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Posts Tagged ‘School’

1. It was recently end of term, and so the children’s classwork was all returned to us in their book bags. One of the year’s projects had been “When I grow up…” and Youngest Son had played fairly true to type with “I want to be a vet and look after sharks”. His twin sister had slightly less esoteric ambitions: “When I grow up… I want to do the ironing.” –  a report which Wife had a mixed response to: on the plus side, it will be nice to have the help; on the negative side, we may have to do something to raise Daughter’s ambitions a little higher over the parapet.

2. In the religious part of the syllabus, Daughter had acquitted herself rather better (which is not that surprising, as she can often be heard, striding down Chiswick High Road with us, bellowing out sentiments such as “Oh Mary! How we love you, and we love Jesus your son!” to the amusement/horror of the townspeople); but Youngest Son was slightly less evangelical, it would seem. The subject in question was “The Good News”. The comment (admirably pithy, but somewhat disconcerting) was: “Even when pressed, he was unable to think of any good news”. Thanks.

3. It was (also recently) the twins’ fifth birthday. One of Youngest Son’s female classmates sent him a card with the following message: “I like you. I know you want to marry me. I love you.” Now – whether or not this is an indication that all it takes for “like” to turn into “love” is a declaration of desire to marry, to one side – I can’t help feel that Youngest Son will be lucky indeed if his future female inamorata are as transparent and easy-going as this. Fingers crossed.

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I Wonder About Glasses

As I walked home yesterday, I saw an Estate Agent’s board displayed in the front garden of one of the houses ahead of me, very near to our own.

As I drew nearer, my heart started thumping: the board was in OUR front garden – and the sign on it said “Auction of Premises”. Dear God, I thought – things are worse than I thought: Wife has put the house up for auction without telling me!

It was only when I drew very close that I was able to read that on this Estate Agent’s sign, there was an advertisement for an event at our children’s school (and for every sign advertising said agent that parents consent to being displayed, the school gets fifty shiny new English pounds), the event being an “Auction of Promises”. This is the same event which (a couple of years ago now) resulted in my bidding for someone to do my tax return (and he did it beautifully, I must say), so maybe I should have remembered the event a little more clearly. I got quite a scare, but the relief at discovering that Wife hadn’t decided to sell the house without consultation was an equivalent delight, reminding me to be grateful for what I have.

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Wife is on a photography job at the moment, so the not inconsiderable task of delivering the three children to school fell to me.

My ambition was to get them there on time, and without having sworn (which may seem like a lowly ambition, but believe me, herding cats looks like a doddle compared to getting three children to school on time), and I managed it.

Daughter was always going to be the toughest customer: she has an approach to personal style, grooming and dress that make Beau Brummel look like a slap-dash compromise merchant. The right knickers took a while to locate, and it was a feat of UN-style negotiation to coerce her into tights away from socks – but this was as nothing compared to Hairstylegate. Wife has recently taken to putting Daughter’s hair in bunches – a feat of dexterity that defeats me, so I went for what I thought was a sensible alternative (ie: one that drew her long hair back and out of her eyes, securing it in a ponytail at the back of her head). This did not meet with her approval – by which I mean that upon examination of the finished result in the mirror, she exclaimed “Dada!” in a horrified tone (as if I had coiled a couple of turds around her head) and added “That won’t do at all!” (something that I presume she has picked up from Wife). A mere four attempts later, we had something that she deemed acceptable. The boys couldn’t have been easier (once I had persuaded Youngest Son to put his jumper on OVER his shirt, rather than vice versa; and had broken the news to Eldest Son that Ben 10 pants were a thing of fantasy and would not be materialising in his wardrobe any time soon…) and off we went.

When I got into the Agency, I talked to World’s Greatest PA about the strange experience of going back to school (and specifically the impenetrable curriculum meeting that Wife and I attended last night, that threatened “Science” for four year-olds). Science is a particularly personal fear of mine, based on the lowering experience of having scored so low in the Physics Mock O’ Level that my mark was featured as an “N.B.” rather than as a proper score, lest I bring the average score for the whole class down too substantially. No such problems for World’s Greatest P.A., it seems – just the affectionate memories of how one of her adolescent team-mates attempted to disguise the evidence of someone’s perm having been introduced to a Bunsen burner (“it went up like tinder”), which gave rise to one of my favourite quotes of the year to date: “Aaah, the smell of burning hair and Lentheric!”

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Saturday, 28th April 2007

Scenes of jubilation and happiness in our current house (though not for much longer): Eldest Son has got into the school!

He is already there in the Nursery class, but we had to re-apply for Reception – and now he is in. Let Joy be unconfined – especially as this makes it FAR more likely that Daughter and Youngest Son will also be able to go there. 

In an act of celebration, Eldest Son has been bought “The Land Before Time on DVD” and I’ve got a couple of pounds of walnuts. It’s like The Fall of The Roman Empire chez nous in terms of sheer indulgence…

Spoke to my parents in New York. Sister is suitably thrilled with her Anya Hindmarch bag, clutching it to her like an Oscar statuette and flinging it over her shoulder every time she needs to buy a pint of milk (if she can find any over there that hasn’t been sugared – which is quite a challenge…). I still think they look fucking hideous, personally, but what do I know about fashion? If you could see me as I type this, you would not dignify that rhetorical question with a response.

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Sunday, 29th April 2007

Mass this morning was something of a let-down.

Traditionally, the first Mass after School D-Day is something of an event, with the question “Did you get in?” on everyone’s lips: it’s a game of Chicken as to who actually speaks it and how long one can skirt around the subject without actually saying it.

Anyway, today’s 8.30 Mass was a little bit barren – perhaps because some of the fair-weather Catholics have decided that having NOT got in they can’t really be arsed with the whole “God thing”. This means that there was very little opportunity for Wife and I to do our Concerned Gloating Face (popularised by the “Yeah, I got 5 A’s” school of sixth formers), although Wife has got the facts already. Only five children without elder siblings got into the school: so Eldest Son is very, very lucky (and we hope it will pave the way for Daughter and Younger Son to follow him).

The rest of the day has been taken up with my lacklustre packing and Wife scavenging the car park of the local Sainsbury’s for more boxes on which I can practice my so potent art.

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Sunday, 8th July 2007

Much is made (fairly, I’ll agree) of Michelangelo’s painting of The Sistine Chapel ceiling. Lying on his back, less than a foot away from the ceiling, the project took him four years.

Today, I too have been painting scenes of a religious nature. Perhaps not comparable to Buonarotti’s masterpiece – but then, I was painting with Dulux Trade Emulsion: not the choice of the masters of the Quattrocento…

I was painting the panels that Father in Law has designed for Eldest Son’s Nursery Playground – specifically, “The Flight Into Egypt”. After a couple of false starts (one of which rendered the Madonna as a Geisha, through the unhappy confluence of blue and white paint in the same jar), I got into it (helped by Fiona Shaw reading “Mill On The Floss” on the iPod) and emerged at 8.30. after 10 hours’ work.

It wasn’t a welcome treat to discover that the school gates (all ten feet high of them) had been locked, then. At 36, I am rather too old to be climbing gates, like a truant in reverse, but I had no choice and so returned home covered in paint to watch “Rome” (which remains stirringly bloody and bracingly full of swearing) and have a bath.

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