Recently I stayed the night at the Tickled Trout Hotel Preston. This is a comfortable mid-range hotel by the River Ribble, used mainly by business travellers and tourists.

After dinner I went to the bar and fell talking to a gregarious young man called Rob. He introduced me to his girlfriend Tracey and we sat down for a drink. All was friendly until Tracey asked what I did, and I made the mistake of telling her.

In an instant she changed from a pussycat into a wildcat, and I became a fat cat.

She saw no distinction between petroleum and finance, or between bankers and lawyers. I was one of those fat cats, paying myself huge bonuses and staying in luxury hotels, while the unemployed starved in the street and a young mother like her could not afford to heat her flat.

I made one final mistake by pointing out that she was staying in the same hotel. She exploded in fury. How dare I say that? That was not the same at all.

I finished my drink and stood up. I shook hands with Rob and said I had enjoyed meeting him. I told Tracey that I had not intended to upset her and apologized for having done so.

Evidently it is safer for business people in the UK today to pose as care workers.

Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.