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Out to lunch;Diary

FULL MARKS for persistence to Alexander King Associates, PR people to Portakabin, makers of those oft-despised temporary classrooms that teachers complain about and Governments pledge to get rid of.

A Diary colleague was invited last week to Harlow to learn about the "importance of educational environment in pre-school education" in an event sponsored by the firm.

Would this by any chance have anything to do with a new type of Portakabin, wondered our colleague. And who is the "noted architect" giving the presentation? Not someone who designs Portakabins, perchance?

The PR team declined to elaborate - but sensing a reluctance to attend, refused to take a polite No for an answer. "We'll send a car to pick you up and bring you back," they said. "We'll give you lunch."

When that failed, they sent by recorded delivery two train tickets to Harlow "in anticipation of the fact that you want to join us", a detailed itinerary with military timing ("08.32 hrs: depart Liverpool Street mainline station" etc) for this "relaxed and convivial event" - and a dog-eared tenner to cover "incidental expenses".

That clinched it. Our colleague stayed firmly put in London, and the tenner will shortly be winging its way back.

Lunch, by the way, turned out to be spag bol and chips.

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