New Scrooge in town
As the first windows on the advent calendars open, it's time to find someone to play Scrooge for the Christmas pantomime. And would would you believe it, an ideal candidate has emerged: Treasury belt-tightener in chief, George Osborne.
Civil servants themselves were the latest victims of cutbacks due to his harsh austerity regime. Bigwigs such as Skills Funding Agency chief Geoff Russell were at first flattered to be invited to a celebration for the top 200 civil servants. But the feeling of goodwill and cheer didn't last long when they found they were being charged for the privilege.
FErret feels an unusual twinge of sympathy for the recipients of six- figure salaries and gold-plated pensions - Mr Russell, after all, took a pound;50,000 pay cut when the Learning and Skills Council was replaced. But the former KPMG man must know that this is what happens when you put the accountants in charge.
Teachers may not be accustomed to seeing their classrooms as hotbeds of romance. But something happened in the economics class at independent Brampton Sixth Form College 10 years ago that prompted 28-year-old Nishan Selvamanoharan to return there to pop the question to his girlfriend.
With the help of college staff, he picked up his girlfriend Sheena Popat from work, blindfolded her, and brought her back to the room where they had met 10 years before, which was decked out with flowers spelling out his proposal.
Of course, for the full effect, he should have brought the entire class back, including his teacher, passed a note around, and got a detention for his efforts. As it is, the future Mrs Selvamanoharan had to settle for dinner at the Dorchester. Congratulations, anyway.