlemen. I'm only trying to be nice. While I deal with a needlessly irate companion, and a terribly sore nose that may be bleeding, please, please take advantage of this last opportunity to help me give. We're doing incredible good together, me and Pudsey.
And young ladies with violent minds and anger management issues are not helping at all!