Friday, December 09, 2005


Wow - this is some of the most incisive educational journalism I've ever seen...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


This is a car.

I got this very car.

It stinks of dog.

This is a dog.

I did not get this dog.

If I had, it would stink of car.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Lie In

I woke up and didn’t go for a run and went back to sleep. I got out of bed at six o’ clock. I had a shower. I went downstairs to look at the washing, but it didn’t seem quite dry, so I went back upstairs and tried to put on my purple shirt. My purple shirt has been lying on the floor all weekend, so it was really crumpled. This would have necessitated ironing the shirt before going to work in it. I didn’t want to do any ironing so I put on my tracksuit bottoms.

Now all I had to do was find a t-shirt with an adidas logo. I have three t-shirts with adidas logos that I have purchased for wearing to school on p.e. days. I found all three at the bottom of the red washing basket in the kitchen.

I decided not to wear any of these dirty and stinky shirts. Instead I found a big green t-shirt and wore that. I put on my yellow adidas track suit top to wear with it and relaxed about what I would wear to school. There was no need to worry about what I was going to wear, because I was wearing it. All except my trainers, but I knew that I would be wearing them, so I wasn’t tense about that.

I then had to decide what to eat. I should have eaten a bowl of porridge with an apple. Instead I ate 5 pieces of toast with margarine and marmite and red Leicester cheese.

Then I put some lentil and tomato soup in a transparent blue plastic box and walked out of the door with my keys in my hand.

I got into the car, which smells of dog and magic tree and another really horrible air freshener which was hanging on the air vent when we purchased the car.

The new car no longer has loads of dog hair all over it, because I spent 3 hours vacuuming it at the weekend and then drove up and down with all the windows open on Sunday morning from 7 o’ clock until 9 o’ clock.

That was great fun because the usually locked up Cambridge roads were totally empty which meant I could drive around really fast until I set off a speed camera. I am already on 8 points. Maybe I can get an ASBO?

It still smells of dog despite the ASBO so this morning I drove to my local supermarket to buy some febreeze. I got the idea of buying febreeze off my friend Julie. I said to her “Julie, you’ve got dogs, how do I get rid of the smell of dogs?” and she instantly said “Febreeze” in the tone of somebody who knows all about getting rid of the smell of dogs.

I waited until the supermarket opened and ran in and got Febreeze and ran out and sprayed it all over my car and opened the windows and drove to school and froze gently.

I walked into my classroom, placed my lentil soup on my desk and spoke to my trim trail team teacher about what we would teach today. We decided that after play we would go into the hall to run through the Christmas play.

I then went to myself a cup of coffee. My cafetiere was on my desk so I had a cup of chamomile tea instead.

I was slightly excited that Ollie has got the loudhailer sorted. We now have a loudhailer that we can wear around our heads Madonna / Gym Class Leader style to shout at the kids with during P.E. lessons, and Ollie was using it to usher the children in like a goatherd.

He has only purchased value batteries for it though, so it’ll only work for 5 minutes and then it’ll get put into a cupboard along with the megaphone and only get dug out for sports day.

The children file in. I read out their names in the register and only mark one absent child in. Luckily there is a note in the register telling me that she is absent, so I turn a / into an O and then send the register back, neglecting to write a note to say that one of the children in my class is absent and that his house should be phoned in case he has been abducted.

Later on my Teaching Assistant asks me where that child is and I tell her to go to the office and tell them that he’s not at school and she comes back and tells me that he is not at school because he has had an asthma attack. Phew.

After the register I tell the class all about Samuel’s heart operation, and we discuss how he is great now, totally back to normal, but how we’ve got to all look out for him in the playground and tell an adult if his lips go blue or if he gets breathless. The I send him around the school with the aforementioned teaching assistant to spread the message re: blue lips and breathlessness.

We have an interesting assembly where the Head makes us all laugh by postulating the idea that chimpanzee’s might say “after you” in posh accents.

After assembly I discuss the nativity play with my class. We then split for Literacy where we try to learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction books by looking at lots of books and making piles of fiction and non-fiction books, then looking at all the non-fiction books and listing the common features in small groups, then coming together as a whole class and mind mapping the common features of a non-fiction book. I try to take photos of the children as they are doing their book analysis but I have left my compact flash card at home. These are seven year olds.

After playtime where take Mick out to look at my new car and smell the dog and discuss Febreeze and then squeeze in a cup of coffee we go into the hall and ask the children to run through the Christmas play for the first time. It is hair pullingly frustrating but my trim trail team teacher does a lot of caring and sharing and I do some crowd control.

I take one child out to the playground and make him really shout at me over and over again until I have proved that he can shout. I then get him to stand on the other side of the playground and shout at me. Once he has done this and I am happy with the volume of his shouting I ask him to accompany me back to the hall and tell him that this is what I expect of his performance.

We return to the classroom for 5 minutes of the most boring game in the world called heads down thumbs up – type it into google if you want to know more. I tell the children that they are last into lunch, they groan and then I send them out.

I eat my lentil soup. One person says “that smells like porridge.” One person says “that looks nice,” One person says “that one’s not home made,” – the same person says “looks nice, tastes disgusting,” another person says “that looks nice David, what is it?”

We then discuss fireworks and getting hurt and safety and battery reared children and playing out for the rest of lunchtime. The head teacher brings in a cup of my tea which has gone really mouldy and tries to make me look at it, but I refuse. It has been in the library for at least 2 months now, and I can imagine what it looks like. He is disgusted with me.

I go outside to show Ollie my new car but don’t show him the smell of dog. He then uses his new loudhailer Madonna mic to call the children in from lunch again, and tells us all how cool it is. I call him names and then take the children in.

In the afternoon we do some reading, then look at pictures of children putting forks into plug sockets and discuss whether this is a good thing or not. The children then write explanations of why this is unsafe in their books.

Finally I read George’s Marvellous Medicine for half an hour, staring at the clock every thirty seconds.

At three o’ clock the head teacher hands me today’s complaining email from a parent who is unhappy with me for telling her child off. I check it out, hand it back to the head, say something to him about it which I’m not going to share with you all here, then run off to my car.

I open up the car door and am disgusted. It now smells of Dog, Air Freshener and Febreeze. I drive home with the windows open until my ears get all cold.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Trim Trail

We have some wooden hurdles at the school. You'll have seen them if you've ever been to a council run park which has an "adventure element" to it. They are low set and brown. Quite thick, and very dull looking. They are spaced around the field and hopefully referred to as the "trim trail".

Yesterday was unseasonably sunny and my team teacher said to me "It's such a lovely day, I don't want to do Gymnastics, I think I'll take the kids outside to use the trim trail"

I said "Not the flippin' trim trail, we're supposed to be doing football" but secretly I wanted in on the trim trail action.

I don't really like football. I don't really know how to teach it. I usually do a couple of complicated exercises with a hoop and some balls and stare off at the horizon, aching for three o' clock.

The trim trail seemed like a good alternative.

I gave the Trim Trail some more thought. I wasn't really too sure what the Trim Trail was. Maybe it was more than just a bunch of logs dotted miserably around the field. Perhaps the Trim Trail had a deep allure for the children. After all, wasn't Team Teacher excited about it?

Team Teacher is quite sporty, and certainly gets much more excited about teaching sport and p.e. than I ever do, so I got excited.

Maybe the Trim Trail was the future of P.E. lessons, one of those activities that I could keep up my sleeve for the hard times when failure closes it's deathlike claws around the brains of my class, when they become zombie eyed and lacklustre, when every request for a spelling summons a frustrated cry from my desk, maybe then I could slap down my hands and shout "right everybody, lets do the trim trail" and the children would throw their books in the air and shout "yay, trim trail, trim trail, trim trail, trim, jump it like a monkey, better than the gym"

As we collected our children after lunch, I sidled up to team teacher. "You know the trim trail?"

"Oh, now you want to do the "flippin' trim trail" do you? I thought you were supposed to be doing football,"

"Yes, I am a dick. Sorry. Now, about the trim trail, what do I do with it?"

"I'll send two children from my class last year to show you"

So now it's 2:14. The children have been whipped up to a frenzy by my regular screams of "trim trail" during the previous hour of doing "I am the music man, I come from far away..." and "Heads shoulders knees and toes" and "Grand Old Duke Of York".

All the way through their getting changed I've chanted the trim trail rhyme, which initially caused slight consternation, then amusement, then excitement and finally an air of indulgent boredom.

After two laps around the field, with me chanting "nearly at the Trim Trail" we arrive.

Oscar is shouting out uncontrollably. Daisy-Jo is hopping from foot to foot with a grimace on her face. Adrian is crouching down and jumping up in the air, like one of those popper spring insects we used to get at christmas. I could go on - all the children are so excited by the trim trail that they have all developed their own, special trim trail tic.

"So class, here we are, the...sorry can't hear you, the..."


The head pokes his master out of the school to see exactly what we're screaming about. "It's OK sir, we're just a little excited about the trim trail" I shout, raising my eyebrows and nodding at the class as I say "trim trail". The head frowns, shakes his head and walks back into the school.

"RIGHT CLASS, This is, indeed, the famous trim trail,"

We are standing in front of a log. It is on a couple of brackets and stands about 10 inches from the ground.

"Are you ready class? Rose and Peter will now demonstrate the MIGHTY TRIM TRAIL"

I shake my fists excitedly at my sides. Rose and Peter approach the log. I start slow clapping, the class join in. I shout at them to stop clapping and ask Rose and Peter to talk us through what we can do on this part of the trim trail.

After watching Rose and Peter wobble on one leg for about a minute I start to panic.

"What else can we do on this part of the trim trail? Put your hand down Adrian, I'm asking Rose and Peter. Rose? Peter? No? O.K. Adrian, what were you going to say?"

"You could jump over it,"

"Yes, brilliant!" I scream in a hyper excited voice. "You could JUMP on it. OK, Adrian, count to 10 for me"

Adrian starts counting and I start furiously jumping over the log, as fast as I can. I feel like Rocky but probably look like fat club. There is a problem though, Adrian is not counting in seconds, he is counting my jumps.


The class have started exchanging concerned looks at each other.


"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1"

I am jumping like a man possessed. As fast as I can. The words "Positive fitness role model" are repeating themselves inside my head. I believe that the children are staring at me in total awe, thinking "One day, I'd like to jump like that,"

I jump and jump and jump.


I eat low G.I. food. A lot of it. Most lunchtimes I eat this soup made of lentils, carrots, onions, celery and garlic. It is so thick the spoon stands up in it. When it comes out of the microwave the other members of staff laugh at me. I eat loads of it. About a housebrick's worth. It sits in my stomach. It causes dreadful and only just controllable wind.

I lose control.


Just a little one. A little zipper. The type you'd get away with on a bus, or in the hustle and bustle of cleaning up the class.

It is a perfectly still, hot day. That's why we're at the trim trail.

Every child in the class is staring at me.

In silence.

"Whoops, I seem to have gotten so excited that I farted," I say.

10 minutes later, children are still snorting to themselves as they jump over the logs, pointing at me and holding their noses and laughing out loud when I walk past them.

"Positive Fitness Role Model"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Term

I have year 3 children this year. They are seven. They crack me up. I have been teaching 11 year olds for the last 3 years and all of a sudden I am right down at the bottom of the school. I feel like a playschool presenter.

I have one child who just seems to be absolutely enchanted by school and walks around with an angelic grin on his face all the time. Yesterday we called a whole year group meeting to discuss fruit for the fruit break - at 2 o'clock we have a break to eat fruit and we have a problem with apples because some children are taking half an hour to eat them. He puts his hand up.


"If you go to the supermarket, you can get special bananas that are about this big," holds hands close together. "Most normal bananas are this big," holds hands further apart.

"That is great, would you like to tell the whole year that information?"

"Yes please,"

"O.k. - stand at the front then, and tell them,"

Now this child, lets call him Oscar, is grinning his head off. He is so proud of himself it is unbelievable. He has enormous eyes and a very high forehead, and a very high voice.

"If you go to the supermarket, you can get special bananas that are about this big," holds hands close together. "Most normal bananas are this big," holds hands further apart.

"Brilliant Oscar. Sit down now please."

All the adults in the room are biting their lips, doing their best not to start giggling and aaaaahing.

I made him cry in the first week of term by putting him into detention. He has the horrible child affliction of shouting things out as his hand goes into the air. He'd spent most of the morning doing so, and was on one warning.

"Daisy - would you like to pick the next person to talk about their special object?" I ask.

"It has to be a boy," screams Oscar in delighted anticipation that he will perhaps get the opportunity to discuss his Pokemon figure with the class.

"Oscar, you just shouted out for the second time, please come here."

He takes the walk of death to my desk. I write him out a post it note which says "Put my hand up" and a massive number 2 underneath. I sellotape this to his chest.

"You are now on 2 warnings Oscar, I really don't want you to go into 12:30 club but if you shout out 1 more time I shall have no alternative, do you understand?"

He smiles reassuringly at me "Yes, I understand Mister Trent. I won't do it again,"

"Good Oscar, go and sit down. Now, Daisy, would you like to choose somebody to talk about their special obje..."

"It has to be a boy," screams Oscar, in delighted, and, it is becoming plain, uncontrollable anticipation that he will perhaps get the opportunity to discuss his Pokemon figure with the class.

"Oh dear. I'm very sorry Oscar but I did warn you and try to help you."

Oscar smiles very bravely at me, starts nodding his head to show he understands his dreadful fate, then he breaks down and starts sobbing.

What a cruel life.

I ran home tonight. It is 10 miles. Over hills. I also cycled in. In the rain.

I got in and ate a bunch of grapes, an apple, a carrrot, some apricots, some cheese, some barley and goats cheese souffle some green beans and some broccoli. Now I have slight stomach cramps.

Flipping heck, also, I'm not really into marketing, but isn't Google Earth FANTASTIC?

We spent about 30 minutes yesterday "flying" from Linton, Cambridge to Cairo, Egypt as an introduction to our Ancient Egypt topic. I kept shouting out "Hold On Everyone" and all the kids grabbed hold of something and braced themselves, then I hit search and off we flew. Eventually I thought it would be responsible to do something slightly more relevant to the topic of Ancient Egypt, but what a blast.

If you don't have it yet, go and get it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bottom of the league

I used to be top link at fenella's website, but now I am the bottom link. What kind of shit is this? I have no funny stories to tell, nothing funny happened to me for a while, I am not in trouble at work because I am not at work at the moment. What else can I write about? I'm not allowed to tell you what is good to listen to, what is nice to watch, even though I've just seen lots of films.

Hmmmm. Nothing of note to write.

Except, maybe, one tale of woe.

In order to look hot for the wedding I did a bit of sneaky dieting. I ate lentil soup and not much else for the two weeks approaching, thought of the wedding every time I picked up a knife or fork, and was strict as can be with my Low G.I. approach in general. This meant that I ended up at 12 stone and 3 pounds on my wedding day. This is a great weight. Perfect, and it meant that I looked great.

Today, just over a month later, I am 14 stone.

What do you think of that? I think this is a pretty fantastic effort on my behalf.

How to achieve such a stunning weight loss:

1) Try to eat all the food from your wedding in less than a week.

Chopped liver goes off fast. It needs to be eaten. There was lots of it. It's about the most fattening thing in the world. We had about 20 bagels left to accompany it. All of them went in my stomach. Someone brought us a kilo of taramasalata. It wasn't even open before everybody left. Chocolate cake. Wedding cake. 4 packets of Philadelphia. Crisps. The eating went on and on and on.

2) Go to Newmarket Races and eat buffet food.

Top off the week with a visit to the races at Newmarket and try to eat as much of the buffet that all the staff club together for as can be stuffed into my mouth. Eat more at the end of the evening when returning to the car.

3) Go to France.

Oh god, France. Cheese. Brie. Comte. A special cheese made of the milk of 12 cows. Chevre. Jambon. Saucisson Sec. Sausage. Steak. Frites. Crepe. Chocolat. Croissant. Pain Au Chocolat. Coffee. Beer. Wine. Escargots. Pate.

4) Stop running in France.

There's no time to run when you are trying to eat the whole of France.

5) Return to UK, try running again. Stop again.

I have put on so much weight that my insoles gave me two enormous blisters along my arches. I developed them after 2 miles of my normal run, and then forced myself to run them in good and proper over another 3 miles. Oh, well done me. Then run another 5 on top of that the next day. Terrific.

6) Eat curry and fish and chips.

When you can't be bothered to cook, go to a take away and buy this food. It never fails to pile on the pounds.

7) Go to work do do some stuff on display.

Here is what I ate on the Saturday when I went to work:

1) King Size Snickers
2) Caramac Kit Kat
3) King Size Dairy Milk
4) Quarter Pounder with Chips and diet coke (well done on the diet coke)
5) Crispy Duck - half

Here is what I ate on the Sunday when I went to work:

1) King Size Dairy Milk
2) Packet of Chocolate Chip Cookies
3) Fry Up - Sausage, Bacon, Eggs, Fried Bread, Beans
4) Aubergine and Chick Peas + Quinoa

Just very bad form.

8) Keep going out to places with the Kids that have a lovely cafe.

Summer holidays are great. I have never had a summer holiday where I've weighed less than I went in, but this is a spectacular effort.

So yeah, that's what I've been doing over the summer. Yourselves?

Oh, and I broke my little camera.

Oh, and I blew shit all over the sensor of my big camera.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Today I was ringing up for a childminder for my daughter. This is one of those nasty jobs that we put off for so long that it becomes ridiculously titanic, but once I picked up the phone and started dialling I found it was very easy and even rather pleasurable.

Apart from the first call.

"ring, ring ring, ring ring, ri..Mreoire"

"Hello, Is that Melissa Ridgers?"


(Bit rude for a woman who has organic wholefood on offer for the little ones in a large house within walking distance)

"Hello, My name is David Trent, I got your name from Joy Strotter at the nursery, I'm looking for a childminder my two children, preferably to begin in January of next year..."

Whilst I explained this I could hear the odd sigh as I was speaking.

I was a little dissapointed in this - a rude attitude and sighing in despair as I spoke to her - what was going on? This was my first call because this woman had been hand selected for me by the woman at the nursery school. She said that this woman would suit me down to the ground, organic hippy food, child centered approach, looking after all the children as if they were her own, 3 children of her own.

She had warned me of one restricting factor but I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was.

"I'm in labour at the moment, this isn't a, pant pant, very good, sigh, time..."

Oh yeah, that was it - she was about to have a baby. 3 months ago.

"Super, good luck. Bye"

I'd have switched my mobile off.

Monday, July 04, 2005


I'm going to the supermarket in 3 minutes time to buy




Veg to go with Roast Chicken







Baked Beans

Canned Chick Peas

Other Canned Pulses

Organic Baby Rice


On Saturday I watched Live8. I liked it. I like Geldof too - as I said to Fenella, no Live Aid, no little Davo being influenced, no going to Nepal and saving the world like I did.

I liked watching the Killers, and I have been singing them all weekend. I didn't like the weirdo out of Coldplay very much. I really liked Madonna, and I've not liked her for years. I thought it was very moving when the african girl who was 10 minutes away from death was brought out onto the stage, and I nearly cried. I really liked Velvet Revolver. I din't think much of Robbie Williams or Mariah Carey or The Who - was that Zac Starkey on the drums with a shaved head or was it Kenney Jones or what who why? I didn't watch Pink Floyd. I really hate Pink Floyd. I didn't like McCartney or Keane or Travis. I liked Ricky Gervais and I listened to R.E.M. and I think they are really off the boil - how weird that they are playing so low down the bill, not in a reverse good way like Coldplay or U2, but in a fallen gods way. I enjoyed Sting. Only joking.

Summary - not as good as Live Aid, not as many U2 or Queen moments - well, no U2 or Queen moments, but a good thing. I am wearing a white armband today. If some of the kids in my class think about being good to people in Africa then that's enough for me. Then I read Stefz take on the whole thing and found out that I am wearing a sweatshop contradiction on my hand and now I'm confused and feeling a little bit guilty.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Horrible Dream

thumb stylee

Oh I had the most horrible dream. I was listening to "Brothers in Arms" and I started thinking "WOW, this is the greatest lp I've ever heard, why didn't I like it before?"

What a nightmare.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Let's Go

Click Me

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Fenella

Disco Larry

Boasting child, yesterday:

"I can shake my brain off,
I can shake my head off,
I'm gonna freak you out"

Hair Gel

The big issue of the day - Has hair gel been banned?

My personal opinion is that only curly haired people should be allowed to wear it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


"You got anyone for 12:30?" - the 12:30 monitors come round every day to get the names of the children who will be in the 12:30 detention.

The following dialogue happens every single day of my life.


"You got anyone for 12:30?"


"You got anyone for 12:30?"


"You got anyone for 12:30?"

"Please," - this is usually shouted by about 6 children near the door.

"You got anyone for 12:30 please?"


"Miss Marlowe told us to remind you that you said to put Giles in 12:30,"

"Oh, yes. Giles."


I need a new car

My car cost £50 to fill up today. That's loads of money. It's stupid. I need to cycle to school, but it's so sweaty and takes real forward planning to get clothes and shower gel at school.

Last lesson (it's my lunchbreak, my computer time is broked) a kid came up to me and said "Cwaai nat oila please?"

That means "Can I go to the toilet please?"

I said yes.

£50? Two weeks of petrol and I could buy a new mp3 player. Still, I have retitled father's day on the calender to "MP3 player X day"

That should get rid of the pic of Jagger.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Street Fighting Man

I just got a new computer. When I say just, that’s a lie. I got it about 2 weeks ago. I can’t get the wireless card in it to work. Fenella is happy about this because she couldn’t get on my wireless network a while ago, and now I am similarly inconvenienced. The crazy thing is that my ISP only charge £25 to hardwire another point through the wall so I go live on this computer on Wednesday. I can’t help the nagging doubt that by the time I get this computer online, it’ll no longer be worth having, as technology races on at such a pace these days.

I don’t want to blog about my computer though. I want to tell you a story.

Today I was driving home from work. It’s always difficult to pull up outside my house after work because it’s a main route to Addenbrooke’s hospital, and everyone is either driving there to pick up their dose of MRSA or driving back to spread it all about a bit.

I have to drive past my drive, then stop and reverse in. I usually hit my indicators nice and early and slow down, but it appears that no matter how early I do so, people always sit behind me and badmouth my driving. Today was no exception.

As I pulled up I checked in my rear view to see a pair of children in a turquoise hatchback sitting there swearing, chewing, making hand gestures and generally being very nasty and obnoxious towards me for having the audacity to attempt a parking manoeuvre outside my own house.

I know that I shouldn’t have done it, but my Neanderthal brain took over and my right hand was reaching for the door handle before I had time to engage. The next thing I knew I was standing in front of their car saying, reasonably aggressively “Perhaps you should drive a little more slowly…”

This resulted in a lot of incomprehensible garbling from the female half of the couple. I wasn’t too sure what she was saying, but luckily her male counterpart got out of his side of the car for a quick chat.

This is the moment at which I should have run away. I could have hopped back into my car and sped off. I could have pretended to get my shopping out of the boot. I could have.

Instead, somehow, I could feel that I was squaring up to him.

Hmmm. Why was I squaring up to him? Why were we now standing nose to nose? This didn’t feel good to me. This man was taller than me. He was significantly older than he appeared to be in the rear view mirror, despite his adolescently pustule decorated face. He also appeared to be rather angrier than I was, and rather more keen on physical violence than I was.

Suddenly a blinding flash of realisation hit me – the world is not an extension of my classroom. I cannot tell people off and have them say “sorry Mr Trent” and then get on with my life outside of school – it doesn’t work like that. They get cross and want to hit me. This wasn’t comedy wanting to hit me like my friends and family when I’ve been silly.

This was real wanting to hit me, like Grant Cox wanted to when he was new to the school 18 years ago, and felt he had to assert himself. Except this time I didn’t think that a well timed kiss on the lips would get me out of this situation.

I can’t remember what this man said to me. It was something about me not signalling, he saw me, he had been watching.

I blathered something pathetic about this being where I lived (well done me – presumably in case they didn’t know where to come back and post a jiffy bag full of poo through the letter box) and it being a really difficult road to stop on, and this happening every night, and how I just didn’t need the verbal, to which he replied “Don’t be stupid. I drive a fuckin’ bus on this road every fuckin’ day,”

Brilliant – can’t wait to hop on a bus next time I need to visit someone at the hospital then. He continued breathing down on me for a couple of minutes.

Now I really couldn’t figure out why I’d got out of the car in the first place. What had I been hoping to achieve? For them to say “Oh, sorry David, you are right, we are wrong, sorry we swore at you. We’ll never drive on Queen Edith’s Way again as a penance, here’s £100, please forgive us”. No. The only reason I got out was because I was childishly angry and I wanted a fight. I guess I got what I wanted then.

I didn’t know what to do. This chap obviously wasn’t averse to hitting or being hit, and he wasn’t backing down, so I started to apologise.

Except, for some reason, the adrenaline in my body prevented me from apologising in anything but the most insincere and irritating way, maintaining eye contact whilst doing so and actually closing in on my aggressor whilst so doing.

Have I gone totally insane? I’m leaning into somebody who fancies himself in a fight against me, and I’m leaning into him saying “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, really really sorry” in my best ’77 vintage Johnny Rotten on the Bill Grundy show voice. I’m also thinking to myself “I’m no longer a big, intimidating bloke, I am small now, Ollie regularly wrestles me to the other side of the hall these days,”

But I’m also, somewhere in some insane part of my brain, thinking “I can run pretty well these days, I could probably be a really good fighter. Maybe I could kick him really hard – my thighs are really muscly.”

He doesn’t do anything, so I make things even worse.

“Please don’t hit me, Please don’t hit me,” I start begging, although, once again, whilst the intent is totally sincere, I am coming across like a man asking for a fight. I seem to be unable to open my mouth without getting myself in deeper and deeper. Finally I realise that it would be a very good idea to walk away now and get back into my car. I don’t do this though, I just stand there staring at this bloke until – by some miraculous stroke of fate - he turns away and gets into his car.

I wait for them to overtake me, shooting looks of pure hate at me, and reverse into my drive. I climb out of the car, stumble into my kitchen, sit down and shake for about 30 minutes. Polly keeps trying to talk to me and I keep saying “Sorry Polly, I’m not listening to anything you’re saying,”

I don’t want to have a near fight again for a while. Maybe next time I should just have a fight and then I’d not sit around thinking how I should have hit him for 2 hours like I just have. Even if I did kick him, I was only wearing trainers – it wouldn’t have hurt so much. I could have kneed him.

Or maybe thigh’d him.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


First read this.

Then read this.

Everyone loves Kylie today.

Except me.

This is the first time I've hit blog this for a long time...

An evolving exhibition of Found Tapes

This is a great website for listening to in those "getting the paperwork done" moments.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I am letting my children do their own display boards. I have given each child half a display board and a choice of topics, and told them that I want a complete display by half term, which is next Friday. They get 30 minutes a day, plus a couple of afternoons a week. It's good for them to get some experience of totally unguided work and they are really enjoying it.

But look what Charleston and Jordy did...

Whilst I think this is hilarious, I am scared what my Head Teacher will do when he walks in and sees it. He thinks I am a bit too lowest common denominator and don't aim high enough. Should I make them change the F for a G?

Or should I just wait for the normal bollocking and then have something to blog about - yes, that's a much better idea. Expect to hear more on this one...

To C.E.O. of Supermarket X

Sent today -

Dear Sir,

Last week I brought an organic chicken from your store. When I came to cook it, 2 days before the use by date, it was stinking and dangerous.

I returned it to the store where they gave me a refund.

I was going to eat it that evening. I had to get in the car and drive to your supermarket to get something else. I had planned to eat chicken that night. My drive to the supermarket meant that I was 1 hour late to start cooking. This was too late for my family to eat. The whole situation was very inconvinient.

Whilst I was given a refund, I expected a refund and a new chicken, as Waitrose do, and as Tesco have done in the past when this happened to me. This was refused.

Why did I not get a free chicken as a gesture of goodwill? I now feel very angry with Tesco. I feel as if Tesco do not value my custom . I also wonder if Tesco will fine their supplier £25 as I have read is common practice with supermarkets, and if they will actually make a profit from the whole deal, whilst ripping off the supplier and shortchanging and inconviniencing the customer.

Yours sincerely,

David Trent

DAMN - should have been faithfully, not sincerely. Let's see what happens.

Take 10 minutes out of your day to annoy a CEO too - here's a bunch of addresses...


Got a reply:

Dear Mr Trent

Thank you for your email addressed to Sir Terry Leahy, our Chief Executive.

Please forward me your full postal address, I will ensure that Sir Terry
responds to your email in writing in due course.

Kind regards

Linda Kelly
Customer Service Executive to the Board

I sent her my full postal address. I hope they send me something nice. Maybe a suicidal chicken farmer's flat cap?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New Office

We moved the office. It is now in the front room, so I compute from in there. I was reading Fenella's foul mothed blog and tapping on "My Flickr" again and again, picking my nose and eating it, when I realised that I'm now on display to the whole street.

I hope no-one saw me picking my nose and eating it.

I'd hate for anyone to find out that I like to pick my nose and eat it.

I don't mean eat my nose, I mean eat the contents of my nose, eat my bogey, my snot, my nasal mucus.

You've all done it. You all do it. You all LOVE it.

10 minute blog

I have ten minutes to write my blog, starting from - now.

This weeek has been dreadfully boring. It is SATs week. After a year of teaching loads of really good stuff - how to write a persuasive argument - my kids wrote brilliant pro and anti windfarm and wristband arguments, how to write an explanation text, how to write mystery stories, how to write factual explanations and reports using technical language, how to use complex sentences, the difference between a compound and a complex sentence, the right way to punctuate a sentence according to the placement of the main and subordinate clause and loads of other stuff that I'd be able to list if the school caretaker wasn't standing in the doorway of my classroom shouting "Bye," and "See ya!" like a wally - where was I? Oh yes, the SATS, so after a year of all this hard, high pressure work the writing tests were...

1) Describe your favourite food - 20 minutes.

2) Write a playscript where a boy is trying to persuade his parents to let him stay up - 45 minutes.

Oh what an insult. What a monumental shift of goalposts from last years bonecrushingly difficult tests.

People who write the SATs, if you are reading this, you suck. You suck big time. I hate you all.

So, SAT's all morning, then PE for the rest of the day. Rounders this afternoon - always a bit of a hoot. 2 kids in tears and one child in a massive stroppy sulk because someone caught him out - surely that's fair? He threw his bat on the ground as hard as he could, and then, monumentally, threw the rounders bat at his team.

I bet he does it again before the end of the year.

Nothing really funny happened today. I hid Ollie's chocolate bar in my pigeon hole and we had a contest to try and spin the lid right off the coffee jar at lunchtime, but that's all a bit old hat and none of us really got into it like we used to in the olden days.

I have to go and pick up Elly from Nursery soon.

I read more about supermarkets this morning. I read all about the buyers and how they shaft the suppliers like mad in a power crazed mad menace. My sister is a buyer.

Polly brought a bottle of french wine because she'd heard on the radio that the french wine grapes are being decimated and re-planted with "industrial" grapes, whatever that is, so she thought she'd support our french friends and buy some wine from them. Reduced from £7.99 to £3.99. Good old supermarket X.

Your ten minutes are up. Please put down your pencils.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Rural Commuter At The Computer

I was disappointed to see that it was 8:04. I make it a rule to have left the house by 8:00. Between 7:54 and 8:00 is good. 8:04 means that I'm running really late. To make matters worse, I promised to fill up the green car with petrol, after the light came on last night as I pulled into our road. This is bad news. Deciding to deal with this problem later, I got on with the most important thing in the world - what will I eat today?

With mounting dissapointment I remembered that my lunch is left over carrot and coriander soup that Polly made yesterday using the first recipe we found after typing "carrot and coriander soup" into google. After blending it last night it looked thin and tasted of carrot water, so I added a pint of lentils and simmered it for 10 minutes. It then looked like this, so we sat down to eat it. At this point, Polly and I admitted to each other that neither of us like carrot and coriander soup - but at least we used all those carrots and all that coriander. I chucked 2 capfuls of tamari into it and placed it into a box. Now it looked like this...

I like this green box. I use it every day. When I say every day, I mean once a week. It was an absolute miracle that the box was in the box drawer ready to use. Usually the morning rush involves a 20 minute shout about getting the boxes sorted out. I have 4 boxes at school at the moment, so it is all my fault.

Piece of luck no. 2 - all my pocket stuff was lined up and ready to go. I must have elves.

We are running low on apples and grapefruit at the moment, but have loads of rasberries, so I decided to take a couple of punnets to munch on at work, knowing full well that they would be unsatisfyingly slight.

Other assorted junk that I needed to take - notes from a meeting, my book to read during the SATs and a cd that I got out of the library last night to listen to in the car.

I want to you to imagine me now. I have in my hands two punnets of strawberries, a box of carrot, lentil and coriander soup, a book, some papers, and a cd. When I say in my hands, I should be a little more specific, I have this all balanced in my left hand. With my right hand I am holding my camera, taking pictures of everything I'm doing so that I can blog. I've been looking at my a-list pal's blog and been thinking "how exciting life is on the subway commuter belt," and then realised that maybe my journey is exciting too, so I'm going to document it today.

I left the house and walked towards the car, using my free right hand to rummage in my right pocket. Of course, my car keys are in my left pocket.

I have no idea how I got the door open - some sort of right hand left pocket reach around action going on - and I chucked everything on the front seat of my car.

I looked at the pile of stuff on my front seat and realised that I couldn't struggle into school with all that stuff balanced in my hands, so I ran back to the house, when I saw this sitting on the doorstep. Quickly I ran to the fridge and out to the back kitchen to get a plastic bag from our plastic bag collection.

And I picked one which I considered to be suitable.

Running back to the car, I slammed the door.

I slammed it so hard that it bounced back open so I had to go back, take a picture of it and then run to the car. Now I am starting to get a little frantic, as I seem to be trapped in an endless loop of not quite being able to set off, which is being worsened by the pressure of having to photograph everything.

What a filthy, horrid car. Never mind. Quick time check.

Great. I've been going so fast I've managed to stop and reverse time. Either that or the car clock is running a little slow.

The car clock was running a little slow. It was now getting late. I did that thing where I stand there looking like nothing is going on. If you were to pass by this morning you would have seen me, paused between the two cars with a slightly confused look on my face. Inside, I was burning with inner turmoil, my mind batting around the question or whether I should try to fill up with petrol this morning or whether I should annoy Polly by leaving her the petrol deficient engine and driving off in the auto.

I decided that I would be able to make it to the petrol station and jumped into the car. Took out the cd that I've been listening to all week and

pushed in the new one. It took three goes to get the car started, but eventually I managed to. I drove to the end of our drive (about half a meter).

Cars only sit outside our house if the traffic is queueing, and if the traffic is queueing then there's no way I'm going to get to the petrol station, fill up, pay, take pictures of the whole thing and get to work on time. I ran back into the house to explain to Polly that I was going to take the silver car, not the green one.

First though, I had to bag everything up to transfer it to the silver car. I put the soup at the bottom of the bag and started to get worried about spillage onto the papers, so I put raspberries on top of the soup, then papers on top of raspberries. Still paranoid about the raspberries making the papers go raspberry stained, I made the snap decision to put up and shut up and went over to the silver car.

First and most important thing to do was get the cd changer out of the car and sort out today's listening, as I've only got it out of the library for a week, and no way would I be able to ever listen to it again unless I rented it out again, so I wanted to maximise my enjoyment.

Whoops - got so carried away by listening to the right music that I forgot to take a photo of me opening the boot, so this will have to suffice. Look at the cool accessory on my key ring. It is the most fashionable thing for kids aged between 7 - 11 right now. I'd make a pretty cool 10 year old girl.

Laugh like a drain. Why? Because look - in my haste to get the cd out of the green car, I accidently put the key to the silver car in the ignition of the green car.

Aaaah, that's better.

Switch ignition to "on". Now I can get my cd out of the green car...

and put it into the silver car.

In my haste to get all this done, I had forgotten to lock the green car door. Whilst locking the door I checked to see if I had a car seat to bring Elly home from Nursery, and this led me to remember that I needed my security card key to pick her up. Not having a card key means either knocking on the nursery office door and annoying the staff there, or hanging furtively around outside, pretending to tie shoelaces etc. until someone starts walking towards the door, then breezily walking over and waiting while they unlock the door, murmuring "thanks" and smiling a bit too falsely.

Polly asked me what I was still doing here, then tried to give me the passports and the bank forms for opening a family benefit account. This needs to be verified by a professional, so I thought I'd ask a teacher. I like to think she was delighted when I said "no, hang on, I need to take a picture of you handing that to me," although it's more likely to have been a look of horror or exasperation on her face as she posed for this photo.

I couldn't see the card straight away, but stared into the key drawer for a while longer and it appeared in front of my eyes.

I managed to get into the car, get the car started and pulled out into the road. Then I saw this guy. He is bin liner bike man, and every now and again I get stuck behind him on the very narrow hill road behind my house. It is a pain in the arse because I can't overtake him, and the bin liner enclosed whatever it is - I always think it looks like a rabbit cage - wobbles most precariously. To add insult to the whole matter my CD was badly inserted and won't play, so I am having to listen to the new great white hope 19 year old folk singer, and I'm not loving him as much as the old new great white hope slightly older but not much emotional us folk singer who does the odd digital thing who I wanted to listen to this morning.

I think that this is a good time to check my watch - behind a totally vulnerable cyclist on one of the most hellish roads in Cambridge. V. Ethical.

Eventually I manage to overtake the cyclist and stick carefully to the speed limit all the way down the hill. Once I drove down the hill at 80 mph to impress my friends Jon and Jo as they drove behind me in a mini cooper. They said they were well impressed and that they thought it was a "very eco" way to drive.

There's lots of farms round between my house and my work. This morning I didn't get stuck behind a tractor, but lots of people did. I'm sure they didn't mind. Their misfortune cheers me up and I am starting to enjoy my music, although I'm still a bit gutted that I messed up loading the cd player.

Polly always says she can tell when I am driving tired, and I always get cross and shout at her for saying anything. When I see how I look when I am reasonably alert, I can understand her naked fear. I was driving nice and fast now, and getting excited about getting to work.

As I drove past this truck I thought about Willie Gough, who used to be in my class at school. He was a terifically funny chap, but we never really got on that well. I wonder what he is doing now? It's a bit of a lie that I thought about him, I actually thought "Get a shot of that truck, then say that I thought about Willie Gough". He used to hang around with David Jackson, who lived up my road but was the kind of child who would strangle kittens (or seven puppies) and there was a bit of a joke involving his name and the probability that he would fart (will he guff?).

Eventually I passed this sign and knew that I was safely at work with plenty of time to spare. Stupidly I forgot to photgraph the time again. That would have sealed the whole thing off nicely.

Well, I had great fun doing that on the way to work and I hope you all had great fun reading it too. See, pseudo rural commuting can be fun too people.

Whilst thinking of fun things, here is a funny thing that happened last weekend.

Polly, Elly, Mick and I went for a 2 hour walk from Wandleberry Park to Babraham Village to eat in the pub there. It used to be our all time favourite place to eat. It was very cheap and absolutely fantastic tasty unpretentious food. Then it burned down.

It has recently re-opened, hence the walk. When we arrived we were starving.

The place used to be really cosy and homely. Now it looks like a service station. Children appear to be running it and the food is awful. We got very depressed and had to take a taxi back to Wandleberry as it was heaving with rain too.

To cheer ourselves up we went to Saffron Walden for a mosey around. We parked in the big car park and walked into town. I put Elly up on my shoulders and recited our current favourite rhyme which goes "Me Daddy tickle me feet, he call it finger treat, me scream and run each time he come me Daddy tickle me..."

Elly is supposed to shout "FEET!"

Instead, she shouted "PENIS!"

I thought this was rather funny so tried again, hoping she would say "PENIS!" again and thinking that I could then move on. This time she shouted "PENIS!" once more, then began a rising chant of "penis, penis, penis, penis, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS"

I was in hysterics, uncontrollable, tears running down my face hysterics. The approaching hordes of car drivers returning to their vehicles and Polly's displeasured urgings to "Disract her David, DISTRACT HER," just caused me to crack up even harder. Then, amongst the crowds surging back to their cars, faces wrinkled in disgust at our antisocial child, I spotted two children from our school, one of whom I teach for Literacy.

"Hello Felix,"


"Hello Jemima,"


"Hello Mr Trent,"


If you go to Saffron Walden, don't miss going to cafe cou cou. It is the most brilliant place ever. Worth breaking the rules for.

A Number