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Diary - Sunk by wee pain in the ..

I may be an E.R.S.S.E. but, according to Her Majesty's Inspectors, I am a damned good Education, Recreation and Social Services Executive. My leadership of what remains of E.R.S.S.E. is visionary, inspirational and highly effective. I am a leading light. Whether or not the light shines out of my.? No better not go there, Bridget.

The plaudits came in from every quarter. Our former Great Leader, Lars, sent me an e-mail from his holiday home in Bermuda. Wonder if Julie was there as well? The current party spokesmen were fairly complimentary, although I'll swear I heard two of them saying that the report would make it "harder to get rid of her now". This was denied when I interjected, and Councillor McPherson, blushing furiously, explained that he had merely said: "It's good to have a hand on the rudder now".

Liar. He will go to the Burning Fire. Along with the vast majority of his colleagues.

What now, Bridget? A leadership textbook? "A Bridget over Troubled Waters"? "A Bridget Too Far"? Perhaps a chat show, a radio programme, or even a regular column in the Times Ed.? I might be asked to take a masterclass at the university? I am now almost fire-proof: female, 50- plus, famous and feted.

I must admit that my views of the HMIs had changed. I was wrong to ridicule them, wrong to doubt their effectiveness and wrong to see them as a threat. They were, after all, justified judges of character, excellent evaluators of answers, able assessors of ability, solid sniffers of trails and pernickety perusers of paperwork. Could I be tempted to join them?

I was on cloud nine. The world was my oxter, as my old grandfather used to say. I was due to visit my favourite wee primary school that afternoon. I had a lovely time mixing with staff, parents, cleaners, cooks and children. It was a fantastic afternoon and took me back to my roots.

I was invited to take the P1-3 class for the last half-hour of the day. I loved it. It was what I really liked about teaching - class contact. We had the usual "wee accidents" due to the excitement of a stranger in the room, but we mopped them up and had a great time. We finished with the story of the Pied Piper and then I left the room in order for Carrie, the class teacher, to have the last words of the day. I gave one final wave to the class.

As I moved over to the door, one little snotty, grotty, shaven-headed urchin by the name of Wayne shouted out at the top of his voice: "Hoi Miss, thon big fat wifie's awa' wi' yer best marker pen!" I was maybe the best E.R.S.S.E. in Scotland, according to HMI, but I was - in his eyes - a stealer of marker pens. Don't tell the Senior Chief, Wayne. Certainly not the bit about being "fat". I'm not fat, am I?

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