Alan Charlton couldn't describe diplomacy to his small children beyond saying he went to the Embassy to shake his briefcase. His new autobiography tells stories about his career in foreign affairs.
Shaking my Briefcase explores the serious and comical sides of Alan's life as a British diplomat in the Middle East, Germany, the Home Front (including peace negotiations on Former Yugoslavia), the United States and Brazil.
He learned Arabic and was posted first to Jordan, where he supported the Queen's ground-breaking visit in 1984.
He was then Israel desk officer in the Foreign Office, where he was also involved with the British hostages in Lebanon.
He served in Berlin before, during and after the Fall of the Wall and met Rudolf Hess.
He was Deputy Chief of the Cabinet Office Assessments Staff during the Iraq-Kuwait war before his toughest assignment, working on Former Yugoslavia including at the Dayton Peace talks in 1995.
After spells back in Germany as Deputy Head of Mission and as HR Director in the Foreign Office, he concluded his career as Deputy Head of Mission in Washington and finally British Ambassador to Brazil.
Shaking my Briefcase will appeal to anyone who enjoys a stimulating autobiography including fascinating stories and a twist of humour.
It will also appeal to those interested in diplomacy and some of the key foreign affairs' issues of our time.