Diary - Jon Snow

I'd have felt happier if Gordon Ramsay had left out the mushroom veloute with sauteed cepes. To star

If only my hand-eye co-ordination were better. What could be more humiliating than being caught among 30 apparent experts bouncing a bright plastic ball up and down in the confines of a taped square on the floor of the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern? "Thank you, thank you, thank you," bellows the Bruce Nauman audio installation as my red ball dribbles into the taped confines of an ultra-efficient young woman, who rolls me her yellow one out of pity.

Happy fifth birthday, Tate Modern! "Thank you, thank you" for putting up with me as a trustee. Can I claim any credit? No, that belongs to the Millennium Commission and the many other considerable human cogs who helped. But it belongs even more to the vision and single-minded leadership of Nick Serota. His continuing impact on Britain's entire cultural profile, from St Ives and Liverpool to Bankside and Millbank, has no precedent.

Oh crumbs - is that a TV camera I see before me? Why is my bouncy ball now suddenly blue? Did they see me drop it?

Say "Swindon". Do you think "books"? The first of two possible oxymorons in my week - but a real surprise. The Swindon Festival is seven years older than Tate Modern and, in its own way, the consequence of another remarkable man's drive. Matt Holland dreamt it up in his farmhouse kitchen. On the 15th day of the festival, a couple of hundred punters (most of them local) packed the little Arts Centre. Their questions were thoughtful and keenly felt. My own book was in part triggered by the war on Iraq. The audience, like the electorate, was animated about the matter. We were a long way from what has often seemed just an urban moment in the M4 corridor.

So to the second oxymoron - a poverty lunch at Claridge's. Not just Claridge's: Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. The guest of honour was Hilary Benn, newly reappointed to Clare Short's old job at the Department for International Development. In attendance was an impressive clutch of men and women who do serious business in the developing world. One of them mined things in Congo; another built power stations in Bolivia. It was all presided over by Article 13. As Benn aptly observed: "I wonder what happened to Articles 1 to 12?" The talk was good, but I'd have felt happier if Ramsay had left us with the crispy bread rolls and left out the Morgenster 2000 and the mushroom veloute with sauteed cepes. To starve at Claridge's - now that would be the thing.

My "Make Poverty History" wristband has gone the way of all flesh. I had it on as I was about to interview Michael Howard on election eve. My producer suddenly asked: "Do you think you should be wearing that?" I said I should because it was beyond contention. Then I wondered whether the objection was because rust from my children's old trampoline had severely discoloured the once white band. I unpoppered the thing, did the interview, and did it up again. But yesterday I found it had fallen off. Seems to me that to distribute a symbol which can either be removed or fall off is to suggest that the pledge is equally vulnerable.

To the BBC to record The Radio 4 Appeal on behalf of the Rett Syndrome Association, an amazing charity that supports the thousands of families that include a sufferer of this incurable genetic disorder, which renders the victim incapable of either independent movement or communication. The recording proves an opportunity to learn more about a devastating and largely unseen tragedy. The inspirational Lord (David) Renton was required to take his driving test at 94 so he could continue to visit his daughter who has the disease.

Half an hour inside the BBC also allows a complete outsider to observe the awkward reality that it is remarkably over-resourced. I can't help feeling that my old boss Mark Thompson may be right to have a go at some of the corporation's amazing "scale". Can it really be true that the BBC's human resources department alone is larger than the whole of Channel 4?

Jon Snow's Shooting History is out in paperback (Harper Perennial, £7.99)