Farewell, while the sun shines

13th April 2001 at 01:00
Everything seemed set for the most melodious of swansongs. Outgoing NASUWT chief Nigel de Gruchy was returning to his Jersey homeland for his penultimate annual conference, and whispers at union headquarters had it that the big man wasn't leaving anything to chance.

There were public promises of a "scintillating conference in a paradise on which the sun shines" and eagle-eyed delegates couldn't help noticing that an aerial photo of Jersey in their agenda seemed to have altered the usual shape of the island, with huge swathes of yellow beach sand, apparently to give it more of that "paradise isle" feel. (De Gruchy with a marker pen? The ersey Tourist Board, which provided the picture, assures us it looks like that at "the very lowest tide").

Mr de Gruchy was also concerned to set the right tone for the occasion, promising that there would be no use of "etc" in any conference publication because it implied "imprecision of thought that is unworthy of a learned profession".

So, what do we find on page 31 of the agenda? "To rise to a point of order is to interrupt a debate etc, with an inquiry" The union tells us "there have been thorough investigations and the culprit has been warned" but denies that the dungeons at Jersey's Mont Orgueil castle are in use.

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