Mary Rose, as she is universally known, had an old school chum to comfort her last week - Gerry Wilson, the head of the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department. Both attended the old Holy Cross secondary school in Edinburgh - or, as Mary Rose put it, "I've known him since I was 12." As they usually say in the GTC meetings when the press are present, "that's a matter for the private session".
Gerry, as he is universally known, had popped in to say hello because it was the current council's last meeting. Relaxed as ever, he referred to the "tricky wee problems" facing his department and added. "Under New Labour, of course, we don't have tricky wee problems; we have tricky wee challenges."
Not that he cares. Being of the Mary Rose vintage, he retires next October.