"I have bought 'The Tweed'. IT WORKS pet. This chubby lass draped herself round me last night, like a musky fox fur."
Rochester has upgraded his Old Spice for some of JFK's favourite aftershave: Green Irish Tweed (on my recommendation). It had been a golden week for Kremlin Enterprises. He could, therefore, afford such wanton decadence.
"I am ON FIRE. My tank top must be made of Kryptonite, or sommat. £65 thousand pounds of sales this week, flower."
The dapper, Brylcreemed salesman appears to be back in the saddle after a barren few months.
"Check out the testimonials on our website, petal. We are going places!"
The Kremlin Enterprises' website: We WILL improve your home: FACT, always makes me laugh. It is ghastly.
"GOSH. I can now sleep safeter in my bed, all tanks to Kremlin Enterprises" Mr and Mrs Smith, Bristol.
"Kremlin Enterprises' salesman was profffesional and polite. Great tank top too!" Mr Singh, Bath.
"Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Kremlin Enterprises! I will not hesitate to reccommend your fabulos company to everyone I know." Mrs Brown, Bristol.
"You made these up, Rochester!"
"Nope. They are 100% genuine customer comments."
"Well, you might want to check the spelling. Your customers are illiterate."
"Aye. That's the beauty of it. How do you think we get them to sign the contract, like? I've bought a new shirt too, as well as 'The Tweed'. I'm going to look fucking EXCLUSIVE. Hang on. I'll send you a pic."
Reader. To be truthful, Rochester (at times) has a truly atrocious dress sense. This is a man who recently wore a lurid pink paisley shirt to a funeral. His ties are so gaudy and shiny they could be made from Quality Street wrappers. I was not optimistic I would approve of this shirt. I was right to be concerned.
A white collar on a striped shirt? It reminded me of something a boorish Tory MP or braying city type would wear. Tony Benn (a veritable icon of sober and modest masculine style) would never wear such a flash and spivvy garment.
'Alan B'Stard rang, Rochester. He wants his shirt back.'
Later, Rochester treated me to one of his films. (The rogue occasionally records moments of his day to send me). How I wish I could post the footage here, but I would never be forgiven. THIS was a classic. It showed the fanny rat king speeding down the M4 in his Vauxhall of venality, his Brylcreem reaching Exxon Valdize levels of lubriciousness, sunglasses glinting in the watery Spring sunlight. The natty oaf was dancing, nay, PRANCING to a jaunty jazz soundtrack. He was jutting violently about in his seat, like a camel with Parkinson's disease. Every now and then an arm would unexpectedly flail out, as if the tat salesman was being tasered by the tank-top police. The rogue freestyled several moves of note: stern Miss Jean Brodie finger-wagging at the rear-view mirror, imaginary horn honking and rheumatic shoulder shimmying. Picture Ed Balls, three sheets to the wind on Tio Peppe, at the Labour Party Christmas shindig, and you'll get the picture. (I told Rochester he looked a bit like Ed Balls this week. It didn't go down too well, actually.)
It is my birthday next Saturday, I am hoping for another film. I have requested a Through the Keyhole style documentary about the cad's new bachelor pad. I won't get it. I get the same thing every year. It is the ONLY predicable thing about the rogue: his birthday text at 2.50pm saying, 'Sorry. I forgot.'
School of Hard Knocks vs Mean Girl Academy
Even after 5 months, I still miss SOHK terribly. Pompous Pilate, its lumpen, beetrooty patriarch has been stalking my dreams this week, begging me to return. He WOULD take me back, you know. He has yet to fill my old job. The advert is still there on the Sunderland Council Website. There is also an advert for Deputy Head at the SOHK. Great salary. Awful job. I did consider it, but I'd be stuck in an office all day doing paperwork. I'd never get to encounter a child, let alone teach.
My new school, Mean Girl Academy is an awful, backstabbing and sinister place. We face the start of the next academic year with a shortfall of 3 teachers and 2 teaching assistants due to an incredibly high turnover of staff. (By comparison, at the SOHK, I was the first teacher to leave in 5 years). Two more of our teachers are on long-term sick. A few weeks ago, the Head showed groups of fresh-faced and shiny, newly-qualified teachers round the school, in a bit to attract some new talent. Over 100 turned up. At 5pm, she ushered a group into my classroom.
"This is Year 5. This is my Assistant Head, Miss Underscore. She's got the biggest class in the school. 34 children. All mixed ability. I don't give her a teaching assistant either, do I?"
I smile warmly at the students. Some one should, I think, show a bit of kindness to them.
"You'll see she's turned her classroom into coal mine. I expect that creativity from you mind. I expect A POUND OF FLESH, don't I, Miss Underscore?"
She stares witheringly at the students and slowly, menacingly points a pudgy finger in their direction.
"I have only been here two terms myself. But in that time, 6 members of staff have resigned or retired. That happens when I take over a school. YOU MAY READ INTO THAT WHAT YOU WILL! Now, any questions?"
There were none, of course.
The stunned and silent students were briskly ushered out of my room, their fresh and enthusiastic faces now etched with horror.
I try to keep out of the politics of the place, to be honest. I will, I think, have to put up with it for another year. It is tolerable, as I love teaching, and that makes up 90% of my time. This was a bad move though. A dreadful move. Ironically, I heard this week that Pompous is about to make an ex-colleague Assistant Head at SOHK. Had I stayed, that would have been my job, for sure. As with so many things in life, my timing has been lousy.
Still, my class and I are enjoying a topic on East Durham coalmining at the moment. And I am reading them Born to Run. Here are some examples of my class's pitman painters artwork. We are making a life-sized colliery banner next week. That will be a challenge. I can't sew. Neither can they. We'll then have our own Durham Big Meeting, complete with brass band music, speeches about socialism, marching, banner-waving and ham and pease pudding sandwiches. Michael Gove bleated on a few months ago about the 'defeatism' in East Durham schools (like mine). I feel I should invite him along. He would no doubt be aghast, and usher in his curriculum reforms even sooner. By 2014, such local history projects will be a thing of the past. We'll all be back to teaching the Kings and Queens of England by rote. Pease pudding outlawed. Whippets euthanised. Flat caps binned.
This miner has forged a very close relationship with his hound. No wonder he looks a little flushed.
This was my favourite.