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Caught short;Jotter

It was one of those ministerial heart-stopping moments. Nicol Stephen, Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, was reaching his peroration at the Scottish launch of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education when he found the final page of his speech missing.

Frantic efforts failed to locate it. Then, indispensable as ever, trusty press officer Brian Simmons stepped forward with the vital words.

Nonplussed, Stephen said: "It's OK, I was coming to my conclusion anyway."

The incident reminded Bill Stevely, principal of Robert Gordon University, of the minister who delivered the words "And the first thing Adam said to Eve was . . ." He turned the page to discover there wasn't another one. Looking up in horror, he continued: ". . . there's no leaf."

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