Homework under the bed;Miss Chalke's Summer Diary

14th August 1998 at 01:00
Monday July 27 Glorious, luxurious lie-in. Set radio alarm for the joy of constantly hitting the snooze button. There are just three problems:

* Nasty tea stains on bedding (must be time to take sheets to launderette, a regular school holiday task which gets done whether it needs it or not).

* It's pouring with rain, and will probably carry on until September. Summer crop-tops just don't look the same with blue skin and goosepimples.

* Since Rebecca the Overambitious Flatmate went to her mother's for the weekend to check out the local deputy headship vacancies, and Neil spent last night clubbing, I have a nasty suspicion that there are no clean mugs in the house.

Inspiration strikes. Ring Shelley and arrange to meet for greasy spoon breakfast in town in 20 minutes, leaving just enough time to clean teeth and scrape hair back.

Haven't seen Shelley for a couple of weeks as end of term has been so busy. Both order celebratory summer gutbusters and start telling her about Luke Smoulder, the man of my (increasingly desperate) dreams.

Have faceful of sausage and egg when there is a tap on my shoulder. It is Smouldering Luke, casually holding a takeaway cappucino and croissant and looking drop-dead in an immaculate linen suit. "Lizzie! Still dieting, I see. Well, don't work too hard." With that, he flashes a gorgeous (enticing?) smile and disappears. Mortified (but a bit encouraged, too). Shelley suitably impressed. Wish I'd ironed my T-shirt.

Wednesday July 29 Rebecca reappears from Milton Keynes with a Waterstones bag full of How To Get A Job In Management books. Her only ambition now, she informs us, is to be a deputy by 28 (which gives her about six months) and a head by 30. Oh, well, that's what a weekend with your mother and Boring John The Assistant Bank Manager Boyfriend does for you.

Settle down in front of the telly to enjoy Jerry Springer, having heard lurid details from mums at the school gate. Rebecca sighs loudly and informs me she is planning to spend the afternoon in school reading target-setting and policy documents in preparation for the interviews she will be getting come September. Wonder if Springer has yet devoted a show to When Murdering Your Flatmate Is The Only Option.

Thursday July 30 Bored, so have determined stab at tidying room. Manage clean sheet, a determined cull of the make-up drawer and -embarrassingly - find the homework Darren Smith swore he'd handed in and I didn't believe him. What the hell is it doing under the bed? And who did I confiscate the Ballerina Barbie (now an interesting shade of dust grey) and the tamagotchi from, and when?

Frequent disturbances as Rebecca calls me in to admire her new CV. Not entirely sure she should be listing all her Girl Guide badges and swimming certificates, but what do I know?

Agree to help Rebecca choose a suit in Mamp;S. Dull, dull, dull. Choose a selection of smalls in case I ever get lucky again. Bump into chairman of governors at checkout. She enthuses about Rebecca's suit and they strike up a conversation about Total Quality Management. Wish I'd bought a corset as well.

Neil's turn to cook, so he whips us up a little something from the Blessed Delia. Jolly nice it is too, even though he slightly singes - er, caramelises - the cranberry and coriander sauce.

Rebecca's recitations of choice bits of Transform Your Life With ISO 2001 drives us to the pub, where we commiserate about each other's love lives.

In a nutshell, we're both looking for Mr Right, and it's arguable whether Neil has a better chance while flogging computer gizmos to the bewildered in Dixons than I do flogging the 3Rs into the bewildered in Christine Hamilton Primary.

Minus points: Grimbury isn't exactly a gay mecca. Plus points: he cooks better than I do. And he doesn't spend the evening marking. And - a major plus point, this - he earns much more.

"Still, you're doing a vitally important, socially useful job, teaching the workers of the future. The Government says so. And money hasn't got anything to do with job satisfaction," points out Neil. I think of his soft-topped Golf and my soft-bottomed, ancient Clio. I think of turning into a Rebecca clone. In desperation, I even think of the Teacher Training Agency ads.

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