Sometimes the interesting things in life don’t happen to you. Instead they happen to friends of yours and in such a way as to make you glad that your life is quite dull in comparison.

This then is the story of one of my colleagues, we will call him Alan to preserve what little dignity he has left. It begins at the start of the week when Alan was excited about his forthcoming foreign trip – to Porto in fact to watch his beloved United in the Champions League. The only clouds on the horizon appeared on Tuesday when he spent most of the day turning his desk upside down. We enquired as to why.

“I’ve lost my passport”, he confessed, adding that he had had it with him earlier in the week as proof of identity having recently lost his wallet.

We thought no more of it, Alan being off work on Wednesday to travel to the match. United of course lost and were utter pants, so what better way to cheer him up on Thursday morning than to phone his mobile and tease him about the performance…

He answered groggily.

“So Alan, how was the match? What was it like to see your boys lose so badly?”

“What, you mean the match I watched at home on TV?”

It turns out he never found the passport, had no way of leaving the country and was stuck with just taking two days off work. To console him we urged him to come down in the evening anyway as there was a work social event happening. Bond with your colleagues we said, that will make it all seem better.

So indeed he did come along, not only to the celebrity bingo organised by the production department but also to the pub across the road where there was money behind the bar and beer flowing aplenty.

I left at about 10pm but many people stayed on until closing time.

This morning Alan did not appear along with the other hungover hoardes. At 10.30am we called his phone which turned out to be out of service. Calling his home produced a ringing tone but nothing more. Now we are not heartless people so this was actually cause for some small concern. The last people to see him had conveniently taken the morning off, so clues as to his whereabouts did not emerge until close to lunchtime.

One of my other colleagues arrived at work and confirmed that Alan had stayed at his house overnight, having been the victim of a robbery the night before. Details at that stage were scarce. All was not revealed until almost 2pm when Alan finally staggered through the door, looking somewhat the worse for wear.

It transpired that he and a few colleagues had been in the pub until chucking out time and in search of further alcohol had made their way to the Borderline club and had stayed there until 3am. During the course of the evening Alan managed to lose his cloakroom ticket and upon pleading his case at the door discovered that someone had found his ticket and cashed it in, taking his coat and phone with them.

With great presence of mind he had apparently called his mobile and had the call answered.

“Excuse me, but you know you have my coat don’t you?”

“Yes,” replied the man on the other end, “it is a very nice coat, thanks very much.”

Right now I am delighted to be me, and not certain other people that I could mention.

No, I didn’t watch the Brits. Shocking really given that I am supposed to know about all things musical and take a detailed interest in the workings of this industry that I should actually not have even a passing interest in its biggest awards bash of the year, but there you go. I don’t.

The thing is that if there is anything significant to come out of it, you generally can find out the following day just by reading the papers or seeing what our Entertainment News department have to say on the subject.

Therefore I can say with no little authority that nobody flashed, crashed the stage, made a controversial speech or did anything remotely newsworthy.

Although I’m sure far too many people have said this already, it is worth repeating in the hope that the organisers realise that Outkast coming on, performing a song and then buggering off leaving the stage clear for Beyonce is in fact two seperate performances. Not a collaboration.

Now here is a thorny etiquette issue that only someone British could get themselves into. What do you do when you are carrying something that sets off shop alarms?

This lunchtime I needed to buy a cheap calculator, so off I trotted to a local branch of Rymans, selected the model I wanted and attempted to take it to the counter. No can do, the whole display was protected by a security cord. Little problem there, just queue up at the counter, tell the assistant what you want and then wait while he goes through the laborious process of deactivating the alarm, carefully unthreading the cable that is linking every single model on the rack together, extracting the one I want and then threading the cable back again before activating the alarm.

All this for a £4 calculator.

One consequence of this rigmarole must have been that the assistant forgot to cancel the security tag on the back of the packet (yes, this £4 model was indeed protected by two different security systems). As a result the bleepers on the door went off as I walked out of the shop. Nobody accosted me so I just forgot about it and carried on.

Two minutes later I enter Woolworths.

*bleep* *bleep*

That was me, walking in the door with my new purchase still primed and clearly still ready to set the alarm off in just about any shop I enter. Here then is where I face the dilemma. If I walk out the door without purchasing anything I will of course set the alarm off – instantly attracting the attention of the burly looking security guard whose day will clearly be made by having something more to do than stopping the local teenagers pilfering the pick n’ mix.

Now any sensible person would have approached him directly and explained the problem. Being British of course I am caught in a panic over the etiquette of the situation and the fact that nobody ever really taught me the correct way to approach a security gorilla and say “Look, I am not a shoplifter but…” So instead I go for Plan B – wander around the store and find something nice and substantial to purchase, something I can take to the cash desk and buy right under the nose of the security guard before walking with as much confidence as I can summon towards the doors and the dreaded alarm sensors.

*beep* *beep*

The security guard looks nonplussed for the moment, trying to work out which of the three people by the doors have set the alarm off. He has seen me make my purchase so is sure it cannot be me. Eventually I have to put him out of his misery and demonstrate that it is the Rymans bag causing the alarms – leaving me finally free to escape the store.

Once back at the office, the security tag is peeled off the back of the calculator pack. A sensible man would have done this in the street outside Rymans in the first place but that wouldn’t have made for such an interesting story would it?

Upon arriving home, Mila delves into the bag containing my purchases.

“Why have you bought a pair of kitchen scales? You never cook anything that needs weighing.”

If only she knew.