Tuesday, 29 March 2011


So, first things first,. We have two new cars. Well, not exactly new, in fact one might go so far as to say they are quite old, but, and this is the crux of the argument- they go. From A-B, without hiccupping, without kangarooing and without the all too familiar, ominous noise of banging or rattling. This is more through luck than anything else, because, no sooner had Hubby and Dad been across country to purchase the second, more large family accommodating, car and had driven in convoy back to the wardroom for lunch to celebrate Dad’s not insignificant birthday than it all went, horribly wrong. I have been regaled thus: Hubby got half way out of the new car, too late to realise that the handbrake hadn’t been applied hard enough to secure it to a parking spot. Being on a slight incline, the car started to move, and rather horrifyingly it moved with Hubby’s leg sticking out of the door. Dad’s car was parked right next to Hubby’s and as Hubby frantically tried to apply the handbrake- which, Hubby realised rather too late, is placed on the right hand side of the driver, a rather alarming and in this case calamitous revelation given the vulnerable position of Hubby’s leg, the two cars rather predictably scraped together and Hubby could not get his leg out of the way fast enough to prevent it being crushed between the cars. How Hubby didn’t lose his leg is a miracle. The metal inside the driver’s door is buckled where his leg got in the way.

It was a bad start to the new car that my dear husband had been so chuffed to find. Not only that, but it was after all Dad’s birthday, and not only that, but the poor guy had only just had his car returned from the garage where it had been rebuilt after a drunken driver had smashed into it late one night. It’s another story, that after the impact, which I heard from my bed, I’d hurriedly pulled a dressing gown around me, and ran outside to see what was going on before desperately trying to make the miscreant see sense and stay put at the scene of the crime. It’s a further story that the whole family were now also in their nightclothes out on the pavement; Hubby on the phone to the police, the teenagers looking on open mouthed and poor Dad, standing there bewildered, scratching his bald head, as I, naked under my dressing gown, ran up the street, hell for leather after a swaying drunkard, the whole while pleading with him to stay put. I didn’t stop until it got very dark and I could hear Hubby imploring me to come back. You’d have thought that the sight of my nether regions flapping under my dressing like some pornographic super hero would have been enough to apprehend the chap, but on reflection, it was probably more of an impetus to keep on running.
Suffice it to say then , the last thing that Dad needed on his big birthday was his car to be once again damaged, but as is Dad’s style, he was very magnanimous about it and I was very glad that I had spent a small fortune on four foot, silver, helium balloons that signified his age.We spent a pleasant evening, regardless, eating party food, drinking champagne and dousing Hubby in Arnica ointment.
The following day, a long scar disfiguring my nice, new car, I drove to my ‘Placement B’ school. The children are delightful and one can understand how teachers, however knackered and however disenchanted with the goings on in education, stick with the job. The kids are what it’s all about. I am surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoy standing at the front of the class and teaching my students. I am very enthusiastic. The trouble is, is that I tend to go ‘off script’ and my mentor, whilst being very positive and encouraging, had to point out that in an hours lesson on creative writing where the ‘learning objective’ – oh yes, the students must have an agenda these days – was to ‘explore genre, setting and characters’, I had spent fifteen minutes spouting on about Lent, Jesus in the wilderness and sacrifice.
“Rein yourself in Alice”, she advised, “Or you will never meet your objectives and when the head honchos come to call they will criticise you”. But it had been so apt. I’d provided pancakes and syrup and napkins, hell I’d even had the wherewithal to buy baby wipes for sticky little fingers. I felt it needed a little clarification as to why we gorge ourselves thus. I felt it just as pertinent to point out that in Mexico, Shrove Tuesday is referred to as Fat Tuesday and regale them with an anecdote of when we lived in America and how it was celebrated there. No doubt I see myself as some modern day Miss Jean Brodie, hell bent on given my students extra curricular information, to be the ‘crème de la crème. It doesn’t go down well with OFSTED apparently, they like ‘focus’ not imagination. Pah.
I sloped off to my next class, entirely made up of high achieving girls, who are up to debate against a class of equally bright boys. Printing information from the internet about girls versus boys, they found statistics about female incarceration.
“Are you familiar with that expression? Do you know what it means?”, I asked.
Rows of big eyes looked back at me, “Is that where they get burned miss?”.
Regardless of wounded car and wounded husband, I laughed all the way home.

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