Wake up in Bournemouth for the Labour conference.
I install myself in the main hotel to chat to the human river of ministers, MPs, special advisers, spin doctors, party officials and trade unionists flowing through the foyer.
Lunch is with a Cabinet minister in favour of an early election. I pop into the hall to hear chancellor Alisdair Darling’s less than rivetting speech. File a commentary and a ‘Go for it Gord’election leader, then have dinner with a Cabinet minister who cautions against an early election but, more interestingly, has a frankly bizarre theory about the McCanns. I nip off just after 10pm to do a turn on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour before finding the Highcliff bar and a few over-priced drinks.
Miss my self-imposed midnight curfew by 90 minutes.
Day of the Big Speech; Brown’s address as Labour leader moved forward a day.
I’m sparring every lunchtime on BBC TV’s Daily Politics with The Times’ Danny Finkelstein, with Andrew Neil masterfully holding the ring. I remember to blog, something I’m supposed to do regularly, although I’m a cyberslouch.
I have a ticket to watch the premier in the hall but opt to sit in the Mirror’s bit of the press room to watch the live feed – I find all that rigged applause nauseating. Equalities chief Trevor Phillips and a couple of political eds pull up seats and we share a few scurrilous jokes. I file a positive verdict and a leader noting Brown has turned perceived weaknesses – notably seriousness – into strengths.
I speak at a Hansard Society fringe then its the Big Party, the Mirror reception.
Miss my curfew by two hours.
Up early to talk on Sky and file my weekly New Statesman column, including the tale of how a snout heard Sun editorix Rebekah Wade wail ‘I need to speak to Rupert immediately’when Brown failed to dance to her (or should that be his?) Europhobic tune.
My Mirror column is suspended during Labour conference, therefore I enjoy a long lunch with a minister, file a short commentary, then the leaders. Have a jolly dinner with a Cabinet minister firmly against an early election.
I’m invited to The Independent’s reception but don’t have a ticket. With a couple of charmless figures barring entry, I nip into the Co-op gig next door to prise open a partition.
In hindsight it was unwise to creep behind the bouncers, clasp their shoulders and announce I was loving the bash. Fortunately IoS deputy editor John Mullin was on hand to vouch for me.
Miss my curfew by 90 minutes.
Gorgeous sunny morning, so walk and talk politics on the prom with a trio of politicians.
Later, I spy Brown spindoctor Damian McBride a few metres ahead with a mobile glued to his ear. I think of ear-wigging but am late for lunch with a great source.
After writing a commentary and filing the leaders, dinner is with a special adviser in an indifferent Nepalese restaurant after a few pints in the Goat & Tricycle.
I am knackered and ignore ‘lightweight’taunts to beat my curfew by 30 minutes.
Yippee! It’s the last day and the conference ends at lunchtime.
File my commentary early (with a rather good tale of the Tories trying to book Battersea power station for Cameron’s election launch), do TV and radio then give three Evening Standard hacks a lift home to south-west London.
File the leaders, chat in Five Live’s radio car for Jane Garvey’s final Drivetime show (boo-hoo) and in bed by 11.
I can’t sleep, presumably because I’ve had nothing to drink for the first time in a week.
I pop into the BBC’s Millbank studios for the last Daily Politics bout with Danny, both agreeing an election looked much more likely.
Write the leaders then issue fierce instructions to behave before leaving my 15-year-old son (the wife and youngest are away for the weekend) to zip back into London for a lively reception to celebrate the wedding of BBC presenter Simon McCoy and Victoria Graham.
After the TUC, Lib Dems and Labour, only the Tories await in Blackpool.
I’m reviewing the papers tomorrow on Andy Marr’s Sunday sofa with the Mail’s Amanda Platell, so the BBC puts me up for the night.
The place would give the Phoenix Club a run for its money. After persuading reception to permit a towel, I escape for a bevvy with Mirror colleague Rosa Price just as the singer starts warbling. I miss my curfew by 10 minutes and set the alarm for 6am.
We do love to be beside the seaside…