Haunted by the house

2nd March 2007 at 00:00
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stay overnight in your school? It would certainly bring new meaning to the popular pupil misconception that teachers sleep in classroom cupboards and leap out afresh for morning registration.

I am dedicated, but not that dedicated. I am, however, in the throes of having some work done on my recently acquired Victorian cottage - cottage being the polite word for unusually small terrace house.

And, having not quite prepared myself for the chaos that such work generates, I'm beginning to think a classroom slumber party is not such a bad idea.

I've even worked out where my sleeping bag could go - there is a cosy little spot just behind the Life in a Saxon Village display. The art sink provides running water and the staffroom has a micro-wave. All mod cons really.

I could also provide a valuable school service by fending off local teenagers and miscreants with their penchant for midnight playground raids on our tricycle collection.

The caretaker thinks it's a good idea, although his long-suffering sarcastic smile tells me he grows weary of my daft and supposedly comic suggestions. "I'm serious," I protest, remembering the lone square foot of floor space that is the only habitable area of my tiny housecottage.

"But what about the white lady ghost with the furry finger?" he cautions.

"The what?" "The white la... Ooh, never mind. Just remember: the school is haunted."

Is this a joke? Or is there really a furry-fingered spectre roaming the corridors? Either way, I'm not scared. I'm a teacher for goodness' sake.

But later that day, just as I'm getting ready to leave, the lights flicker and a witchy cackle breaks the silence. I startle. Could it be? However, as I flee round the corner, there is the caretaker - grinning like a loon.

And he thinks I am the one with a pathetic sense of humour Louisa Leaman is a London teacher

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