In the days before Guardian Royal Exchange (GRE) went French, its logo was a wise old owl. And at conferences and other events, the GRE publicists used a real owl to liven up proceedings.

What ever happened to the owl after AXA bought GRE? Well, Backchat has found out. Attending a meeting at CII headquarters last week, Backchat was astounded to be greeted by a magnificent three-foot high owl, thankfully attached to a nervous looking keeper in reception.

While the owl looked at home set against the Hogwartsian oak-panelling of the CII, delegates attending a seminar there looked rather sheepish as they eyed the wise one.