I was back at the Hilton London Olympia running a one-day conference.
The morning sessions went very well. My former colleague PT was the star of the show as he peppered his presentation with witty asides. I knew it! He really did have a sunny side, but was just reluctant to expose it in everyday exchanges. In the past I had also suspected that he might have a penchant for cross-dressing. I was correct on this count too. On the podium he wore a short-sleeved, green lawn cotton dress with a large slit up the back, high heels, and subtle make-up. The majority of the delegates accepted him as he was, although one of his graduates chased after me in the break to express her surprise at the change in the demeanour and dress of her former tutor.
It all started to fall apart at lunchtime. First, KB announced that one of the key afternoon speakers had pulled out. Then I spotted that the presentation slides from one of the company information providers indicated that the slot would be a simple sales catalogue walk-through. Meanwhile there were problems with the venue. These included water leaking through the restaurant ceiling, and filthy lavatories.
I also lost track of time during the lunch break. This was partly because the delegates kept coming up to me to ask questions. Some of these were completely irrelevant to the conference theme. A father and daughter combo, for example, demanded a detailed explanation of the list of letters after my name.
I was desperate for some extra help as the conference organiser, so was very relieved when a familiar figure approached me after lunch. Dressed in a man’s Tweed suit matched with a Fair Isle tank top, here was my saviour. ‘Welcome Belle. I have missed you so much’, I said, grinning from ear to ear.