Thursday afternoon saw me tucked away in the non-contact room, ploughing through assessment results. Depressingly, half the children still remain below the class average, despite Mr Gove’s exhortations. I fear for my salary.
Entering results onto a spreadsheet is a mundane job, so I switched on the wireless; partly to drown out the sound of children in the playground – they do keep turning up at school – but also because I knew that Clare Balding was going to be talking to Tom Isaacs as part of her ‘Ramblings’ series on Radio 4.
July, last year.
“So are we going to talk about the elephant in the room?” said Mrs Jolly-Colleague.
We were at Mrs Domestic-Colleague’s house for an end-of-term splurge of good food and gossip. Mrs D-C bakes-off against the best. Her head-to-head with Jill Archer is the stuff of legends and minstrels still sing ballads to her victorious Simnel cake.
“Ocado suggests I might want some Root Retoucher.” ActorLaddie looks up from his laptop. “What do you think?”
If you’ve met ActorLaddie, you’ll know that having his roots redone is fairly low on the To-Do list, as his style guru is Eric Morcambe.
My Junk folder, on the other hand, is brimmed to overflowing – if you’ll forgive the expression – with adverts for Viagra. Someone out there in Google-land has figured that searching for a lot of computer stuff makes me a bloke and, what’s more, one in need of a little help.
“You remember this – answer from Never to Always passing through Very Occasionally, Sometimes and Often.”
We’ve done the neurology questionnaire three times now: at the start of the drugs trial, in the middle and now, at the end. Where did that six months go? Dr LaMancha knows me so well that his pencil hovers over my answers before I say them. We whip through the questions. Then there’s that moment when I long for Dr LaMancha to give me a red pen to mark my own paper while he runs through what the answers should have been. It’s a test and I want to know how I’ve done. Perhaps I could be put in a league table with the other Parkie patients.
“Did you know that Parkinson’s Awareness Week is next week?” says InfantPhenomenon. She’s just started work as a trainee journalist and is calling me in her coffee break. I, however, am on Easter holidays and evading doing school-work by skulking in bed with coffee and a Kindle. Lounging around while the children are at work; Earth hath not anything to show more fair.
“I’m sorry to hear about your op,” I said to FriendlyColleague as we were hanging out by the Risograph last week. We don’t run to a water-cooler at our school, so gossip is accompanied by the sweet smell of duplicating ink.
“So where is the audiology department, Ma?” I ask, turning the car into the hospital driveway. Answer comes there none so I try again – at volume. “Where am I going, Ma?” By now I’m shouting. “Where’s audiology?” Still no reponse. I seem to have slipped into an episode of Fawlty Towers. I start to laugh and Ma frowns.
“What’s funny? Why are you laughing?”
I was going to blog about the Christmas Concert we went to last night; organised by Parkinson’s UK and held in St George’s Cathedral.
I was going to start by mentioning that the organ wasn’t working. Hence everything was being accompanied on an electric piano which the choir obviously couldn’t hear. I would have added something about the pianist being keen to get to the mulled wine, and the challenging acoustics of the building, leading to the choir almost being lapped while singing Once in Royal David’s City.
“I’ve finished, Mrs Jellywoman.”
I scoot across the ICT room to see Chiyedza’s work. Although she only started using the computers a couple of months ago, she has made a jolly good job of the picture which will end up on the front of her Christmas card. She chose the angel outline; then added colours with the Fill tool. Her cherub has a dashing green dress and is winging its way through a purple sky. Like Chiyedza, it has gorgeous mahogany brown skin.
“That’s beautiful,” I tell her. “Let me show you how to use the Spray tool. You could use it to add tinsel, perhaps, or stars, or snow.”
Job done, I scoot over to help Ezra. His Father Christmas has a yellow face and blue hair, so all good children this year will have their presents delivered by Marge Simpson. That beard is fooling no-one, Marge – don’t flutter your eyelashes at me.
She said eight and I said twenty-one. Key to the door and all that. She said eight and I said eighteen then. She said eight and I said sweet sixteen. She said eight and I said thirteen. To mark becoming a teenager. Final offer.
So it was that, in the summer holiday before she started Year Six, when she was – well, nearly ten, InfantPhenomenon and I set off to get her ears pierced.