At the end of a week which many observers believed couldn't get worse for Gordon Brown, it seems that even his plans for a seaside holiday in the genteel Suffolk resort of Southwold are now in jeopardy following the loss of the Prime Ministerial bucket and spade. 'I'm sure I left it in the back of this cupboard, but I've had everything out three times now and looked everywhere. It's sort of red with shells on, and a blue handle. You haven't seen it have you?' said the Prime Minister.
Regarded as one of the perks of office, the sandcastle-making apparatus is part of a beach leisure set used by many former Prime Ministers and their families and is rumoured to go back as far as Churchill. 'It's not a case of just buying a new one,' said Mr Brown, 'it's a part of British history and I can't go on this holiday without it, although it's not all doom and gloom - I've just found the li-lo.'
It is the latest in a series of disastrous losses for the government including discs of benefit records, MoD laptops and voters, but the Prime Minister's spokesman revealed that this was the thing at the moment causing Mr Brown most concern, and that his wife was asking him to get a move on. 'To be going on a traditional British seaside holiday that he didn't want to go on anyway, and to not be able to make sandcastles when you're there, well, Gordon's really having second thoughts about it all and making excuses so he can just stay here in Downing Street and 'work on through...'
The search for the missing bucket and spade, and also Clement Attlee's old brightly-coloured beach 'boule' set, will have to be put on hold for the rest of the day while Barack Obama is in town meeting important leaders as part of his 'getting to know you' world tour. But it will resume later tonight with the focus on a cupboard on the fourth floor of Number Ten, which Mr Brown is known to have a 'lucky feeling' about. 'So it's probably somewhere in the basement' said an exasperated Alistair Darling.
Mr Darling, who is due to take control of the government while the Prime Minister is away, is carrying out his own search with the help of several cabinet colleagues who are equally insistent that the PM should, 'in the name of God!,' go on holiday. However, a Minister called Milliband, who wished to remain anonymous was far more ambivalent about the missing items saying; 'Well, he's got his head so far in the sand, to be honest he'd be better off with Neville Chamberlain's digger.'
Written by Red.