Richard Savage, head of energy research at Mirabaud Securities, discovered last week that he had flown twice on British Airways aircraft apparently tainted with polonium 210, the radioactive material blamed for the death of former spy Alexander Litvinenko.

When Savage called NHS Direct, the person at the other end took his phone number and address and ended the call by asking him if he was “feeling OK”.

Slightly bemused, Savage retired for the night, only for him and his wife to be woken at 2:30am by the phone ringing. It was NHS Direct asking for his flight numbers and apologising for taking so long to ring back. The call again ended with a question about how he was feeling.

Savage says: “It certainly would have helped me find the phone if I’d been glowing in the dark.”

Thinker stinker

Smith & Williamson couldn’t have foreseen that Wednesday’s pre-Budget report would coincide with the accountancy firm’s reception at the Royal Academy’s Rodin exhibition.

The clash of dates means that some of the firm’s tax directors will miss the event to work on its PBR brochure that goes live online tomorrow morning.

In this case, there’s a history of coincidence. The Rodin exhibition focuses in part on the sculptor’s first visit to London in 1881 – the year S&W was founded.

Fully engaged

In another clash with the pre-Budget report, Business for New Europe launches a pamphlet, A Europe We Can Do Business With, at a reception tonight at the law firm Clifford Chance.

Contributors include Sir Ronald Cohen, Sir Richard Branson, Arun Sarin, Charles Dunstone and Willie Walsh. BNE supports active UK engagement in Europe and a reformed, enlarged and free-market European Union.

Not a pick-me-up

Mudlark had planned to save product placement for this Japanese coffee for an even darker winter day (below right). But rain and gales, and the news from Adelaide, meant it could wait no longer.


Airline’s new fare

Budget airline ThomsonFly is hoping to do for airline food what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners. It has hired celebrity chef Aldo Zilli, a seafood specialist, to revamp its premium and economy class meals.

Thomson chief executive Peter Rothwell unveiled the menu at Zilli’s Soho restaurant on Monday.

Flight attendants plied passengers with sautéed lamb chunks, mushroom ravioli with truffle oil, fusili pasta with Italian beans, beef pizzaiola, mascarpone mousse, chocolate brownies and Minghella’s pannacotta ice-cream. No fish was in sight, bar the crayfish and mango salad starter.

“I’d pay for this,” one food critic said. He’d have to – the in-flight meals will be priced from £6.

John Caudwell with Dragon's Den

He did it his way

“Actually, John…it was ‘John’, wasn’t it?…we don’t think your idea will ever fly.” John Caudwell fortunately was never a supplicant to the Dragons’ Den team who were on hand when the Phones4U founder was named Entrepreneurs’ Entrepreneur at last week’s Growing Business Awards organised by the CBI and Real Business magazine.

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