My ten days on the minumum wage

My ten days on the minumum wage

Remember the other week I announced there's no way on Earth that I'd ever consider going on Big Brother? I still stand by that but what I didn't tell you was that I had a rival reality telly appearance in the pipeline.

My instinct is to blabbermouth the whole story but if I do, the programme makers will probably be very cross with me - especially as it won't be screened till November. So I won't tell you what it is or why I'm on it, but it's not giving too much away to tell you that it involved a week and a half living on the minimum wage in a southern seaside town.

I've just got back and I feel like the experience has changed my life. I'm no stranger to being poor - I built my businesses up from nothing - but it made me think hard about quality of life, friends and family.

I arrived in town penniless, like any travelling job seeker, and took up residence in a caravan - scrounging tea bags and milk, and bread and butter from my neighbours on the site until I could earn some money - being filmed all the while.

Then I got a job delivering meals on wheels, which I loved because I got to chat to all the elderly and disabled people including a lady who'd had a stroke 30 years previously and had been in a wheelchair able only to communicate with a keypad ever since. She'd worked at Harrods in cosmetics as a young woman. She spelled out: "The stroke was my own fault, I shouldn't have overworked myself."

I felt sad and touched and full of admiration for her all at the same time. Totally humbled. For a day's work I collected about £36. I needed £20 to pay for my caravan, which left a few pounds to buy potatoes and baked beans for tea - a perk of being a meals on wheels man is that you get a free lunch and it was excellent stuff, stewed steak and carrots.

I found out, though, that they were changing the system meaning some older folk who'd been entitled to free dinners were going to have to start paying up or going without - which seemed really unfair.

My next job was in a nursing home, caring for elderly people. It was hard, physical work hoisting people up, and it was nice chatting to residents and getting to know them. It made me think about how the elderly get neglected in society and how many don't seem to have many friends around them in their final years.

Much less emotionally gruelling was a stint in a chip shop peeling the potatoes and putting them through the slicing machine and serving customers, who I found myself interviewing to pass the time.

I was fascinated that in this seaside town, they put the fish in the tray first and the chips on top.

"But that'll make the fish soggy!" I protested, and just had to ask every single punter whether they really wanted their fish in first. "Of course," they said, aghast. "That's the way it's done round here."

I have to say by the end of the 10 days I really liked my caravan, despite its rubbish cold shower. But I couldn't wait to get back to Yorkshire for proper fish and chips, the very finest in Britain.

Seriously, the episode made me to decide to enjoy life, relax more and make extra time for friends and socialising. If I'm in that nursing home I want all my mates around me!

Me and Leigh go back a long way

I'm hoping to renew a very old friendship with Leigh Francis, better known as Mr Bo Selecta. I used to be very good mates with his pal Keith, on whom the character Keith Lemon is based.

The pair of them used to come into the Ritzy nightclub in the Merrion centre when I used to DJ. I can't remember that much about Leigh - sorry I have no stories about him skating across the dancefloor with chickens wedged onto his feet like he does in his Wacko Jacko garb in Bo Selecta - but he remembers me.

When I was filming the reality show, the sound man knew I was from Leeds and mentioned that he knew him. I said I did too and that I'd like to get back in touch so he texted Leigh saying: "Do you know Terry George from Leeds?"

He said: "Yes," straight away and said it was ok for his number to be passed on to me. I rang it and got his goofy answering message, imploring me to "please leave a message and have a nice day" in an Avid Merrion type voice, but he hasn't called me back yet. I'll let you know when he does!

Celebs in court - and the clink

You can't pick up a paper without reading about a celeb in court - George Michael, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton. It seems you're not a bona fide A-lister unless you're getting hauled before the beak for some sort of bad behaviour.

However famous you are, and however many favours you can pull in from your friends in high places, you're never above the law. Something tells me that if I were to start trying to poke my camera lens over prison walls in my never-ending celeb-spotting quest, I'll be in the magistrates court myself ... would that be a way to make new high-profile pals?