Nick Hewer waves off candidate for china restoration and robot building roles (Rousse)

I grabbed my iPhone and camera and made a dash to board the ferry back to the mainland. When Nick Hewer (Lord’s Sugar’s advisor on The Apprentice) told me that I had left my pink notebook behind I said to leave it. I wouldn’t need that where I was heading.

I was surprised at the number of Chinese people who disembarked the incoming service. The latest tourist marketing campaign had clearly taken effect.

Once on board the boat I regretted not wearing a cardigan. Clad so inappropriately for an outdoor crossing on the open sea, it was a very uncomfortable journey.

When I eventually reached the mainland JK explained why she had summoned me. Without my knowledge she had responded to two calls for research proposals on my behalf, and both had been successful. Despite my poor hearing I gradually made out that the first project required me to restore an antique china tea service. The other – for someone called Horace who worked in health sciences – was to transform a life-size jointed wooden artist’s model into a fully-functional robot with operational limbs. The purpose of the latter was to create a near-human dummy on which the students could practise massage therapies.

Without question, both projects were beyond my capabilities. I therefore made up an excuse about being late for my shift as a technical support engineer at Apple. Then I left before they could come up with any further madcap plans for my employment.

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