P&J Column for 3.11.14

Paying for bags and drop-offs at the airport – what is this, trick or treat season?

Jonathan M Lewis, local Headteacher, on the privilege of educating your children

Today truly is a special day for the pupils and parents of Garioch Academy. And the staff, of course, I forgot the staff. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate have announced that Garioch will be the next school to have the benefit of a school inspection. Sadly, this joyous announcement has not come without further attempts to besmirch my leadership from less supportive quarters of our community.

First of all, suggestions that Garioch “finally ran out of brown envelopes” are unhelpful. How little my critics know about the running of the school. We are out of treasury tags, white-board pens and any remaining photocopying budget – but we are replete with manila-coloured envelopes in three sizes.

Secondly, despite cynical comments to the contrary, the concentrated programme of improvements and renovations scheduled for the next 2 weeks are entirely unrelated to the impending inspection. I had always planned for the fortnight long closure of the toilets to remove the anti-Thatcher graffiti and the ‘slogies’ that adorn the walls. It is just coincidence that they will re-open on the day our inspectors arrive.

Finally, conspiracy theorists allege that Garioch Academy will strive to keep some of our more ‘enthusiastic’ pupils at home during the inspection. Nonsense; although I do defend the school’s policy of sending pupils home if we suspect they are afflicted by the winter vomiting bug. So if, the day before the inspection, it should happen to the case that some of the second year lads look a bit peaky, I will not hesitate to take action. Best take no chances where inspections are concerned! Er, health; of course, I meant health.

Tim Bee, the conscientious objector

At times of deep recession, history demonstrates the inevitability of the rise to power of those visionaries who protest against job cuts, rising living costs and pointless road-works at Auchinyell. With this in mind, I write now to object to two blatant money-making scams announced this week, to which I object.

Firstly, I was outraged to hear that family members, loved ones and innocent non-airport taxi drivers are going to be charged for the privilege of dropping off passengers at the airport. I might object less if I thought there was a problem with over-crowding of cars and taxis dropping off, but when is the time that you do get delayed? The taxi queue when you get back! “Welcome home, Tim”, I think to myself when, after half an hour of unbearable cold and worse chat from those around me, I eventually enter the cab of a taxi-driver who is STILL banging on about the referendum. I recently objected to a driver on this very point. I shan’t be doing so again. The walk home from Forrit Brae to Peterculter is pretty grim at night. That reminds me – must write to the council to complain about lack of pavements on that route.

Secondly, imagine my dismay to discover that I was going to be charged for using plastic bags for my weekly shop! Well, I marched right down to my local supermarket to object in the strongest possible terms. “I will not carry bags of my own around with me!”, I declaimed. “I object to being made to conform to a stereotypical weekly shopper by a corporate behemoth whose tight margins are destroying the UK’s agricultural and farming industry!” Then I further demonstrated my displeasure by seeing how many tins of tomato soup I could knock over with a well-aimed kumquat.

Naturally, I object to being carried away in a police van shortly thereafter. My letter of complaint to Police Scotland is a work in progress.

View for the Midden: Jock Alexander, presenter of MTV (Meikle Wartle Television)

Weel, it’s been a recalescent wikend here in the village. Reports hiv indicated that it wiz the warmest Halloween since records began, and michty, I can confirm this. Usually at this time o year, the residents o Meiklewartle are hunkered doon in front of their roaring fires wi within but a flagon o nettle an neep and the intermitent broadcast signal fae MTV studios oot in my shedie. But this year we’ve seen temperature’s soar tae the tropical heights of gye near 10 degrees. We’ve nivver seen the like! It wiznae only those planning elaborate Trick or Treat activities that were plottin, let me tell ye. But it’s true, Halloween traditions have changed o’er the years. I’m sure mony of ye can mine the time when wee kiddies jist went door tae door ‘guisin’.

Noo, their parents come an’a, and ging door to door ‘bleezin’. It’s much the same, but they demand a wee dram rather nor a sweetie. And they do tend tae fling dung at ye if the drinks cabinet’s run teem. Halloween’s just become an excuse fer aulder fowl tae pit on their funcy dress. And indeed this year’s balmy heat has only increased the amount o’ Sexy Witches, Slinky Cats and ghosts and ghoulies stottin aboot the streets efter dark. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing for a return tae the good aul days of only needing tae worry aboot wee kiddies gan aboot efter dark, wi nae the additional worry of some twenty something dressed as a cave girl boakin on yer lawn and daein’ a face-plant into yer chuckies. But I did get a frisson of good aul-fashioned terror just past midnight fan I took a trip tae my outside cludgie, only tae bump intae a hideous, hairy creature wi a gaping maw, restin against my gable end. Michty, a heatwave-filled Halloween is frightening as ever fan ye stumble o’er Feel Moira wi her top aff haein a snooze against yer wa’. Cheerio!