Neil White: I won't say what I think of his politics but PM is charming
"WOULD you be happy to receive a visit from the Prime Minister?''
I have to admit the call from Downing Street caught me somewhat by surprise.
"Er, well, you know he was here nine months ago, don't you?''
Apparently, David Cameron's staff did know this but said he was keen to follow up his previous interview at Telegraph Towers.
And so started two days of frantic preparation.
Within two hours of the call, a Metropolitan Police officer and one from Derbyshire were in my office.
We agreed the route between our reception and my office, where I would welcome the PM.
Then came the follow-up call from the Downing Street press office.
On these occasions, we are requested to send through questions, so the PM can be briefed.
Some might disagree but I think this is not only fair but it gives us a much better chance of receiving responses which are meaningful.
If you listen to politician's radio interviews or watch them on TV, they often ignore what is being asked and return to their comfort zone.
And the result is that they don't answer the question.
So, whatever I might have thought of his responses, I couldn't accuse Mr Cameron of dodging any issues.
He was forthright on the city council – despite cross-party protests and a 12,000-name petition claiming Derby was being treated unfairly when it came to the Government grant to the city – and he had figures to hand which he said backed up his argument.
He was also very specific about the tendering process for Crossrail and Bombardier's role in it.
The Prime Minister was equally tough on schools – not giving an inch to those who protest about academies and tasking his detractors with coming up with an alternative plan to improve education in Derby.
It would be wrong of me to say whether or not I agree with his politics but what I will say is that, as a man, he was impressive.
This was the second time I had met him and, on both occasions, I have found him breezy and chatty.
Of course, when it comes down to policy questions, he puts on his "game" face and, quite rightly, gets serious.
But, once the pens are put down, he not only charms effortlessly but he gives the impression he is interested in what others are saying.
I have to say this isn't a skill with which all politicians are blessed.
Someone close to one recent Prime Minister admitted, without irony, that he "wasn't a people person."
Mr Cameron, however was happy to laugh about Gangnam Style – a reference to a story about him dancing to the hit with Boris Johnson – have a giggle about a picture of a young reporter sitting on Derbyshire's cleanest loo and spend some time looking through the articles on our Bygones pages with their editor.
Of course, those affected adversely by his Government's policies may not care that he is a human being.
But I felt it was rather reassuring.