An Inspector Calls
Oh dear. Apologies for the deathly silence. I am OK. I do hope you weren't picturing my lurcher-nibbled corpse decomposing betwixt Cath Kidston sheets, surrounded by discarded Galaxy wrappers, absinthe bottles and a note scrawled on the back of my Dorothy Parker poetry anthology saying,
DAMN YOU FANNY RATS, DAMN YOU ALL!
No, I am fine. Do not concern yourselves.
After frittering my half-term holiday away on trifles (I speak literally, not metaphorically, I refer to Marks and Spencer Cherry Bakewell trifles) I was feeling rather unprepared for the School of Hard Knocks on Monday. I had, rather half-heartedly, planned my week's lessons the previous night. I managed to do this whilst watching The Killing on I-Player. The fact that The Killing is subtitled should give you a clue as to how little attention I was actually paying to the content of the lessons. I'd had many grand ambitions for my half-term holiday. I failed at all of them.
Imagine my horror when, on Monday morning, Pompous Pilate (the dreary despot of the SOHK) summoned us all to his plush office say that he had just taken THE CALL. I refer, of course, to the OFSTED call. The inspectors were visiting us on Wednesday and Thursday. I shan't bore you with details of the actual inspection. I shall just make these points,
- OFSTED inspections are intense and forensic in their detail. They examine everything. They grade everything. No stone is left unturned. It is all most stressful.
- Recent changes to the way OFSTED assess schools mean that now, ultimately, a school is only as good as its last year's test results. SOHK results were dire (only 50% of our Year 6 reached the required levels for literacy and numeracy. The government target is 80%).
- The consequences of failing an OFSTED are severe.
'They could call into classrooms at any time. You'll have to write detailed lesson plans for every lesson while the inspectors are in and make sure every lesson is inspiring and creative. One of you will have a double inspection, with me and the lead inspector. Miss Underscore, that will be you. I'll try and swing it that we watch a literacy lesson, eh? I know it's your favourite subject. Err. . . you won't be including any severed heads this time will you? Best not, best not eh?'
They did indeed come in to my English class. It all went very well indeed. Sadly, the overall rating of the school was not great. SOHK just scraped through with an 'average' rating. The way schools are graded is deeply unfair. It assumes all children have equal chances and opportunities in life, and assumes all schools compete on a level playing field. Neither is true.
Anyway, I did snigger to hear that Pompous's own leadership had just been rated as 'satisfactory'. He he he! I wonder if this will temper his outrageous arrogance and sanctimony. I am just pleased the whole thing is over. We won't have another inspection for 3 years. I think, quite frankly, it will take me 3 years to get over this one.
Not So Great Expectations
I have dipped my ballet pump back in the sordid waters of internet dating. I do not, for one moment, think that I will meet the swarthy rogue of my dreams there. I have been, quite frankly, appalled at the standard of ne're do wells that I appear to be attracting. This is a breakdown of my top interweb wooers, thus far. I promise you, dear readers, these are all (tragically) 100% true.
1. A man with the nom de plume BaldingGoth. Tempting as it is to revist the 1980s and hang around a municipal war memorial with a straggly haired man in a floor length leather coat, I think I shall pass.
2. A gent who wooed me with the winning line
'I have been debt-free for 3 years.'
That's more than I have little fella! However, I need more than that from a partner. I want to be overwhelmed by a intense intellectual and sexual connection. So overwhelmed that I fail to notice the fact that my beloved is actually a cold and controlling cunt, who spends his time watching Top Gear whilst making pointed comments that decimate my fragile self-worth.
3. Daz from Northumbria seduced me with his profundity and his ability to play fast and loose with the spellchecker,
'Hello gorgus how u duin'
No thank you Daz. And that goes for every other man in his 30s and 40s who still refers to himself Daz/ Jaz/ Baz/ Chaz or twatting Spaz.
4. George (a meter reader) from Durham. George, you hypnotised me with your first picture. You looked like Daniel Day Lewis. Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans (not My Left Foot). Then I clicked on your second picture. You looked like Moe from The Simpsons. George, you embody the dictum 'less is more'.
5. Steve, also from Durham, you look like Fred West. However, your dog (a basset hound) is adorable. Can I date him instead?
Similarly, a rather attractive lawyer 'winked' at me. I eagerly checked out his profile, he had posted a snap of his two horses nuzzling each other in a wintry meadow. I was momentarily charmed. Then suspicious. He didn't mention any horses in his profile. He lived in a riverside flat in central Newcastle. He has no horses! They were stunt horses! Horses for display purposes only. Downloaded from Google Images, probably. The slippery cove!
6. A gentleman writes to me, specifying, he is looking for a lady who can cook corned beef pie and wire a plug. (Honestly, would I make this stuff up? COULD I make this up?)
7. Tommy. Tommy, you are 19 years old. You are gorgeous but what, in the name of Sam Taylor Wood, are you doing hitting on 40 year old primary school teachers on the internet? I have knickers older than you.
8. A scientist. Wooo Hooo! A man with a decent job, sound the klaxon!! This boffin works in a laboratory, no less. I hopefully read his email,
'I have a gud job working in the lab of a Walkers crisp factory.'
Oh dear. The Nobel Prize for Science has never, as far as I am aware, been awarded for services to the potato based snack industry. Mind you, this man has very obvious fringe benefits. (Have you tried the new Walkers Extra Crunchy?) I could put up with a man with cheesy fingers if he could satisfy my compulsive need to nibble.
9. A silver-haired fanny rat. A man who is the DOUBLE of Mad Men's louche, chain-smoking, vodka-necking Roger Stirling 'winks' at me. Darn it. Why couldn't it have been Don Draper?
10. Two chaps deserve a mention for choosing the most unsuitable dating nom-de-plume's, firstly there was Question Mark. I expect the cove was aiming for enigmatic 'secret agent' with his choice of name. He was actually a BNP supporting taxi driver.
Deep Thinker, I expected great things from Deep Thinker's email. I had my Oxford English Dictionary and Philosophy for Dummies at the ready. Consequently, I was slightly disheartened to read,
'Hi, chilly this morning innit?'
11. A man who calls himself 'assman', who 'used to work in a kitchen in Blackpool' and who looks like Roy Chubby Brown. A tempting offer, but, no thank you, sir.
12. Dearest Frankie47 I think we have something in common. I can tell just by looking at you. That golden and ethereal glow to your skin, don't deny it, you're wearing Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick aren't you? In 'Bronze', if I am not mistaken. In my opinion, real men only require a brisk rub down with soap, sandpaper or some sort of Black and Decker device. No man of the male gender will ever share my Shimmer Bricks. Never.
So, there you are, dearest readers, a very sorry gaggle of gigalos, I think you'll agree. I have not been tempted to even reply to any of them, let alone arrange a date. Please, do tell about your own interweb dating experiences. Please tell me I am not the only player in this desolate theatre of the absurd.