I was invited to speak at a headteacher's conference as a supporting act to top-of-the-bill Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools.
My husband displayed amused incredulity, swiftly converted to over-hearty reas-surance when he realised I had accepted. "You'll be absolutely fine - of course you will!" My sister, horrified, asked: "Whatever will you wear?" She knows every item in my wardrobe and which jumble sale or charity shop it came from. She will lend me something.
My daughter wanted toknow who would look after the children. She will, of course, for a sufficiently large bribe.
My own concern was much more serious - how to get there. I do not drive and the conference is somewhere in the wilds of Rutland.
I do not know if they have public transport, or evenmetalled roads. I keep thinking of John Cleese as the obsessive headteacher in the film Clockwise who is constantly thwarted as he tries to reach his destination.
As the conference approached, borrowed finery, child care and a lift are all in place. All I have to think about now is what to say. Not toworry - they will not know itis only me.