17 MARCH 2007, Page 30

Paterson’s pranks

Sir: Could I, as the person who unwittingly provoked Jennifer Paterson’s outburst in the Spectator kitchen, say exactly what happened? I was not, as Simon Courtauld writes (‘Who wants to buy our old office?’, 10 March), ‘a junior member of staff’, but the magazine’s advertising director.

The kitchen was opposite my office and the nearest other kettle four floors down in the basement. Since Paterson only used the kitchen on Thursdays and I used to lug up all her vegetables in between flogging space, I would in her absence make the odd cup of coffee there. Finding an offending unwashed spoon, Paterson threw not plates but the entire cutlery drawer out of the window, for which she was dismissed and later reinstated. From memory, Charles Moore was reading proofs in the garden when the clatter descended.

Paterson was always snooty with us advertising types and would no doubt be dismayed that the publisher James Knox, the marketing director Philip Marsden and even myself went on to write some pretty good books. On her reinstatement I continued my role as her vegetable porter.

Rory Knight Bruce Crediton, Devon