Latte and a little escape

We all need little treats in life, and one of mine is a weekly visit to my local coffee shop, where I sit with a lovely latte and my trusty laptop and perform my duty as writer of this column.

It is just so JK Rowling. It is like living every writer's dream: I can escape from reality and happily immerse myself in words, ideas and caffeine. The friendly barrista often asks how I concentrate with so much chatter going on around me. "I work in a school," I tell him. "I'm used to it."

Besides, in true writer fashion, I like tuning into people's conversations, and picking up details of real-life character and plot development.

Recently, however, my coffee shop jaunts have been disturbed by an invasion of well-heeled young mums.

They arrive, like a tribe of WAGs, with their big hair and unfeasibly manicured finger-nails. They park their 4WD prams across the seating area, and then allow their baby Paris or Kenwood to shred napkins, while their jaws set to work dissecting all the ills of the education system - of which their oldest child-ren, Trixie La La and Motorhead, are unwitting victims.

Little do they know that they have an off-duty teacher lurking behind them, cringing and grimacing every time they use the phrase: "So I told that Miss Whatserface, that he needs to have his mobile phone switched on because he is dyslexic..."

I am comfortable with the sound of teachers talking about teaching - I am even prepared to listen to what MPs have to say, but when it comes to the vocalisations of dyna-mum, I have a strong urge to rise up and fight, to shake her size 0 shoulders and say:

"You just don't know the half of it." Do I say something? Sadly no. I sit back, quietly consuming my coffee (and my anger) and vow to buy a set of top-quality earplugs Louisa Leaman is a London teacher

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