Diary

As if all this activity weren't enough complication for one week, the Diary received an anguished phone call from a Ghanaian tribal chief whose day job is head of science at a girls' private school in Norwich.

Lynne Symonds is the energetic teacher who has already sent at least one library of textbooks rendered obsolete by the national curriculum to Ghana, leading to her appointment as a chief of the Mamprugi tribe in the village of Wulugu.

Schools up and down the land have saved their latest rejects for her (140 boxes in one establishment alone, apparently), but due to a minor cock-up on the organisational front - not caused by Lynne - most have not yet been collected and caretakers are getting fed up with barking their shins on the crates.

"I'm getting home every day and my answer-machine tape is filled with 20 or 30 messages, which take hours to listen to. Then you ring back and can't get the people because they're teaching. Please can you tell them to hang on and the boxes will be collected. Every book is important," she pleads.

Personally, we'd do anything rather than incur Lynne's wrath. Remember, she's a tribal chief, which means she had to send a ram to a recent funeral and her bemused daughter is in line to inherit the title. Who knows what forces she could unleash? You have been warned.

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