Thursday, December 16, 2010

The long slog of the last days

I really, truly and sincerely did not want to get up this morning. I was warm and comfortable and I had a sneaking suspicion that if I got out of bed then I would find that it was dark and cold.

And it was.

I drove to work in the dark with that simmering resentment that all teachers know so well.

Even the fact that there were only five more days to the holidays did not raise my gloomy thoughts.

Starting work at 8.15 am is no joke and I was still harbouring resentment about the fact that I lost a free period for a head of school to have a meeting yesterday. It would appear that four and a half hours of meetings outside school hours is insufficient for this organization!

The sun, however, did emerge from the gloom and although not hot there was warmth as long as you were in direct contact with the rays.

And, as I was taking over a patio (playground) duty from a colleague I was. I refuse to wander about disturbing the smokers and the pupils up to other nefarious wrong doings but rather take out a chair and sit magisterially and survey the kids from the vantage point of the terrace.

In normal schools a teacher on duty is left severely alone. Not in this one. My chair was soon surrounded by a variety of pupils from a range of years engaging me in conversation. I had been hoping to continue reading a trashy American murder mystery on my phone (I still get a kick from saying that!) but that was impossible with the demands of the kids.

During one conversation a girl reminded me that I had told her two years ago that a gentle tapping on a part of the body would result in bruising if continued for long enough. God alone knows what prompted that little nugget of information to be produced in a lesson; though given her recent marks it would appear that not everything that I tell her actually remains in her brain!

At the end of the interminable day I finally managed to slip out of school a few minutes early during the remains of a period devoted to a departmental meeting (don’t ask) to try and avoid the unholy congestion that snarls up the narrow street around the school.

Making good time I decided to call into our local shopping centre and get some more disposable fountain pens. That was all that I was going to buy: clear, simple and cheap.

When I finally emerged from the centre I had bought a rather fine wide china cup with a yellow interior to go with the green individual cup tea maker; three delicate metallic angel Christmas decorations; a pair of noise reducing earphones; a tray with a mosaic design of using small rectangular black and white retro views of aspects of Barcelona; a selection of food and a boxed set of toiletries.

The after shave purchase was an interesting one as I was accosted by a fearsomely cosmetically challenged lady who offered to help as I picked up a box of stuff. I asked if I could try the after shave and I was promptly taken in hand.

I was given a sample of the fragrance that I had selected on one of those strips of card which, being wafted under my nose gave me the impression of slightly suppressed flowers. I grudgingly allowed her to squirt some on the back of my hand and I was gratified to find that my skin was working with its customary magic.

On me the after shave smelled nothing like the impression from the strip of card. The rather effete flowers had given way to something altogether more musky and not unpleasant.

I was given another squirt of something from a bottle which looked like an exploded and fragmented square which was reduced to sheer vulgarity on contact with my skin.

Her last attempt was something which smelled inoffensive on the card but transmuted to toilet freshener on contact with my epidermis. The lady who had been sniffing my hand as the experimentation proceeded looked frankly shocked by this emanation and mildly panicked until she reverted to the original choice which by then had settled down into quite a good scent. So I bought it. After all her work it was the least I could do!

Having loaded all my booty into the car I finally made it back to the house where I expected to see a gap where the bollard used to be.

I was gratified to find that my worst expectations were not realized and that the metal post was still standing where it should have been!

My innate sense of suspicion immediately told me that the Guilty Party was merely biding her time for me to drop my vigilance to spirit the thing away during a dull hour on the back end of Sunday.

Perhaps I am wrong and, at the third attempt of the local council to establish these metallic defenders of our space she is prepared to concede defeat and abide by the rules.

I have just had a phone call from Paul 1 who told me that Paul Squared has been taken in to hospital where they have ascertained that he has had a “cardiac incident” which could turn out to be a heart attack. This could be a life changing moment if Paul responds to the message that such an “incident” can be.

Such things put grumbling about the stresses of school life into a different sort of perspective.
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