Thank God it's Friday

28th February 2003 at 00:00
Monday The site manager greets me as I walk in. He says we have a water leak that is equivalent to a garden hose pipe going at full pelt somewhere.

He doesn't know where the leak is. As we are on a water meter this could be a serious financial and environmental loss. Under "fair funding" arrangements, we don't know if it will be the school that has to pay.

Tuesday It's the annual parents' meeting, with a good turnout of 21, including governors. The atmosphere is amicable, which, with the attendance, I take to be a good sign. We talk about the costs of running the school, especially the water pouring down the drain. As the chair is summing up, a mouse runs across the stage behind her. It's the highlight of the evening.

Wednesday The pest control man sets his trays of poison. He finds evidence of our friends in several places, including the stage. Worse, he finds larger droppings, possibly from a rat, under the stage. Disastrously, the rat or mice may have peed on the jumble stored there for the jumble sale on Friday evening. We have to throw it away and start again.

Thursday We have dopey mice everywhere. The caretaker is dispatching them with his broom. There is a link between the mice and the leak: the theory is that the leak has filled the ducts under the school and the mice have been driven upwards. New jumble arrives. Will we have enough for tomorrow?

Friday I help PTA members lay out the jumble in the hall, thinking it will take a matter of minutes, but it takes a couple of hours because we sort it out with unexpected precision. Exactly 21 people turn up, but not the same 21 who came to the parents' meeting. We make pound;43. It's not enough to pay for the water leak.

Phil Bloomfield is head of Fitzharrys school, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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