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Diary - With a skip in her step

I was sitting in Dun Whinny's coffee house enjoying my warm milk, honey and cinnamon drink after a day of hill-walking and structured gossiping. Jude, Liz, Avril and myself had been friends for ages and we were dissecting the latest bombshells from Paranoia Central.

Several councillors and senior school staff were still lost in the volcanic dust, making little or no attempt to return home to face the cuts, savings and further dismantling of a once-proud service - not to mention the ritual mating dance around Curriculum for Excellence.

The election result meant that we faced an uncertain political future in our wee country. As always, I remained politically antiseptic and kept my nose well out of the back-biting, points-scoring, trivia-obsessed political shenanigans.

Still no phone call from Mr Donaldson to join his teacher education review group. Should I email him my mobile number? Maybe not.

Not much in the way of correspondence and meetings, so I took myself off to meet some real people. The weather was just right for a wee trip to the coast and take in a few village school sports days.

First stop was Peacehaven. It was the nicest of the coasties and had once been home to a thriving herring fleet. The fishermen's' cottages had been taken over by a famous colony of artists many years ago and some were now internationally famous. The new heidie was determined to stamp her mark on the place after taking over from Jeanie, who had been an institution and now was in one.

She had gutted the place and had thrown out all the "clutter and rubbish" that Jeanie had gathered over her 35 years of headship. Wide Range reading books, Fletcher maths books, racist geography books, old, empty packets of Capstan full-strength and broken trundle wheels were piled high in the skips in the playground.

Little Miss Moffat was full of herself and really annoyed me by rubbishing everything Old Jeanie had done. The sports day, non-competitive of course, was pleasant enough. After far too many sausage rolls and cream cakes, I made my excuses and left.

As I crossed the playground, I noticed an old, dust-encrusted canvas sticking out of the biggest skip. The frame was broken. It was filthy. I took it out of the mess and blew away the cobwebs. The signature was just legible - Joan Eardley. She had lived next to the school and had given them one of her unwanted pictures. Nobody saw me. I looked up into the perfectly blue sky. I heard voices. I heard an angelic choir. What budget cuts?

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