Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Raven

I am too old to enter 500 Words! But this is my model to get the children writing theirs.

The Raven stared intently with his one remaining beady eye. Perched high on the ramparts, he surveyed the small group making its way from the dark, dank dungeons towards the centre of the courtyard.

A single bell tolled; steadily, relentlessly marking the march of time, the march towards the ultimate end for the ultimate victim. The steps of the guards matched the strike of the hammer on the tarnished bronze of the bell, crunching the gravel beneath their worn boot leather as a crowd gathered, silent and nervous in anticipation at the tumultuous events that would soon unfurl.

From his vantage point the Raven surveyed the growing pack as it swelled and swayed, agitated and anticipated. A draught chill of breeze rose from the river, ruffling the feathers of the proud bird but not raising so much as a quiver from the silent sentinel.

The most intimidating figure in the group came at the back, dressed entirely in black. Leather chaps protected his muscular thighs. Fingerless gloves would allow a firm grip for the gruesome and thankless task that lay ahead. A black mask concealed his identity from all within the castle confines that morning. They had eyes not for the man, but for the object held firm in both hands before him. Glinting in the pale watery sunshine, it would dispatch the unfortunate victim within the coming moments.

The Raven chose this moment to break his silence. A shriek, a punctuation of breath and a further guttural call brought a momentary gasp from the band of witnesses below. One more call, a smattering of wing beats and a push from the sharpened talons on the stonework below launched the ebony feathered brute above the crowd. He circled and swooped scattering the few pigeons and sparrows that braved his territory this morning before settling on the highest tower, claiming the best view for himself.

A murmur, then a mumble emerged from the spectators, silenced by a single glance from the commander of the guard, his scarred face evidencing days on the battlefield serving his royal master. The reason for the interruption? The presence, unannounced, of the unwilling star of today’s performance; her one and only opportunity in this part. The chance of a reprise would not rear its head again but, then again, neither would she.

She betrayed no fear at what lay ahead as she maintained the grace that her position of the three previous years had demanded; the weighty headwear replaced by a simple silk cap.

After a few words from the attendant clergyman she knelt on the rough-hewn boards of the platform. She closed her eyes, placed her palms together and began a prayer that only she could hear. The raven affixed his stare on the man in black. He raised his burden parallel to the ground and level with the pale neck of the woman. One swing, one strike and the call of the single feathered member of the audience. Henry’s second Queen was no more.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Best Is Yet To Come

Inspired by @cazzwebbo and her New Year Writing Challenge.

    *   *   *   *    *  
He: Larger than life gentleman GSOH WLTM outgoing and witty lady for visits to country pub. We can go in my Merc.

Oh Dear! What a collection of clichés! Overweight, balding, and laughs at his own jokes! Merc! Probably understaffed in the trouser department! Well so long as he isn’t in leather trousers or a ponytail like the last one, he’s worth a try.

She: Attractive professional lady wishes to meet gentleman for fun, food and fine wines. Loves cinema, country pubs and animals.

Hmm! Between the lines she wants someone solvent. Cinema? Not like the one who took me all the subtitled rubbish. Who wants to read at the flicks? And if it’s all rom coms then she probably lives with her mother and collects cats. Well as long as she isn’t spray tanned orange like the last one, she’s worth a try.

They meet.  

Under the station clock.

Another cliché.

The last one.

A city wine bar, not a country pub. Sauvignon blanc. Chilean. Good choice.

An hour becomes two, then three.

Wine almost untouched.

His humour entrances. Not contrived, not smutty. Natural, in the flow of conversation.

She giggles, laughs, smiles at his innocent charm.

He is deeply sensitive. She can tell in his eyes, in the timbre of his voice. He has been hurt before, he is wary, but he won’t admit it.

She recognises something she hasn’t seen before. He is able to care.

Shall we move on?

No. A little longer is fine.

Her hand brushes his. He doesn’t resist.

He drops his head a little. She lowers her eyes then looks up, through the lashes. Doe eyed.

The moment.

They both realise. Instinctively.

Her heartbeat quickens. She feels the flush in her cheeks.

He keeps the eye contact, lowers his voice, leans in.

‘You’re beautiful!’

She grasps his hand.

‘You are too!’

He reaches with his free hand, strokes her face. Like fine porcelain.

She does the same. The faint beginnings of stubble, soft and textured.

She moves first. Surprises him. He tastes the gentle sweetness of her lips. Two, three seconds. She pulls back. Their eyes lock. They know.

He returns the act. Strong, but gentle. Her lips part slightly. Their eyes close. Oblivious to the rest of the room. Time freezes.

They know when to stop. She still holds his hand.

They know. They just know. The best is yet to come.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

When the Round Round Robin Comes to Round 2!

We first met the ghastly Jocasta and Horatio last year in this post: 

What have they been up to since? And why do they want everyone to know? Because some people genuinely believe all their tedium is of great interest to the rest of humanity.

Please enjoy. I'm off to brush the cat!

* * * * *

Hello Daaaaahhhhlings!

Another orbit of Helios since our last communication and we are sure you are desperate to hear of developments chez nous?

Persephone has completed a year of further training in what we thought was 'Orbital Mechanics', but apparently this grunt actually translates as 'I want to be a mechanic'. The birthday purchase of a telescope has gone a little to waste: Swarfega seems more likely next time around. The leakage of sump oil from her bedroom floor to the dining room is a real talking point at dinner parties, and the occasional gloopy dollop in the rustic fois gras only enhances the flavour. We are literally bursting with pride!

Wombat isn't a young gentleman after all. It was so difficult to tell through the various piercings, tattoos and incomprehensible mumblings. Horatio's mother had a rather strange reaction, but her surgery was successful and the restraining order expires on her 75th birthday. so good news all round! 

Araminta and Taramasalata, our twins, continue to show lively creativity in all they do. A local constable commended the pair of them in regard of their expressive mural art forms along the outer walls of the police station. 'They tell us you are Banksie' the officer declared to Horatio; how proud Jocasta was as she roared with laughter from her hiding place in the study. We believe his other comment was that he didn't appreciate the acronym ACAB fully, but at that point we were aglow. The two of them fund their exploits from their own pockets too, with a weekend job at the security service. Horatio drops them at MFI each Saturday morning! We are literally bursting with pride!

Spartacus, like his older sister, really is a budding thespian. After the triumph of last years Nativity, the year one play became a one man show as he lovingly and realistically created the conditions of Irish prisoners in the early eighties. The audience, cast and most of the staff were literally moved to tears by his performance. 

Spartacus has a real way with words. We have been called to the Headteacher's office so often to receive tremendous feedback about our wonderful children. This time he was astoundingly aware of traditional parasitic plants at the Christmas season, as he announced 'My daddy kisses my mummy under the camel-toe every Christmas day.' We are literally bursting with pride!

The Puggles, are sadly no longer with us. No, they aren't dead! Mrs Smythe, the receptionist at the animal clinic, and wife of the chief vet, took them off our hands after hearing 'We are hear to show your husband our Prince Albert and Vajazzle' every Saturday for three months from the twins. She seemed a little cross, but should show a little more respect for young people and their care of animals inadvertently covered in spray paints.

We have become quite close to the lovely couple from up the road from us. Names escape us for the moment, but they are actually quite nice for teachers. They escorted us to the Tuscan villa where he was able to converse jovially with the locals. Some form of pidgin English I believe; lots of words ending in vowels. The peasant farmers truly appreciate our work on the outbuildings. Their hand gestures and jocularity at the open plan roof space and rustic plumbing needed no translation. Mr and Mrs Teacher assured us that the locals have a special place for us. In fact a man with dark glasses and a large shiny limousine showed us where it was, near a new flyover,  and even gave it a name 'Non Ritorno' which apparently has to be said with a certain menace in the tone in the local dialect. Oh how we laughed!

Our new friends really are good sports. They rewarded our comments about how with a few more years experience they would be able to teach the older ones soon with a wonderful retail tip. Apparently that rather grubby looking store near the council estate is an excellent source of wasabi rocket, scallops, cous-cous and a delightful Sancerre. Apparently the acronym means Artisan Local Development Initiative: just up our street, so off we pootled in the 4x4. It must be terribly popular because most of those lines were out of stock, but a few wonderful substitutes were offered. Ace Lightning is a popular apple based brew, and 'fingres de poisson' are terribly tasty. The artisans really made us feel welcome by recycling our car tyres, providing all round ventilation for  the vehicle and leaving a little present on the seat to match the one that Spartacus provided earlier. 

Oh what a social whirl we lead!!

Toodle-pip until the next annus miabilis!!

Jocasta, Horatio, Persephone, Araminta, Taramasalata and Spartacus xxx

Friday, 2 August 2013

Should this be on the Radio?

This has been on my hard drive for a year or so! It's the first episode of a sitcom I wrote with radio in mind- very much in the vein of 'Cabin Pressure' and 'Claire in the Community'

The central character is a male teacher who is dominated by all the women in his life: wife, daughters, colleagues. Can't think where the inspiration came from! 

Melody, the Deputy Head, is a completely original creation, and the character of whom I am most proud. She has a few interesting 'quirks', and an intriguing back story.

Please let me know what you think. And if you know someone at the BBC give them a shove; I've sent it twice and not heard a sausage!

I have three more complete episodes written- and more to complete this holiday!

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Episode 1- Is the whole world against me?

Scene 1: James and Liz Kendall’s Home
James:           (looking into bathroom mirror) Hmm! Why is it that every morning at least three eyebrow hairs migrate northwards? Come on, stay down! Mm! Another grey one there! Just comb that under so nobody will see it unless it pops out again. Oh not again! Yet more crows feet by the eyes. Mmmm! The light is a bit harsh in here I suppose. What about a facelift? Definitely not. I would look permanently surprised. And the wrinkles on the forehead. Well what do you expect with what I have to put up with? But apart from that not bad for 47. Well apart from the prematurely silver hair. And the hair on the back. Liz hates it. (Mimics) ‘It’s like sleeping with a sheepskin rug’.  I wonder if they go all the way through from the front like dental floss. Ouch! Clearly not. Better not do that again. It’s taken years to grow that lot.
(Phone sounds- text message)
James:           (Reads) ‘DAD U LOSER STOP TALKING TO YOURSELF WEIRDO’. Charming Livvy. Let’s just reply to that shall we: ‘Next time your boyfriend comes around I am going to embarrass you by talking about where and when you were conceived. Again! LOL Dad!’
Liz:                  (From outside of bathroom) James! James! Can I hear clicking? Are you on the phone in there?
James:           Just replying to our darling eldest daughter. (Phone sounds- text message) Doesn’t she know it’s ‘y-o-u-apostrophe-r-e’ not ‘y-o-u-r’. And there is a k at the beginning of ‘knob’. (Opens door)
Liz:                  She is in the next room. Can’t you just talk to her or shout through the wall?
James:           At this hour in the morning? And you know how much you hate to be disturbed. You even moan about the bird song.
Liz:                  You do exaggerate. I thought you were on that social network site to that woman again.
James:           You mean Amanda. She happens to be a very intelligent person and we have a great deal in common.
Liz:                  Just like Veronica?
James:           Oh! Veronica. Raven haired, tempestuous, dramatic, artistic...
Liz:                  Until you found that she was actually a fat, bald, arthritic Geordie called Vince living a fantasy life. How many years did he get?
James:           Well we all live and learn by our experiences. Besides Amanda and I share a great love of literature, theatre, music and cinema, and she tells me I look just like George Clooney.
Liz:                  James, that is because you posted a picture of George Clooney on your profile page.
James:           Well darling there happens to be a great many people who say that he and I bear a canny resemblance?          
Liz:                  Who exactly James? Who?  This is not going to be a very long or substantial list I suspect.            
James:           Lauren at the hair salon for a start.
Liz:                  Lauren! That outrageous flirt! She drops a compliment like that to absolutely every man who walks in there just to earn herself a tip. What did she call Alan?          
James:           Keanu Reeves!       
Liz:                  Keanu Reeves!  Sweaty Alan with the permanent body odour and the fashion sense of a rodent who looks like the illegitimate offspring of Johnny Vegas and Waynetta Slob! On a good day! Who else?
James:           Well there was Anya next door. She was a lovely girl.
Liz:                  Anya. The Russian student! She was only nineteen so how she knows who George Clooney is is another matter. She is clearly just training up for one of those Moscow honey traps we read about in the Sunday papers.       
James:           I’m not going to win this am I?      
Liz:                  Darling! Do you ever?        
James:           We last agreed 17 and a half years ago when you said ‘I do’.
Liz:                  So we are agreed. I am correct then. AGAIN! Who did Melody compare you to exactly?
James:           Melody! With the brain capacity of a drunken amoeba!
Liz:                  Melody! Who beat you to the deputy head job last year.         
James:           Only because of the cleavage she had on show. I couldn’t exactly do that.
Liz:                  I wouldn’t be so sure. Have you seen your moobs recently fat boy! Come on! What did she call you?
James:           I can’t quite remember at this moment.
Liz:                  James! Come on!
James:           Ok! It was John Craven. Not very glamorous is he?
Liz:                  Precisely. Just face it James. You are 47 years old. Compliments are going to be few and far between at your age.    
James:           Very thin on the ground from my wife, that’s for certain.         
Liz:                  There will even fewer if you don’t get a move on. You’ve got your performance management review with Melody this morning.
James:           Don’t remind me! She has let this go to her head recently. You’ve never lost it have you?
Liz:                  Lost it?
James:           Yes. The ability to make me feel so good.

Scene 2: Melody’s Office
(Knock on door)
Melody:          (In contrived Essex accent) Come in!
James:           Good Morning Melody! Are we all set to begin? Performance management. Highlight of the year!
Melody:          Hi Jimmy. Take a seat won’t you. 
James:           James.
Melody:          That’s what I said babe.
James:           Babe?
Melody:          Saucy! I could sue you for sexual harassment?
James:           (Under breath) If you could spell it.
Melody:          Shall we get this started? We haven’t got all day. Now I was thinking…
James:           (Under breath) …and breathing at the same time. Obviously multitasking now.
Melody:          … that you need to take on responsibility for some disciplinary matters. To boost your authority around the school with the staff.
James:           Surely that’s your responsibility Melody. I remember that being in the job profile when we both applied.
Melody:          Well things move on as you know Jimbo, new roles, new responsibilities.
James:           It’s James. You know I don’t like to shorten it, and Liz can’t abide any abbreviation of it. We’ve worked together for over 10 years. You should know me by now.
Melody:          Whatever!
James:           Look Melody can’t I just sort out Kaspar? He and I get along quite well.
Melody:          Not after the last time. You were helping him sort out his premium vodka collection and the head found you both fast asleep in the games shed amongst the tennis equipment. You were lucky it was after school.
James:           A small misunderstanding Melody. Besides he has his black armband on again today. Must be the anniversary of the Second Partition of Poland.
Melody:          I didn’t realise there was a first series. Was it on one of those foreign channels you watch?
James:           (Exasperated) He is very proud of his roots. Plus he is a massive improvement on Darren. No digits removed yet and the fire alarms all work now, so there is no danger of year three being cremated alive. So, tell me, who is it I need to sort out.
Melody:          Emma Taylor. Year five.
James:           Emma Taylor? What on earth has she done? It’s always nose to the grindstone in her class.
Melody:          James you’re such a gent. She has found it all a bit difficult what with her marital problems and her mother’s health. Haven’t you seen what she’s been wearing lately?
James:           Melody, you know I have great difficulty in telling what Liz is wearing most days. What on earth has Emma been sporting?
Melody:          It’s not what, but how much material.
James:           Is she in a burkha?
Melody:          Jimmy. It is see through. Her legs and her bra are on full show for the whole class when the sun shines behind her, and as they had sex education last week they need no encouragement. They were sniggering at the pair of pink balloons she used in the science lesson in the afternoon, and don’t mention what they were saying about the sausages at lunchtime.
James:           I can’t tell a recently divorced woman that that her décolletage is visible to her class.
Melody:          Get you and your big words. No, just say that her chest is on show.
James:           Melody, I just did.
Melody:          No to her, not me.
James:           Look Melody! This is just not me is it? I barely know the woman, so to start off a conversation about her legs and breasts will make me look like a complete sleazebag. Just remember what Daniel was like. How many women did he offend?
Melody:          Don’t be unfair about Daniel. He knew the way to a girl’s heart.
James:           Four glasses of cheap champagne and a run down the A2 in his Merc for a spot of dogging in a lay-by is a little too caveman for me. Now what about Emma?
Melody:          Well try your lines out on me. You are normally so good with the words you use.
James:           Ok then! Now, Emma. (pause- ignored) Emma! Melody, that’s you!
Melody:          Oh! Sorry hon!
James:           Now, Emma! This is slightly delicate, but um-er I need to raise a certain concern about your dress.
Melody:          Do you like it babes! A bargain online, you should look out for one your wife.
James:           Not your dress, your attire, your outfit.
Melody:          Come on! Get to the point! You can only stretch a compliment so far. I don’t want you trying it on with me.
James:           (flustered) Emma, it’s er just that some items of your apparel are a little translucent.
Melody:          Don’t get you babe!
James:           (frustrated) You may wish to find more suitably opaque fashions for the classroom.
Melody:          Program error! Still not computing!
James:           (v frustrated) For God’s sake Emma I can see your breasts through your blouse!
Melody:          (Slaps James) You pervert! You’re staring at my tits!
James:           Melody! For heaven’s sake! We were role playing!
Melody:          I don’t care what you and Liz do at home, but don’t involve me in your sordid affairs. Now go and deal with Emma before the bell goes!
James:           Well I hope it’s safer than being in here!

Scene 3: Mr Kendall’s Classroom
James:           Good Morning David.
David:             Here Mr Kendall.
James:           Good Morning Grace.
Grace:            Here Mr Kendall.
James:           Good Morning Tanvir.
Tanvir:            Here Mr Kendall.
James:           And Good Morning Vicky.
Vicky:             Here Mr Kendall. (pause) Mr Kendall, why have you got a hand mark on both cheeks?
James:           (Embarrassed) It’s a little chilly this morning. Brings a rosy glow- just warming myself up; getting the blood flowing helps the brain at this time of the morning. You should all try it!
Grace:            Mr Kendall, I saw Mrs Taylor crying in her classroom.
James:           Well perhaps she was a little upset about the chick in the reception class that died the other day. Which reminds me David…
David:             I didn’t say nothing honest.
James:           Which means you must have said something. Miss Fincham tells me that someone told Vicky’s little brother Jake that the chicks were told be called … now where is that list … here we are … oh yes … Nugget, Dipper, Nando and …
David:             It was Tanvir too. He suggested Bhuna, Korma and Madras.
Tanvir:            Be fair sir. You’re always telling us to express our creativity and imagination.
James:           But not at the expense of the emotions of the five year olds in the school. Besides, you missed out Kiev, Kentucky and Goujon. Haven’t I taught you anything in our cooking lessons? (Raucous laughter from class) Ok year six settle down! Now Grace can you remember what we did in yesterday’s Literacy lesson… CONNOR! LEAVE YOUR TROUSERS ALONE! YES! AND THE ZIP TOO! Grace?
Grace:            We were looking at the ingredients of the Witches’ Brew from Macbeth.
David:             Round about the cauldron go; In the poison'd entrails throw.

Vicky:             Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;

David:             Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Tanvir:            Hairy spiders, poisoned ants,
Something nasty from my pants

Class:             Oh! Tanvir!!

James:           Very poetic, but not very Shakespearean is it?

Tanvir:            S’pose not! Why are we doing all this ancient stuff anyway? He’s been dead for centuries!

James:           Dead for centuries! (higher) Dead for centuries!! Mr Shakespeare may have gone but his work is very much alive..

David:             (To others) Here we go again; it’s that speech of his. ‘When I was at school…’

James:           (Striding around front of classroom) When I was at school my love of the Bard was inspired by one particularly motivational teacher who had the class dancing and gyrating around the cauldron…

Tanvir:            (To others) ‘… and I was stirred…’

James:           (Sweeping arms) … and I was stirred to deliver the range of his work when I came to the front of the classroom myself.

Grace:            (To others) ‘… because the drama, the tension, the emotions…’

James:           (Dramatically) … because the drama, the tension, the emotions of his plays breathes life and innovation into the English language.

Vicky:             (To others using exact tone and body language of James) ‘… and I know you’ve heard all this before…’

James:           … and I know you’ve heard all this before, and I know Vicky exactly what you are doing because after my teacher training and with my years of experience I have eyes in the back of my head and super-human hearing..

Vicky:             (Embarrassed) Sorry!

James:           You will be and so will I if Miss Kane finds us not doing maths again. Quick children here she is: counting in 13s.

Whole Class:            Zero 13 26 39…

James:           Classe! Levez-vous pour la Directrice adjointe ! Bonjour Mademoiselle Kane mon petit chou-fleur.

Melody:          Oh your Mr Kendall thinks he is so clever trying to catch me out with his fancy Spanish talk.  (Class sniggers) Mr Kendall, I see you dealt with Mrs Taylor successfully. After that managerial and diplomatic success, I need to ask you to cover dinner duty today.

James:           Dinner duty! Where is the Head? He always does it?

Melody:          In a crisis management planning meeting at the education offices. Something to do with long term photocopier lease management.

James:           And you …

Melody           … as busy as ever. Nothing to worry about. Mrs Fellows will sort you out Babe. Ciao!

David:             Did Miss Kane really call you Babe sir?

James:           Enough of that. Now where were we? 52 65 … oh come on, wake up.
Scene 4: Lunchtime

James:           That’s right. (pause) The pointed bit of the fork goes into the food, that’s how you pick it up. (pause) Then put it in your mouth. (pause) Now pull it out. (pause) No! leave the food in your mouth. (pause) This could take a very long time. (pause- shouts) CONNOR! WOULD YOU DO THAT AT HOME? (pause) You would! How revolting. (pause) And what’s in your sandwiches? (pause)  Beef paste and banana. Lovely.

Mrs Fellows:  Hello there Mr Kendall. Miss Kane said you would be helping me here today.

James:           I was hoping you could help me out Mrs Fellows. It’s like the winter of discontent out here.

Mrs Fellows:  Made glorious summer by this son of York Mr Kendall.

James:           I didn’t realise you were a friend of the Bard Mrs Fellows. CONNOR- NOT LIKE THAT.

Mrs Fellows:  Ever since I was a young girl Mr Kendall. Thanks to my good old dad. He even named all of his children after his favourite roles, my brothers Richard and Henry after his favourite Kings, and my sister Titania, though I am sure you can guess her nickname. And you may call me Miranda, away from the children’s ears of course. (to children) That’s right my dear- line up on the right- out you go!

James:           How refreshing to be brought up in such a literate household. All I hear in the staffroom is celebrity gossip and those mummy porn novels. It’s all rough-hewn hunks and interesting uses for skipping ropes from what I can pick up. CONNOR- USE A SPOON, DON’T USE A STRAW! YES IT IS JELLY! How on earth do you stay so calm?

Mrs Fellows:  It’s all an act. (dramatically)
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
I’m probably very different away from here. My husband certainly says so.

James:           Well you know your Shakespeare Mrs Fellows, which sets you aside from the rest of the adults here. There’s about as much culture as a live yoghurt at times.

Mrs Fellows:  The children love your lessons Mr Kendall. They are always doing impressions of you teaching when they are on the playground. Quite a commendation I would say.

James:           What a pleasant surprise to hear that. They never give me a clue in the class.

Mrs Fellows:  Oh Mr Kendall, what a modest man you are. The children and the parents absolutely love you. My two can’t wait to get to your class.

James:           Which classes are they in? I can never remember.

Mrs Fellows:  Well Oberon is in Year 2. He’ll be seven next week. I am so pleased with Mrs Lynch. She has shown a great understanding of his problems. And Hermia is in Year 5 with Mrs Taylor. She has seemed a bit distracted lately. When she let the children in this morning she looked as if she had been crying. Has something upset her?

James:           (Guiltily) I couldn’t imagine what that could be.

Mrs Fellows:  Just between you and me, a lot of the parents can’t wait for their children to get to your class Mr Kendall.

James:           I’m not really one for the school gate gossip Mrs Fellows, but thank you, you have brightened my day. CONNOR! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT LUNCHBOX!!

Scene 5: Mr Kendall’s Classroom

James:           Settle down everyone. Now Vicky, what are we cooking this afternoon.
Vicky:             Rock cakes sir! That’s a bit of a funny name; why are they called that. Who wants to eat a rock?
James:           Anyone know the answer to that? Why are they called rock cakes? David! Inform us with your gems of wisdom.
David:             They are all lumpy and bumpy. Like Tanvir’s face after he had the chicken pox.
Tanvir:            Like your mum’s minging backside you mean!
David:             Mr Kendall! He’s cussing my mum.
James:           Just leave it out boys won’t you. Not quite appropriate in the classroom. Grace, can you read out the ingredients for each group please. Why do we need to get the measurements right?
Grace:            It’s all about ratio and proportion isn’t it Mr Kendall. If you have too much or too little of something you will ruin it. Like your wife’s friend who defrosted that food for six hours instead of six minutes.
James:           Quite. Lemon meringue pie became lemon meringue soup. You could have used your straw for that instead of your jelly there Connor.
David:             Mr Kendall? (he wants to waste time with a silly question) How often does Shakespeare mention food in his plays?
James:           At last David you seem to have caught the bug of the Bard, the passion of the playwright!
David:             That’s right sir! All that Macbeth and ‘Wear four out there Romeo’
James:           Where for art thou Romeo!
David:             That’s what I meant sir! It’s your inspirational teaching!
James:           So inspirational in fact that I have stimulated you to find the answer to that question for your own personal homework. I expect the answer in full tomorrow.
Vicky:             Ha! Serves you right for your time wasting!
James:           And Vicky will look up his references to time. The internet is a wonderful thing isn’t it. Now! Grace, our ingredients if you would be so kind.

Scene 6: The Staffroom: Afternoon break

Melody:          Something’s smelling good there Jimbo, what’s on the menu today?
James:           (sarcastically) Rock cakes. With real rocks. Actually its gravel for the nouvelle cuisine version.
Melody:          You are so funny at times Jim, but I’m not stupid…
James:           Hmm!
Melody           … I know it’s not actual rock. Now I know you caught me out with Spotted Dick that time …
James:           That was quite an embarrassment for the head wasn’t it? You and that custard suggestion.
Melody:          FYI Not a long memory on that one babes.
James:           Conveniently selective memory loss again Melody.
Melody:          And I haven’t forgotten the strange hair that was in my cookie in that assembly a couple of years ago. Whose was that?
James:           Danny! Oh be fair he has Asperger’s, and he had worked for ages on that recipe. He was so proud of the special ingredient.
Melody:          It was the head louse that was attached to it that did it for me. Did you tell the head what was in his?
James:           Not on that occasion! Thank heavens he threw up before they had to pump his stomach. (Buzzer sounds) Well that’s me! Let’s get these to class and feed the hungry millions.

Scene 7: Mr Kendall’s Classroom

James:           Ready for the big reveal year six?
Tanvir:            Too right Mr Kendall, I’m starving.
Vicky:             Sure it’s not Ramadan again Tanvir?
Tanvir:            No, that was just an excuse to get away from you and your pink icing. Barbie cakes? I have my reputation to look after you know.
Grace:            Mr Kendall has told us we should be tolerant of all faiths, genders and opinions.
James:           You are right there Grace. Now in my humble opinion we need to polish these off before they go stale. If you like them, we will cook a bigger batch for the end of term fayre.
David:             And if we don’t Mr Kendall.
James:           If we don’t there’s always a place for you in the stocks again David. How much did Jake spend on that the last time Vicky?
Vicky:             Enough for about fifty sponges. He’s been saving up since then David.
David:             I suggest we get stuck in Mr Kendall, and hope we enjoy it.
James:           Who needs a second invitation? Vicky. David. Hand them round and tuck in!
Class:             (Interrupted by moans, groans and class banter) Here David! Don’t forget me! Urgh you touched that one! You’ve got to eat it now! Mr Kendall, Connor breathed on mine!
James:           Yes Tanvir, what is it?
Tanvir:            I don’t want to alarm anyone but ….
Grace:            Oh no! Tanvir is it a big but or a small but?
Tanvir:            … but the wart that was on my finger before I stirred up our mixture; it’s gone!
(Class breaks into mass hysteria, vomiting noises, groans etc.)

Scene 8: Melody’s Office
Melody:          Jimmy. If you were to rate your performance today, how would you grade yourself.
James:           On teaching good I suppose, on managerial matters bordering on satisfactory.
Melody:          Not been your day has it!
James:           It has been a little testing Melody. I think we could agree on that.
Melody:          Emma Taylor has been sobbing all day. I can’t get a word of sense from her. What did you say to her?
James:           Very similar words to our rehearsal I think.
Melody:          Just as I feared. Did you ever consider a career in diplomacy before you were a teacher? Reverend Moon you ain’t babe.
James:           You mean Ban-Ki Moon Melody.
Melody:          Aren’t they the same person?
James:           No Melody. Do you know who Ban-Ki Moon is?
Melody:          Do you think I’m stupid? …
James:           (to self) only about 99.99% of the time.
Melody:          …He’s head of the European Commission isn’t he.
James:           Melody, he is Secretary-General of the United Nations. And he is Korean.
Melody:          Does that make your sister-in-law Kim Korean too? They’re all called Kim.
James:           She might have all the subtleties of Kim Jong-Il but as she was born in Hemel Hempstead, just like her sister, my wife.
Melody:          There is no need to be fastidious!
James:           Facetious!
Melody:          Jimbo! I happen to like people from other cultures if you don’t mind!
(SFX Text tone- Plays ‘Rabbit’ by Chas and Dave)
James:           Excuse me Melody. A message from my wife. ‘GET TEA BAGS ON WAY HOME. AND EXTRA SNACKS. EMILY HAS THE HAIRY BEAST OVER TONIGHT’
Melody:          Ew! New phone Jimski! You reaching the twenty first century at last. Change from the yoghurt pots and string you used to have. Let’s have a look.
James:           Don’t press anything I don’t know about Melody. I don’t want any unusual charges.
Melody:          We have got to teach you some serious lessons boy. What do you use it for?
James:           Calls, texts and social networking. See that surprised you!
Melody:          So I can see. I’ve found your page. There is a message from someone called Amanda. She looks a bit out of your league. Does Liz know?
James:           Melody! I would rather you didn’t. It’s private you know.
Melody:          Jimbo, there is no such thing as private in these situations. Don’t you remember the trouble that Daniel got into for posting those pictures of him and Jean Ball?
James:           I’d forgotten about that. How on earth did she hold that position and keep whatever that thing was in under her chin at the same time?
Melody:          No idea hun, but luckily she and her husband were on another one of their ‘breaks’ and didn’t find out, otherwise he would have been chasing Daniel.
James:           Yes I hear that those mobility scooters have quite a turn of speed going downhill.
Melody:          He was lucky not to have been suspended!
James:           Unlike her! Hah-hah!
Melody:          Is that funny?
James:           Yes.
Melody:          How?
James:           Never mind! What was the age difference between Jean and Daniel?
Melody:          Twenty nine years! What was the comment that he posted?
James:           The face may be like a pickled walnut but the plumbing is in top class condition. Good use of metaphor I thought!
Melody:          Not one of your chat up lines I hope!
James:           Melody it’s been over twenty years since I went on a date. In those days you had to have permission in writing just to hold hands!
Melody:          Well I can see you have impressed Amanda. ‘Hello again @JamesK. You look just like George Clooney. Has anyone told you that?’ Jimski what are you like you little saucepot!
James:           Melody! Please, we share a lot of interests.
Melody:          You know this model has voice recognition too don’t you? Easy when you know how!
James:           Melody! Don’t!
Melody:          Some people do but my bezzie thinks I’m more like John Craven.
Phone Voice:            Sending message to @AmandaM ‘Some people do but my bezzie thinks I’m more like John Craven’.
James:           Well thank you Melody! Now she will think I have no class. I wouldn’t use words like bezzie, and you aren’t my bezzie anyway.
Melody:          Now come along Jimmy, you love me really.
James:           Well you know what they say about a thin line ….
Melody:          Anyway! Back to business! After what you have said about Kaspar, I agree that you should be his line manager too.
James:           Thank you Melody. I am sure we can help him get onto the right path. Remember it’s a language thing with him. He doesn’t understand all the procedures yet does he.
Melody:          He should know ‘cleaning rota’ by now. And ‘clear the drains out’. The boys’ toilets opposite are totally rank.
James:           He wasn’t a caretaker in Wroclaw was he? He has a background in the coal mines. There are a lot of differences. Besides he has a good work ethic.
Melody:          He wouldn’t last five minutes in Essex!
James:           Ethic, not Essex!
Melody:          Not deaf babe, not deaf. Let’s face it though. Kaspar at times is a lazy sod!
Phone Voice:            Sending text message to Kaspar ‘At times you are a lazy sod.’
Melody:          Silly me. I’m still holding your phone.
James:           Melody! What have you done to me now? I think you may have set Anglo-Polish relations back several decades.
Melody:          You said he had a language problem.
James:           I think we are going to have a bad language problem here in a minute. (Phone sounds- text message) Here we go! (puts on Polish accent) ‘I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND. AND NOW YOU BETRAY ME LIKE THOSE BOLSHEVIK SCUM! DIE IN A PIT OF YOUR OWN VOMIT YOU SON OF A COSSACK WHORE!’
Melody:          That didn’t go too badly then did it. You’ll have no problem sorting him out. Right I’m off to sort out my mother. Ciao babes! Love you!
James:           No you don’t!
Melody:          You would like to think so! MWAH!!
James:           (to self) Believe me Melody, nothing could be further from the truth!

Scene 9: James and Liz Kendall’s Home

James:           Hello Darling! Home at last what a day! Oh I see Emily has got Sigmund around again.
Liz:                  She has. And its Simon to his face, remember.
James:           But by giving him Mr Freud’s moniker it at least give him a modicum of intelligence, rather than the grunts we normally get. How on earth do they communicate? Semaphore?
Liz:                  It’s all changed since our day. Remember you used to write me those little cards, with special requests on.
James:           None of which were ever granted.
Liz:                  (Ignoring that remark) Tell me about your day.
James:           What is that they are playing up there?
Liz:                  It’s Phil Collins!
James:           Phil Collins! Su-su-sudio!! We have a cabinet full of Oasis, Blur, The Stone Roses and the like. How embarrassing! Why can’t they sit on the front wall drinking nasty cider like normal teenagers?
Liz:                  It’s a phase, as always. Now come on, what happened today.
James:           In a sentence: Melody asserted herself, class got a real taste of something from the witches cauldron, I got a two slaps and a reputation as a peeping tom,  I may have found a kindred spirit, but not in Kaspar, and I’m unlikely ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  
Liz:                  In other words, just like any other day!
James:           Exactly!
Liz:                  Tea?
James:           I thought you were never going to ask. My throats as dry as ..
Liz:                  Well stick the kettle on, there’s the pot, leave it to brew for five minutes, not like that cat’s wee you gave me this morning. And stick some digestives on a plate too!!
James:           And where will you be? Throne room? Bathing in asses milk? Boudoir?
Liz:                  Picking the carving knife from between your shoulder blades.
James:           It’s those little intimate touches that tell me how much you love me!
Liz:                  It won’t boil itself!
James:           Coming dear!