Monday, 11 October 2010


“Is my absence as home-maker extraordinaire making you develop OCD”, I asked Hubby the other evening as he polished his work shoes with an intense ferocity.
“Ah you wish Alice my love, you wish. Actually, it’s very quiet in this house with you beavering away in the basement”. Oh.
“What gives with the polishing then? You hoping for a Genie to spring out of your shoes?” I went rather sulkily into the kitchen, opened the fridge and poured myself a large glass of wine. It felt and tasted exquisite.
“Don’t you remember anything Alice?”, said Hubby who had followed me and was now brandishing a shoe polishing brush in my direction.
“What? Do you mean apart from your parents’ birthdays, all our children’s birthdays, their friends’ birthdays, PTA meetings, ballet, tap and swimming classes…”
“Alright, alright you’ve made your point”, he looked impatient, “Don’t you remember me telling you that royalty was visiting tomorrow?” I choked on my wine.
“Bloody hell I forgot. Don’t I get to come and meet him too then?”
“No Alice, you do not. You have lesson observations to attend and well, whatever it is teachers do”.
“Two things mate, one, I bet I am invited, you just don’t want me to spend any more money on a new dress, shoes and hat do you?”
“Of that there is no doubt my dear but that notwithstanding, you are still not invited”.
“And two”, I continued, “What the hell do you mean ‘and whatever else teachers do’?” By the look on his face and the fact that he’d started to back out of the kitchen he’d realised that he was treading on dangerous ground.
“I’ll tell you shall I? Well? Shall I?” I chased after him. I backed him into a corner near the sofa which he very conveniently fell into and chucked my horribly heavy, briefcase onto his lap. Pulling out my lever arch file which after only three weeks at college is already groaning, I extracted from a plastic pouch, a list of ‘activities expected of teachers in an academic and pastoral role’.
I kept him pinned down until I’d read out all 28 of them.
“There, that’s what the hell teachers do”, I finished, slapping my hands together.
“Ok love”, he said awkwardly, “I was out of order. Teachers work very hard indeed”. I pulled the bag off his sternum but kept it hovering only an inch away, where, by dropping it again, I could easily have compromised his breathing.
“And?”, I said.
“And I’m really sorry”. I moved myself and my briefcase out of his way. He got up and went and poured himself a glass of wine too.
We sat down together. “I’m just really nervous Alice”, he said, taking a big slurp. “It has to be perfect tomorrow; there is no room for cock-ups. We’ve all been rehearsing like crazy. Even the chefs have been practising”. I’d have liked to have pointed out at this juncture that I doubted very much that the Prince would give a toss what he was about to eat, that in fact he probably had hundreds of military lunches every year and I would bet my bottom dollar that he’d never once sent his food back but, to have articulated these points would have seemed rather cruel, especially given the polishing, painting and marching that had been worked on so hard to perfect.
“Anyway, how are you feeling about tomorrow?” Hubby asked.
“A little anxious but we’re only observing, it’s not as if I have to teach a class. That joy is to come.”
The following morning, far too bright and early I drove myself with my fellow student Bianca as navigator, deep into the heart of Cornwall. Nearing our destination we were a little lost.
“Where has the school disappeared to?” I asked Bianca accusingly. She rather sheepishly, shrugged her shoulders.
“Sorry, I’ve never been any good at reading maps; I think maybe we should have turned left a little earlier”. It was almost 8.30, we were going to be late. I pulled over and suddenly we spotted some teenagers in school uniform. I wound the window down on the passenger side, leaned over Bianca’s lap and hollered, “ ‘Scuse me love?”
With trepidation the students approached the car.
“Are you going to school?”.
“Well duh!”, one replied.
“Great. So are we. Do you want a lift?” As soon as the words were uttered I knew I’d made a right clanger. The children scurried away as though the local paedophile had just attempted to abduct them.
“Nice one”, laughed my colleague. We dumped the car and ran, arriving seven minutes late, our teacher training co-ordinator tapping her foot.
“Before I take you to your classrooms word has got to me that there are a couple of women loitering near the school. They tried to pick up a couple of students barely minutes ago. Be vigilant for a red Fiat”. There was no fear of that. I knew exactly where it was.

1 comment:

DL said...


Sorry not written here for a bit.

Stick with it, AB! (Although I'm sure you've no intentions otherwise). This country sorely needs some good teachers.