Thank God it's Friday

19th December 1997 at 00:00
Monday: Gold, frankincense and mirth are with us again and a star-struck seven-year-old has drawn a picture of the three kings. His caption reads "To Jesus. If you really, really want any more gold I'll fix it. Love, Melchior. " Clare turns to him. "Jesus had a mackerel conception," she whispers. but Miss overhears the confidence. "No wonder he became a fisher of men," she concludes.

Tuesday: A teacher is late because her car was vandalised overnight. But the police think they've already traced the culprit - he dropped a Christmas card from his probation officer. Meanwhile, a reception infant scribbles busily then proudly announces: "It's my Baby Jesus story." So Miss asks him to tell her about it. "That's what you're meant to do. You're the one who can read, " she's told. She patiently replaces her eyebrows from a point at least one halo above her head and begins "Once upon a time ...." "That's not what I wrote!" he interrupts.

Wednesday: The contractor arrives to test the electric fire alarm bells (all 15 of them) during the nativity play rehearsal.

Class parties begin and I'm judging the fancy dress competition. There are several Teletubbies competing with more seasonal outfits but Laa Laa has cleverly become a Christmas pudding and wins my vote comfortably. Whereupon a witty mum-helper suggests we wing the Halle-laa-laa Chorus. Then the children tuck in and Jamie shovels food down as fast as he can. "Christmas is when our dog is sick," he says. Understatement, I reckon.

Thursday: It's the dress rehearsal today, but first we have to plunder the staffroom for tea-towel headgear since the originals were mistakenly used after the party and are now in the wash.

Friday: The main performance opens with a rare theological perspective of the immaculate conception when James spread his arms into a flying position and yells "Behold the handyman of the Lord." Later, Melchior is literally undone when he falls down to worship Jesus, bursts his Velcro wide open and reveals his Chelsea football strip.

Mishaps are essential to the afternoon's enjoyment though, and the vicar concludes it by asking the parents to put their hands together, intending them to applaud. However, the angels are already in praying mode and the cast all follow suit. Nobody minds in the least. All's well that ends, er, well, and anyway Shakespeare would surely have approved. Happy Christmas everyone.

Luke Darlington is headteacher of St Mary's C of E Primary School in Yate, Bristol

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