Sunday, 4 July 2010

Mangoes In A Northern Hurricane

When I was shaving at 6am this morning,John Humphrys announced on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 that in the past 40 years, only 18 teachers had been sacked for incompetence. He said that poor teachers tended to be recycled into the system and moved on.

Yesterday, driving a bus load of schoolchildren, I felt in hindsight that one of the teachers should have become number 19. It was a wild and difficult day. A mini-hurricane had decided to descend upon us, making the driving difficult. On top of that there were Police roadblocks, set up to catch an alleged murderer who was on the loose and making headline news.

When I take schools, I like seeing the teachers mix with their pupils and sit at various parts of the bus chatting to them. Call me old fashioned, but it makes a happy and ebullient bus and the journey goes much faster.

Some teachers hog the front four seats, two by two across the aisle and sit chatting amongst themselves. This was such a day. They chatted about their problems and their likes and dislikes, occasionally to yell at a child to sit down or put their seatbelt on.

It lightened up dramatically, however, when we passed a pick-your-own fruit farm. One of the teachers asked:

"I know they have strawberries, but what other fruit can you pick there?"

"Mangoes," I sarcastically replied, fully expecting either laughter or a slap.

"Oh really, that's nice."

In for a penny, in for a pound, I thought and continued down the leg pulling route.

"Papaya, too." I went on.

"Oh good."

"Bananas as well"

"Oh that's fantas.........." The teacher stopped as the penny dropped, but valiantly tried to dig herself out of the deep hole of embarrassment that had been freshly dug.

"Well I suppose you can buy Mangoes there, anyway?"

"Only if they have bought them off the wholesaler or a supermarket," I finished and went back to driving. She returned to talking about other matters with her colleagues. I wondered what the children were being taught in the classrooms.

What goes around comes around and on the return journey, when the bus was empty, I received my well deserved comeuppance for being sarcastic and deliberately trying to egg the teacher on up the garden path.

As it was so windy, I decided to travel back a more sheltered route, but a branch fell and hit my wing mirror. The glass cracked. I now have to brace up to the inquisition I will face from the bus company mechanic. It will begin with:

"What have you broken now.........................??"

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