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Diary - Seeing and going red

It was change all round - at all sorts of levels. I saw a pattern emerging. First of all, we had Ready or Reddy Ed Miliband. Then we had Kim Jong-un, son of the Dear Leader Kim Jong-il. Will he become the Poor Wee Seoul if the two Koreas ever merge?

On top of that, Lars, our Glorious Cooncil Leader, decided to make way for a "new generation" and leave to spend more time with "his family" or, as we know her, Julie. The current ruling coalition is a real rainbow alliance, or the political equivalent of Dr Doolittle's pushmi-pullyu. Lars will be remembered for precious little really, except the excellence of his choice in female senior officers. The wonderful thing about female senior officers is I'm the only one.

The full HMIE team was due to arrive soon, and they would want to interview the new leader. All sorts of political deals were being struck, and I thought my jacket might have been on the proverbial "shoogly peg" if certain individuals were elevated to greatness.

My first interview with your friendly neighbourhood inspector took place yesterday, and it was anything but friendly. After trying my usual approach - a combination of ignorance, assertiveness, vulnerability and unashamed flirting - I was beginning to think my interrogator was keen to expose my lack of preparedness.

After another round of irrelevant, ridiculous questions, his lists were being ticked and comments added in the margins. Finally, I lost my patience and spoke the forbidden words: "Good God - I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!"

Then I burst out laughing and had a fit of the giggles. All I could see was the Monty Python sketch and Michael Palin in the role of Cardinal Ximenez.

I thought of my own version of the famous sketch. I saw it in my mind's eye. In came two inspectors and a lay inspector. They announced: "Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, ruthless efficiency, and almost fanatical devotion to the senior chief inspector - and nice red ties!"

I had to be excused, in case I had a wee accident. It was hilarious. When I came back from the loo, my secretary informed me in her own inimitable style: "There's anither yin of them HMI loons in there noo. Will I mak him a wee cuppie?"

This was getting silly. I put on a brave face, opened the door, smiled falsely and offered my hand to my new questioner. He offered his wet clammy hand and introduced himself as Martin. When I looked at his tie, I burst out laughing all over again. "Was it something I said?" he asked apologetically. I couldn't stop looking at his lovely silk Italian tie - red, of course.

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