Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Berkshire Hunt

Windows are temptatious to me. Whenever I see a window with people behind it I like to do something stupid.

As a young man I used to buy cream cakes and walk excitedly to Pizza Express in Reading. It was a great big restaurant with absolutely ENORMOUS windows. I would stuff as much of the cream cake as I could into my mouth (usually all of it) then chew it with a wide open mouth and a vacant expression on my face, staring into the window. People often stopped with their forks held up to their mouths.

Yesterday another window opportunity presented itself. I was in the toilet at school, about to leave, and I could hear the sonorous tones of my head teacher. He has a remarkably deep and resonant voice, which seems to be in tune with the fabric of the school. The walls hum with pleasure as he speaks. This humming transmitted itself to me as I gently pissed into the toilet. I remembered that there was a senior leadership team meeting going on in his office.

The head's office is a bit like a goldfish bowl on the outside of the school. It has a lovely big window and I have to make a conscious decision every time I pass by it - will I give a cheery wave, or will I rock seriously into school as if I am too busy to waste my time or as if I deeply respect the head's need for some privacy? It is a tough call but I usually judge things just right.

Anyhow, last night I could hear the meeting ambling along as I was about to leave and I thought of a great idea.

I left the building and tiptoed over to the window, then leant my ear against it, pretending to eavesdrop. The plan was for everyone to laugh whilst I shouted "night everyone," and walked off confidently.

Instead, I looked up to see the head staring disgustedly at me, with bugged out eyes and a wide open mouth. Two of the three other senior managers looked similarly irritated with me. Only one of them was amused, and she appeared to be suppressing this amusement rather than roaring out loud.

Realising that my plan had backfired somewhat I knew that the only step to take to save myself would be to apologise profusely to everybody and try to make amends. Bearing this in mind, I pretended to look really shocked that they had found me listening, turned and ran off as fast as I could, not stopping until I reached the car.

At home I had to break the news to Polly that I was probably going to get another bollocking in the morning. She was remarkably sympathetic.

Nobody referred to the incident this morning. Phew.

Oh my, don't they just say the funniest things...

From child's practice SAT:

Name 2 things that all living things do.

1. Reproduce

2. Lose Teeth

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Happy Pesach

I've got a bit of a matzo tummy at the moment. I feel a bit heartburny. I had lots of matzo last night between the end of the service and supper. I dipped it in Charoset...

(Recipe for Nana's Charoset

1 cup of walnuts
1 granny smith green apple
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. sugar
red wine to moisten

Chop the nuts and apples to the consistency you want (a food processor can be used). Sprinkle with spices, and moisten with wine. The texture of the charoset should remind us of the mortar used by the slaves to build.

Keeps three days in refrigerator - stolen from a website but if you put charoset into google and link to the second link - maybe I should relent on rule 3 and allow links to sites that have adverts, but don't actually sell stuff themselves - this is a good time to debate this - what would Rabbi Akiva do?)

... a lot and ate too much of that before supper started. Then I had matzo balls in my soup. Then, this morning, I had loads of matzo brei - a crazy amount. I resolved to pack in the matzo whilst walking around the park.

Then I got home and had some matzo with butter and marmite, then some more matzo with butter and marmite, then a piece of matzo with salmon and cream cheese, then some matzo with cheese, then some matzo and butter and marmite and finally a piece of egg matzo with benocol and marmite, as I was now beginning to fear for my heart.

Then I went to sleep until 6.45.

My favourite part of the seder was the Marror, the bitter herb. We use freshly grated horseraddish. I always ask Dad for a really big Marror sandwich every year, and do loads of macho posturing before I eat it. Every year the whole table (which this year included all the family + Jason and Paul and Uncle Bernard) laughs when Dad loads up the Marror, and I pretend that it is nothing to me. In fact, I think it is nothing at all while I am waiting to eat it.

After the blessing I ate the Marror and every time I chewed I thought my brain was going to erupt through my nose. It was a very funny feeling and I laughed a lot. My family all laughed at me too. I suppose it is funny to watch a 33 year old man convulsing involuntarily, with snot and tears running down his face, especially when that man has been childishly bigging it up for about 5 minutes beforehand.

Ela was given a trampette for her birthday this year by someone who remembered to give her a present. I thought that it would be a very good idea to try it out after a supper of lots of matzo, chicken soup with matzo balls, roast chicken, roasted vegetables and stuffing, fruit salad and a wet nut, dried fruit and cocoa fridge cake.

The family all gathered around to watch me as I started jumping. Jason said something about how it would get a bit boring after 10 minutes, so I determined to jump up and down on it for 10 minutes to demonstrate how much fun it could be.

The family began to take the piss out of me as I jumped up and down. At one point they encouraged me to do different movements so I tried some alarming disco moves. Ela caught Uncle Bernard looking genuinely aghast at this point which was hilarious, and once again I found myself hysterically laughing, with a stitch and 7 more minutes of jumping to go.

At 9 minutes Ela said "Wait 'till you get off," and I realised that it was going to be horrible, like the first time you get off a treadmill. This started me laughing uncontrollably again. Eventually I summoned up the courage to stop and I got onto the very, very hard floor. I tried to jump on the floor, but I felt like I was going to collapse.

I feel sick now just thinking about all the food and jumping and the marror experience. Typing it up has made me go a little dizzy, sweaty and nauseous.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005


2 things I have done today.

1) Put the gravy powder in the cutlery drawer.

2) Put Polly's shoe in the nappy bag.

I meant, of course, to put the measuring cup in the cutlery drawer and the nappy in the nappy bag, but in both cases I was looking at the object I wished to manipulate with another object in my hand, and performed the manipulation with the wrong object. Both times I looked down to see what I was doing and was horrified.

(Geek note - I had to put "shoe i the nappy bag" in quotation marks to get a zero return. Shoe in a nappy bag did get an image, but it was irrelevant. Go on, have a go. Must warn you though, if it is a shoe in a nappy bag you are hoping for, you will be dissapointed.)


Today an inspector is coming to ask me questions. She wants to know what I have been doing to raise the SATs levels of the children. She is a bit of a fearsome figure at the school, and I have had an anxious feeling about it all week. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I haven't been working hard enough? What if I can't answer one of her questions? The ridiculous thing is that this whole enterprise will cost the school £160 for a supply teacher, so myself and my colleague can file through and be intimidated one by one.

Here are todays adverts:

Unsulphured Organic Apricots are tasty and they have really low G.I. They make porridge taste really good, especially with sweetened soya milk.

Pumpkin seeds are delicious too.

I also did some eco nazi stuff at school in the staff meeting yesterday. I suggested that all the product we buy should be fairly traded or recycled when possible. To my suprise and delight everyone said Yes, Yes, Yes.

Assembly is finished. My children are coming in. I spilt coffee on someone's reading diary. I have forgotten to photocopy the mental maths questions for today. Whoops. Oh well, I'll wing it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Rules

1) No more blogging about product. No more free adverts and viral marketing.

2) No more pictures of logos or brands unless it's been jammed.

3) No more links to any sites that sell.

Stick it to the man.

4) No more catchphrases.


On Monday I came home early from school and went to Tesco to do the shopping. At Tesco I asked a girl why all the fairtrade coffee was on the bottom shelf and all the Nestle was right in my face.

She shrugged at me and said "I dunno,".

I asked her if she could move it up higher so that people could see it and she said "I dunno, I only been working here one week,"

I asked her if she knew someone who could move it up higher and she shrugged her shoulders and said "I dunno, I only getting work experience from language school,"

Then she carried on stacking her shelves.

On her own.

Why are the language schools sending students to Tesco on work experience? It must be to get experience of speaking English.


I did a job like this once, sweeping a factory floor. I walked out after 1 hour. It's kind of torturous to come to the UK to learn English and then be stuck stacking shelves isn't it?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The internet DJ

Guardian Unlimited | Online | The internet DJ

Great article about mp3 blogging.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Monday, April 11, 2005

A B C, Airway, Breathing, Christ, what was the third one again, oh shit, Alfie's just died. I really hope that none of the children in my class drown this year. We always get given this scary lecture in resus in the summer term, because the swimming pool comes back into use in the summer term.

The lecture is nasty in two ways. Firstly the instructor keeps saying things like "nothing to worry about," "same as last year basically," and then he talks through how to save someone's life really, really fast, as if he has to get to the pub. Then we put each other in the recovery position.

Those of us of a four eyed persuasion always make the same funny joke about not being able to see when we come around without our glasses on, as we have been warned to re-assure the person we are nursing that they have had their glasses removed. Apparently it can be traumatic to wake up blind.

After this we have to breathe into a plastic child's mouth and pretend that the child has vomited and shows no signs of circulation.

The second reason why this scares me is that if a child in my care did die, I would be held responsible and the council could wash their hands of me, having now fulfilled their responsibilities by providing adequate training.

A man came to our door tonight. He smelled a bit like he had been drinking strong alcohol. He had some bags and said he was waiting for a bus, but none was coming, could I call a taxi for him. I said "Sure," and called Panther Taxis on 715715. When I went out to tell him that a taxi was coming he started going on about 20 quid, luggage, 10 quid, a mate and a court restraining order.

10 minutes later there was a ding dong. It was the taxi driver. His customer had vanished though. Fair play to him he took it all very well, and shrugged it off quite happily, so now I will use Panther Taxis all the time and advertise them too. That's Panther Taxis.

But who was this man? Why did he run away? He really had two big bags. I enjoyed shitting Polly up by imagining aloud the smashing of the window or him jumping around a corner at us, and I pretended to think he was a child murderer. This was a bit of a stupid thing to do though, because Polly then told me she wanted me to check to see if he was lurking in the side entrance. This really shit me up too, and I ended up creeping around the outside of the house with a screwdriver in my hand. I'd just put up Mick's cot, so my weapon was to hand. I thought my assailant would be so terrified of me tightening them up that he'd flee. There was no-one there. I think he just caught the bus.

When I looked at this photo I thought "Oh, perhaps I am not fat, perhaps I just have a mental illness which makes me look fat when I look in the mirror,"

More worrying is that I should be thinking "Look at this cool guy with his double buggy and two lovely children," Instead I am checking myself out. I'm wildly narcissistic at the moment.

This photo was taken after lunch at the Cambridge Blue pub. It is fantastic. Great food, great beer, great graveyard behind pub. I heard a small boy bullying his sister, telling her not to go in the graveyard or she would die like all the others in there. I asked him if he thought all the people in the graveyard died in there. He said probably only about ten.

Many people here in Cambridge rock the Sturmey.

93 Gwydir Street

I didn't go on the grass.

From the hip...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Eric Conveys an Emotion

Eric Conveys an Emotion

Ha Ha Ha, really.

What a foul and monstrous afternoon...

I watched some of it, and took some pictures. My sentiments went something like this...

Bambi and Panto Nazi.

Liz and her pet racist bigot boy.

Fuck you baldy Phil Collins and Argos boy credibility vacuum.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Lucky Boy

The other day I guessed that the photo in Paintbox Jury was Easter by Patti Smith. Look what I won...

Alright, but Miriam has already got it, and I've got all their lp's anyway so a bit pointless. Elly likes Lucky Star, she sings "You cockney cows, jump up jump up."

Not good.

Who? What? Why?

I hate winning shit stuff in competitions because I then think that I won't win anything from the good ones. Other shit stuff I've won in the past have been tickets to see a disco shakespere play - didn't even go and "ready when you ready" a v. bad reggae compilation. However, I did once win a trip on a helicopter which they let me swap for £300 because I was going to Nepal on the day the trip was scheduled. That was definitely not shit.

Polly's was even worse. I opted out of the chips.

Cutting edge, forward thinking? No, disgusting nutrient free swill at the Science Museum Restaurant, Manchester, That's the Science Museum Restaurant, Manchester.

They still didn't bloody eat it.

50p prize for best suggestion.

Hey Ho


If you look in the reflection you can see a traffic warden walking his dog.


Here comes the...

Healthy Meal.

I am going to lead the school in their healthy eating initiative, but I was woken up last night worrying about it. It is great that Jamie is saving our children, and he has done a good job.

However, at about the same time the government stopped us from serving home cooked food to kids they started giving us processed maths lessons and literacy strategies to teach with. Now, every year group except year 3, has 32 weeks of lesson plans written out on a daily basis for us to recite.

Reheat, serve - Jamie's not gonna come and save our classrooms from processed teaching though. Who will be our celebrity saviour allowing us to deliver a curriculum of substance and quality to the children? Their educational experience is presently as anaemic and bland as this piece of shit above, and is dictated to us en masse. What an almighty crock. Parents up in arms about the quality of their children's food whilst the quality of the lessons goes unchecked and down the toilet as we get kicked around and told what to do by those who insist that they know best.

We will never stand up for ourselves. We are lost little sheep bleating in the wind. Tony Blair must love Jamie Oliver. In the same kind of way that he must have loved Dr Kelly. Lets avoid any real blue skies and announce our huge cash spend for the kiddies tummies. It all ends up as shit.

Congrats to the fully clothed porn queen for her front page Londonistic styling.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I've been to the cinema everyday for the last 3 days.

First I went to see Downfall. This was a cheerful movie about some guy in world war 2. Loads of the poor Nazis had feelings too and they shot themselves in the heads. Poor old Nazis. I really felt sorry for those poor old Nazi guys as they shot themselves in the heads and ate cyanide. Then I went out for a chinese buffet, but buffet was closed so I got a doner. It was nice. The doner was nice. It was on a massive pitta with green chillis. I loved it but i felt stuffed and buffed by the end. Stuffed to death. I had a bad tummy in the night but I think this was trapped windy pops.

Then I went to see Pooh's Heffalump Adventure with my daughter and her cousin and my brother in law. It was an absolute load of dogshit. It was Elly's first ever time at the cinema though, so consequently it was a memorable experience. We walked into the cinema during a Wallace and Grommit advert, and she was totally awed by the massiveness of the screen and the volume of it. She couldn't take her eyes off it, but she seemed disturbed that there was no sign of Pooh.

We walked up and sat down and I explained 20 times that Pooh would be coming a bit later. The lights went all the way down and Elly said "oooh". Then the card that says the certificate and the name of the film came up and she laughed and said "Winnie the Pooh is coming". Then the Disney logo painted itself across the screen and she cooed in appreciation. The film began with a pan across hundred acre wood, and Elly said "Winnie the Pooh coming" a few more times. Finally we flew into Pooh's tree house, panned up the bed and came to rest on Pooh.

Elly sighed as if all her dreams had come true.

Pooh was then woken by a heffalump's call, and he fell out of bed into the honey pot. Elly cried, and cried for a good 50% of the film after that. The music was too scary, she wanted her Mummy too like the lost heffalump.

She liked the film overall though and has claimed on a daily basis that she is going back to the cinema again tomorrow to see Winnie the Pooh. She'll be lucky. It cost me £9 for one measly hour of sleep.

This was good and it made me cry. It is unoriginal, following the charismatic teacher model down to the unjust sacking and uplifting leaving sequence, and it has a really poor uplifting segue when the teacher is working his charismatic magic, but the photography is excellent and it's subtitled so when you are watching it in a cinema full of screaming babies it's easy to keep with the thread.

This is a brilliant and inspiring book. As a result of it I have started reading Bruce Chatwin. How? Because I have become so fucking eco maniacal that I have found myself reading nothing but organic hemp based books and leaflets and magazines. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the rubbish dump where I found a butler sink for £10. I thought I'd bring it home and plant coriander in it and was really smug with my eco friendly recycling reusing ways. I paid my tenner, loaded it up on a trolley, dropped it, watched it smash clean in two, cut my finger on it, got enamel in my finger, walked bleeding around Tesco 'till I found a plaster, brought some organic apples, bit into one to find it tasted like water and generally thought to myself that it was time to be less intense about my organic recycled lifestyle.

So now I am reading Songlines. It's good isn't it? Suprised that it's simple to read. I thought it would be heavy and hard.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Milky Manchester

Just got back from Manchester where we all had a good time. Will show you all some more pictures tomorrow, but this had to go on straight away. It is big - 3.5 mb, but it is beautiful.

A Number