Friday, September 29

Back To School (Part Two)

The pencils are now blunted, shirts smeared with Quink,
The staff in the Sixth Form near driven to drink,
What could go wrong has, I.T. in a mess,
No printing, no log-ons, and yet I confess,
Throughout all the chaos and tearing of hair

I quite enjoyed the chaos really. The last week has been mad at work. Computer Problems. Computer Booking System problems, Printing Problems, Student Log-in Problems… If I could play blues guitar I would be set up for life…

I think what I really like about my job is helping people, and when this many things go pear-shaped I get plenty of practice. Throw in a quick chest infection and some home pickling and you have my last 2 weeks in a nutshell. Or a pickle jar.

Of matters acetic, I will write more soon.

Monday, September 18


Or, of course, the torn-off fragment of an envelope printed with a John Bull printing kit could be a an MI5 plot to smear Islamic fanatics......

What's that Harry?....


Saturday, September 16

John Bull Returns

The item below was found this afternoon attached to a bus stop in Rock Street, Finsbury Park. About 100 metres from the mosque at which Abu Hamza used to "preach".

A great contribution to religeous tolerance methinks...

Wednesday, September 13

Another Opening, Another Show…

Traffic is getting heavier in the mornings. WH Smith has bogoffs on cartridge pen refills. Young parents curse as the needle stabs them for the third time, blood shedding on the Cash’s Name Tape.

It is “Back to School” time, with or without exclamation marks.

In my Sixth Form College the quiet rhythmn of the summer months has slowly speeded up. Course guidance, followed by enrolements. More enrolements, Emergency frantic Late Enrolements. Finally, today, Timetable De-clashing.

This is, at its simplest, twenty tutors locked in a room with 200 students until someone gives in and solves the problem of needing to be in two different places at the same time for different courses. Unlike an infinite number of monkeys, the tutors have never reproduced the works of Shakespeare, but they always get the timetable sorted out in the end.

In the library we have been quietly moving, sorting, polishing and laminating. Lots of laminating. (Though not quite as much as the Great Laminating Fever of A Few Years Ago. This epidemic of en-plasticisation was brought on by an imminent OFSTED Inspection. In an effort to impress, any piece of paper larger than bog roll was laminated. When the sun shone whole corridors glinted. Eskimo glare shields were hastily improvised. Those of us in charge of Stationery started dealing in Laminate Futures. It is believed one of the older members of staff was laminated where they stood…)

We are ready for tomorrow, when our new students arrive. This year’s cycle is about to begin again.

Stay tuned for more on this channel…

Sunday, September 10

Hunting Up-date 2

I suppose this could be termed "Nature red in tooth and paw". Shortly after Mr T. bagged the pigeon yesterday he turned up on our patio with pink on his paws and a distinct smear of blood on his innocent little face.

"Pigeon? What Pigeon??"

If You Go Down to the Woods Today...

We are currently slap bang in the middle of Organic Food Fortnight. As part of the celebration Gillespie Park Nature Reserve played host to a Green Festival. Like at many of these events the majority of the people at the festival appeared to be white, middle-class, muesli-knitting cyclists of the vegetarian persuasion.

There was much Tofu to be had, and most of the sausages on sale were "sausages", the quotation marks holding together a paste of lentils and chickpeas.

My wife and I were prepared for this.

But Not THIS...

Yes. Morris Men. Alive and Whacking Their Sticks Together!

Surely the future of Organic Food in England is Safe in Their Hands...

Saturday, September 9

Hunting up-date

A kerfuffle of magpies and crows in the garden let us know that Tigger was indeed on the hunt.

A squeal of "UUUR, he's got a bird!!!"

from our next door neighbour's daughter confirmed that Mr T. had struck again.

A squab pigeon had obviously ventured too far from home. We are hoping Mr T. finishes it off fairly soon, before the little girl next door revises her opinion about how cute cats are.

Jam Today!

The "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" is almost upon us. The leaves on our overshadowing lime trees are rustling audibly, making us think it is raining when there is just a gentle breeze.

"Fruitfulness" today is provided by three carrier bags full of Damsons, freshly picked by The Phantom's Phantom-Sister-In-Law from darkest Stoke Newington. Added to the apples plucked from the tree overhanging my mum's garden (Tufnell Park), and we have an afternoon of jam making to enjoy.

The sun is shining, our Communal Cat is hunting in the undergrowth. Time to start preserving for the short days and long nights to come...