Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Fanny Ratto

I think that’s it for summer. It depresses me that we teachers get our long break in August. It’s a very ‘bleuuuugh’ month. These are the Miss Haversham days of summer, everything feels tired, faded and dusty. Nights are drawing in and mornings have a Narnia-like chill. There aren’t even any wild flowers left in the hedgerows. And, if you’re prone to mordant introspection and despair, as I am, then you will spend the month either in mourning for the fresher, prettier days of June, or wrestling feelings of inadequacy because you haven’t had a Bardot summer sipping champagne cocktails on the Cote de Azure with Alain Delon. Christ. Even Rochester has been to Italy. I am uncertain as to whether the trip was for work (European peg selling convention) or pleasure (European fanny-ratting convention). I was hoping to see some nice, touristy pictures: Rochester ‘holding up’ the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Rochester grappling with the Venus de Milo’s breasts, Rochester eating a pickled egg in the Sistine Chapel. However, the swarthy rogue has pissed me off. It is bad enough that I have to endure only terse, Pinter-esque, one-line emails from the scoundrel, but his last one was about football. This is what it said. Unedited. In it’s entirety. I kid you not.

I'm in Italy at the moment - just gone online to check out the football scores. Can't believe we are off to such a bad season.

Words fail me. Although, not quite as badly as they obviously failed him. I am beginning to suspect Aunty Margaret was indeed correct: he is still married/involved and just wants to meet up occasionally for a quick, nostalgic shag and a slice of homemade cake. Thank Christ I said no.

Anyway, the advent of autumn does signify two joyful things. Firstly, it heralds freedom from the tyranny of the ‘Bardot summer’ myth. Never mind Bardot. I don't think my summer even warranted a Diana Dors rating (not unless Dors spent her summers sewing cushion covers from charity shop curtains). Secondly, autumn brings a blissful reunion with knitwear and black opaque tights. I love knitwear and black opaque tights. This would be even more blissful if I could afford an autumnal shopping trip: autumnal shopping is the most enjoyable of all: cashmere jumpers, winter coats, scarves, gloves, scented candles, hot water bottles, suede boots, spooky, atmospheric novels for fireside nights in. Sigh. If only.

Now. McFireman. Something of a turn-around. He is being rather nice to me at the moment. Compliments are coming my way. It is true, McFireman, my beauty is indeed a cross to bear. What does it say of me though, that I appear to be more at ease with insults than compliments? McFireman is retiring soon. He has just sent me a list of his plans for retirement. I shall come to that in a moment. My own retirement plans include:

  • lots of napping, pottering and loafing
  • smoking rose-petal cigarettes from a silver cigarette holder
  • keeping only gin, red lipstick and Anais Nin books in the fridge
  • dining solely on Mr Kipling French Fancies and curry chip butties
  • looking like a cross between Tallulah Bankhead and Bette Davis
  • wearing a uniform of Sicilian black lace, fox-fur, red shoes and an eye-patch
  • scaring small children by waving an ivory walking stick at them
  • swearing like a navvy
  • embracing some creative outlet like life-drawing (or modeling), burlesque dancing or erotic haiku poetry
McFireman's retirement plans include:

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro
  • Trekking to Everest base Camp
  • Hiking through the Andes and visiting Machu Picchu
  • Skiing to the Geo-magnetic North Pole...followed by North Pole then South Pole
  • Cycling across Canada
  • Swimming Le Manche
Dear God. I think I'd rather keep working than face a retirement like that! (Although, it could be argued that working at the School of Hard Knocks is more dangerous than all of McFireman's 'Milk Tray man' stunts combined.) If I were McFireman (and had his vast, fat-cat public sector pension) I would buy a gothic castle by a loch, drink whisky, smoke cigars and wear a lot of tweed. Oh, and I'd embrace traditional country pursuits like hunting and shooting. Not grouse. Not pheasant. Not deer. Oh no. I'd shoot fanny rats! Hundreds of them! That truly would be a glorious 12th!

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