Any education authority looking for someone to liven up a conference could do worse than invite Bill Laar, former inspector with the Inner London Education Authority, now doing national service in the army of educational consultants - not to mention writing for distinguished journals like what we are. But be warned. Other speakers will not relish taking the floor after him.
At last week's North Lanarkshire conference on early learning, Laar had the audience rolling on the plush carpeting of the Stakis Hotel in Bellshill with a near manic performance that ranged from bravura to over the top.
Amidst the gags, the blarney and the craic (your man's from County Cork) was his story of phoning a headteacher in the north of England to arrange an appointment.
"Hello," responded the male voice on the other end of the line, "this is the head of John the Baptist speaking."