Two o'clock, the rearranged start of Glasgow's education committee, came and went. Councillors, church representatives and officials were in place but Malcolm Green, the convener, had failed to show. The chamber was not dimly illuminated by Estonian floodlights, so no excuse there.
Even more curious, in this Marie Celeste of an education ship, not one member of the directorate was within bawling-out distance as vice-convener Chic McCafferty stepped in authoritatively at 2.02pm. With chief executive's man Norrie Lyttle deputising for Ken Corsar's team, McCafferty weighed into the breach. "Item one. Minutes of pre-five subcommittee. No objections. Approved. " And off he went, rattling through the early agenda as the clock ticked by.
Speculation mounted over the non-appearances. Glasgow may sometimes resemble the Kremlin but there is usually advance rumour of a coup d'etat. Or had captains of education fallen on their blades in a mass act of budgetary self-sacrifice? The clock ticked by.
At 2.09pm precisely, Green stormed into the chamber to loud applause, cloth bag in hand. "Look," cried a People's Party brother, "he's no had his piece yet." Green, snarled up by traffic, promptly offered a vote of thanks to his vice-convener and carried on as normal.
At 2.14pm, Ken Corsar and George Gardner, his depute, finally made it, "marginally later than me", Green observed. "I hope he's got a line with him," quipped another Labour brother.
Neither a deficiency of lighting nor traffic had caused the delay. The directorate had not been told about the changed kick-off time and were some distance away in their offices.
An investigation is being held. Chic McCafferty is claiming three bonus points.