The audience were models of attentiveness, of course, being heidies and suchlike. But the extractor fans penetrating into the back rows of the conference suite from an adjoining room provided some diverting moments.
The humming and whirring proved so intrusive, however, that there was no way it could be allowed to disturb the peace when Douglas Osler, the inspectors' boss, was on his feet.
But Osler did not get where he is today by failing to notice the small things in life. "My only disappointment," HMSCI told the audience, "was when I heard the fans were to be switched off. I need all the fans I can get."