Laurie Taylor Column

May 20, 2005

"Star staff cosseted in bid to up RAE rating" - The Times Higher, May 13

Are you perfectly comfortable, Dr Mainchance? Or should Maureen ring reception for an extra pillow?

No thanks, Lapping. I'm fine. And congratulations on your massage skills.

Delighted to be of service, Dr Mainchance. I trust you slept well? I was assured that this hotel suite was the most luxurious in Poppleton.

Poppleton?

Your present university. You were transferred from the University of Uttoxeter during the close season.

Wasn't I at Leicester?

That was the year before.

Gosh, doesn't time fly when you're knocking out unread research articles. How many have I done for you so far?

Fourteen, Dr Mainchance. And we're very grateful. As indeed we are for your generosity in spending a whole half day in your new department. Now, how would you like to spend your morning? Perhaps a visit to the department to meet your new colleagues and some representative students?

Students!

Obviously there'd be no teaching involved. But we thought you might like to see a couple. Purely for old time's sake. No?

Or a stroll round campus? Mr Odgers would be on hand with a laptop in case you felt a research article coming on. No?

Then perhaps you'd simply like to stay in bed and look through some brochures on forthcoming overseas conferences you'd be welcome to attend at departmental expense. No?

There is one thing. Now I think about it, that extra pillow wouldn't go amiss.

You're not sufficiently upright to be able to type?

No, I'm just a little too low to reach the bunch of grapes that Maureen is dangling above my head.

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