WHEN I call Bob Kiley at 7.30am, as he requested, to arrange to meet later in the day, he retorts testily: "It's a little early to be calling me, isn't it?"
But Mr. Kiley, I protest, you said I should call at 7.30am.
"Yeah, but it's goddamn 6.30 in the morning," he replies in his mid-western American drawl.
I realise he's forgotten to turn his clock forward for three days he's been living out of sync and when I tell him, he laughs heartily, the sign of a man unshackled from business meetings and other daily cares.
I expect to find Kiley, the man once charged with turning around the capital's transport networks, delighted to be enjoying his semi-retirement. After all, he negotiated a i 1/22million severance package, continues to live rent-free in his i 1/22.3million grace-and-favour Belgravia townhouse, and his i 1/2737,500 consultancy
fees (covering 90 days of work a year for two-and-a-half years) makes him the highest hourly-paid public sector employee in Britain.
Yet when Kiley, 72, opens the door ostensibly to talk about various issues on his mind including his support for the local "Save Sloane Square" campaign, of which more later, he is clearly in a melancholic mood.
"Not having work is extremely frustrating," he says, slumping on his sofa.
"Yes, I've still got an office at Transport for London, but if you ask me what I actually do to earn my consultancy, …