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In your own time - Bog brushes, holiday hassle and a bout of blurting

Oddest gifts, caravan capers, a run on verbal diarrhoea and 'square' teenagers are all the talk among folk on the forums

Oddest gifts, caravan capers, a run on verbal diarrhoea and 'square' teenagers are all the talk among folk on the forums

With schools closed for the holidays, teachers in the online staffroom began their annual contest to see who received the weirdest end- of-year present. There were plenty of entries: dizzyblonde1969 received a bag of potatoes (complete with dirt) from one of her pupils; dfryer got a goldfish and dancergirl received a plastic toilet brush. Lardylady said she was still disturbed after getting a turkey baster last year while Kirstenly had been handed a matchbox containing a seriously disgruntled spider "scrunched up inside".

Tiffster's school is located opposite a 99p store, so staff have been forced to construct a special shelf in the staffroom after receiving "one spangly plaster cat ornament too many". Apparently, the gifts of "DayGlo 3D pictures, plastic flowers, little resin models of kittens holding hearts and a clear plastic toilet seat" hold great sentimental value but are capable of "inducing hives and vomiting in anyone with a modicum of taste".

Bethannie was unable to decide whether her most inappropriate gift had been a half-smoked joint or the offer of a tattoo ("My mate does them and they're really good - he'll use a fresh needle if you ask!"). Let's hope she doesn't teach in primary.

Some teachers still haven't decided where they are going on holiday. FenellaF put a last-minute call out for suggestions for good locations in the UK where she could take her son in their caravan. Recommendations included Dorset, Cornwall and "The Tank Museum at Blandford" (MartinBlank insists that this attraction is "very interesting"). But Grumpydogwoman was left unconvinced by the proposed British tourist attractions. "There may be a solution," she wrote. "Send the kid to Gran and go abroad?"

The start of the holidays is, of course, also a good time to catch up on overdue visits to the doctor. But coffeekid said she felt increasingly anxious talking to her GP and was therefore prone to blurt out nonsense. Other teachers suffer the same problem. "I was nervous when I saw the consultant before my operation a couple of weeks ago," explained poemeelectronique. "In fairness, he was about to stick a knife in me, but I blabbered on so much that he glazed over and politely told me that I was in for the procedure on the form and nothing else."

Buntycat has also rambled when faced with authority figures. During a job interview, she lied that she read New Scientist. Asked about any articles she had seen recently, she blurted: "AIDS - you can get it from monkeys." Amazingly, she still got the job.

Holiday viewing for teachers has included Channel 4's Amish: World's Squarest Teenagers, which sparked discussions about the "squarest teenagers" they had met. Lurk_much knows "a 16-year-old girl who has a joint National Trust membership with her boyfriend", adding that, understandably: "Her dad is quite worried." The idea that a teenager would spend weekends willingly touring historic country houses was too much for Lilyofthefield. "I'm ringing social services," she announced.

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