Latest anti-truancy wheeze from Southampton city council: "a six-foot hairy hound" called Sam (School Attendance Matters) who will go into schools to greet pupils in the playground and encourage them to be on time. It sure makes a change from sniffer dogs.
But the Diary is disappointed with the photo of the hound thoughfully supplied by the council's press office. We had imagined something six-foot long and shaggy, a sort of Nana against whose flanks small children and rebellious teenagers could snuggle. Instead, the hound turns out to be six feet tall and, er, a person in a velvety-orange outfit with mad, staring eyes. Come on now Southampton. The least you could do is send in two people under a shaggy blanket, panto-style.