Sunday, 22 February 2009


"Hmmm....." It's jolly difficult you know, to read expression in the written word. I mean, take that Hmmm which the Deputy Head so kindly left. Could it be taken as a murmur of approval, shorthand say for "Goodness gracious, I didn't know the dear girl had been paying attention so intently in class, and to apply herself to work outside the classroom so energetically, well, I am gratified...." or " What a clever pupil, and how gratifying that she should use me as the role model....."
(New paragraph)It's not easy you see unless you can hear the tone of voice that was used. Emphasis is the word I think our erstwhile Head of English, one E.ver P.resent (well he's always hovering nearby when mischief is afoot) Armstrong, would use. You can follow the reasoning in the sentence, "the cat sat on the mat", as in "the CAT sat on the mat", "the cat sat on the MAT", or "the cat SAT on the mat."..... three different emphases..
So back to ol Postie and his Hmmmm...... There is of course a third option, the hmmm forced through gritted teeth, the raising of the eyebrows, the scowl, the fingers twitching as if holding an imaginary cane. Knowing my station in life, as a lowly pupil at private school, I reluctantly admit I rather favour the latter.... The choice that is, not the consequences. I don't want to be on the carpet again, it's starting to wear a bit thin where my feet shuffle about, explaining myself to an irate Beak, but in an unfair world I think the last line of the poem will come to fruition, and Sir will doom me to Detention.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Poetry Appreciation.

One of my favourite lessons at New Grange Manor is English. I'm also very interested in History, but that's a subject for another day. Anyway, I've learned quite a bit about the different types of poetry, ballads, narrative verse, sonnets, limericks etc. One of the types which appealed to me was parody. I found an interesting poem in a St Jim's book, by, I think, the author of the Billy Bunter stories. it seemed to cry out for parodying, so here goes.......

The Deputy Head.

He stalks abroad in cap and gown,
His countenance is thund’ry;
He wears a fierce forbidding frown
Which startles all and sundry
When Mr Melman’s on the prowl
A leather belt tightly gripping,
Few stop to meet his angry scowl-
To safety they go skipping.

No sterner tyrant walked the earth
Since the fierce days of Nero:
No connoisseur of human worth
Could hail him as a hero.
But NGM children dislike him not,
And Susie , Beth and Tommy Mac
Continually applaud their lot;
They’ve such respect for Postman Pat.

In those “unhappy far-off days”
Of which the poet prattles,
Timothy, perhaps, had childish ways,
And played with hoops and rattles.
But if he ever was a youth.
(And many NGM-ers doubt it)
Our Postie has, to tell the truth
Forgotten all about it!

What makes him so severe and stern?
That is a puzzling question:
Perhaps he often gets a turn,
Of painful indigestion!
Perhaps a pessimist is he
Who pines in sad seclusion,
And sees in life no fun or glee,
But sadness and delusion.

To spare the rod and spoil the child,
Is not his resolution:
In fact, when Ol’ Melman’s wild,
He does great execution!
To rule by kindness, not by fear,
Should be his fixed intention:
But when he reads what’s written here,
He’ll doom Bethany Grant to detention!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Mundane Thoughts

I recently bought a video of "Madagascar". I'm not a fan of cartoons, but rumour had it that our Deputy Head has the same name as one of the stars of the film, so curiosity got the better of me. Interesting... the psychology I mean.... He didn't choose Mr Alex, the lion, the brave leader of the...... er.... gang rather than pack I think. Or Gloria, although I can maybe see his thinking re that particular character, or Marty the adventurous zebra, no he went for bumbling, cautious ol Melman, the one with the neck. As I say, interesting. It's made me think about the other names that our groan ups have chosen, or had thrust upon them.
Mr Armstrong is fairly obvious, the bloke does have strong arms, and a certain skill in placing a stroke.... No doubt all that cricket that he gets up to when not incarcerated in the Home for the Frail and Bewildered. You'll remember the place I think, the beaks were sent there when the NHS closed down their other Home. EPA., as he likes to be known ( Edward Peregrine perhaps... we really must investigate this ) found his niche in the basement once again, where he hangs upside down, from the rafters, like a bat.
Miss Brookes probably thought she was fairly safe. A short snappy name. But lateral thinking is de rigeur at NGM, and from Brooke we arrived at Brooke Bond, and from there it was a simple step to arrive at Miss Teabags.
Matron Godders, is easy, from Matron we get Matey, because School Matrons are supposed to be kind, motherly, the repository of our darkest fears........ it's a bit of a blow to find that ours has 20/20 vision and eyes in the back of her head. No getting any naughtiness past her!
Miss Livingstone, our erstwhile Headmistress. What a gift her name is. Such possibilities for even the least naughty of our schoolchildren.... Miss Liversausage (my favourite) Livingboobs (usually from the naughty boys) Pavingslabs...the list is endless.
And then comes Miss Molestrangler. Now that is a name to conjure with. I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone who chooses Molestrangler as a name should perhaps be treated with kid gloves...psychology again!
Mr Reaman, is he a real man. or a remnant ...being rather new, we haven't quite got our heads together over this one.......
Miss Trescothick..... another weird and wonderful name...a devil to spell, especially backwards, and almost impossible to pronounce when one is in the grip of great emotions, having perhaps, just been discovered causing inappropriate noises in class. The dear lady does have sharp hearing! But again, another wonderful name to play with, Miss Teacosy is my favourite, and as we have Miss Teabags, they do rather make a set!
So these are our (more or less) regular Beaks. (For the uninitiated, a Beak is a term of endearment for a Schoolmaster/Mistress. Eyebrows have risen when individual teachers have been referred to as Beaks, but then, it is so much more respectful, and kinder, than Muppet....
So that's the faculty at New Grange Manor, interesting bunch, and bane of the life of misunderstood pupils!