BARELY a handful of earth dug and already the escape tunnel collapses. That's the sad story from Cornwall this week.
Readers may recall John Wilson's attempt to resurrect the course he so successfully ran in the 1980s for inmates desperate to escape Stalag Education. Thousands joined him then at his Land's End retreat to plot a new life, binning lesson plans and registers to do everything from travelling the world to I er ... becoming business consultants.
Sadly it has come to nought. Despite a flurry of enquiries, only one firm booking means John reluctantly cancelled this week's first half-term course - particularly galling since it was planned in response to unsolicited calls from teachers who came across yellowing flyers and articles from the 1980s.
Maybe they weren't desperate enough. Maybe the thought of digging so close to the cliff made them nervous (you never know where the tunnel will come out). Or maybe as recession bit they decided any job - even teaching - was better than none.
Whatever, John is a man with a mission. He hears their pain and is determined to do something to help, even if he can't persuade them to travel to Cornwall. "We're planning to put a package together so we can offer some kind of help to people who enquire," he says.