As a result, for years a metaphorical trench warfare has been waged between teachers and parents, each claiming that it is the other's responsibility to nuture the child into a well educated and rounded individual.
Having read both sides of the argument, I have concluded that their are two main reasons why most children leave school virtually illerate:
1. Without wanting to sound too much like a communist (i.e. I supported the teachers on this one), - there too are many parents out there today who are lazy nobs, and they expect the school to take on the role of parent as well as educator. It's easy to spot the lazy nob parents because they generally wear pyjamas on the school run, and have badly dyed hair (so they look a bit like a badger), and they are always late. And they sometimes feed their children Smartie sandwiches for lunch.
Pic.No.1 A Smartie Sandwich. It's a pikey version of Pain au Chocolat
2. But the main reason why children are illerate these days is because they are always on bloody holiday. I remember the olden days - I would eat pebbles for breakfast because we were so poor, and then I would walk 5 miles to school in the driving snow wearing only a motheaten sackcloth. These days, kids don't know they are born. They get driven to school in their parents' 4x4 (SUV), nibble on their feta and olive paninis during lunchbreak, quaff organic cranberry juice when thirsty, and have at least one friend called Tarquin.
So, as you have probably already guessed - last week there was yet another bloody holiday at Izzy's school - this time it was a half term holiday. I am not sure how many terms there are in the school year, but given the amount of time they are on holiday, I would estimate that there are about 15.
In fact they are on holiday so often, that I frequently forget the route back to school once it starts again.
Anyway ....... back to the holiday. Generally Steve (Izzy's Dad) and I share the holiday care. But this time, it wasn't possible because Steve had gone and got himself a shift-job making driveshafts for motor racing teams. So it was all down to me.
It's a good job that I had arranged to visit my chum Sarah in Leeds then. As you know, Sarah is a teacher and a bloody maestro when it comes to dealing with children .... and Izzy absolutely hero worships her. So, on Tuesday morning, we jumped into my big, bad bling machine and set off on the three hour journey from Oxford to Leeds.
Pic.No.2 The route from Oxford to Leeds
The journey took three and a half hours, and Izzy primarily entertained herself by putting one of her (extremely) wobbly teeth into comedy positions, pulling funny faces and photographing the result. Kids are weird.
Eventually, we arrived at Sarah's house in Leeds at late afternoon, and the first thing I noticed was that a bloody huge funfair had pitched itself on the large field at the end of her road.
"There's a huge bloody funfair at the end of your street," I said to Sarah when she opened the front door.
"I had kind of noticed," Sarah said, pointing out the obvious and making me look like a div. "Anyway," she continued, "we are going there once you have unpacked your stuff."
Huzzar! To the funfair we go ............. and because I am kinder than Mother Theresa (except without the warts), I have got some funfair pictures for you.
Pic.No.3 This is Izzy playing the 'Hook a Duck' game. In the end, she won a choice of three prizes and to my dismay, she selected a fleabitten manky stuffed dog thing. In triumph, Izzy held the manky dog thing aloft and exclaimed; "She's called Snuggly!" She then kissed it square on it's polyester mouth.
Calm it Izzy, you don't want to be kissing that thing without an earthing strap and Hep C jab. Why is it that kids are attracted to the most revolting toys in their vicinity?
Pic.No.4 This is Izzy on a Bumpy Slide. Darn it - I exceeded the age limit so I couldn't have a go
Pic.No.5 Izzy on a frankly macabre caterpillar roller-coaster
Pic.No.6 The creepy macabre roller-coaster in action. Izzy said that it was rubbish because it didn't go fast enough. That's my gal!
Pic.No.7 Blimey! The lesser spotted Sarah makes an appearance in the blog (she normally doesn't make the final cut, because for some reason, it is virtually impossible to take a good photograph of her). So having her here is the equivalent of spotting a Yeti
Pic.No.8 Izzy insisted on taking Sarah on this ride. Basically they were shoehorned into a small capsule which then chugged into the small dark hole at the bottom (of the picture above), and ascended vertically to the top. After that it was freefall round the helter skelter ..... Marvellous! I can still picture Sarah's blood curdling screams in my mind's eye
Pic.No.9 Dusk started falling on the funfair, so all the lights looked as bright and sparkly as ever and the sky seemed to belong somewhere far away
Pic.No.10 This is Izzy - She had just come out of the 'Fun House' - hardcore kiddie entertainment
Pic.No.11 Yes, it's me. I had forgotten how cold it was up North and I accidentally wore my Southern coat. I was bloody freezing and nearly died of hypothermia (actually I can't back that up). But luckily the ends of my fingers didn't fall off
The funfair was sure fun, but now it was time to teach Izzy some life skills ....
"What bloody life skills?" I hear you cry.
Gambling. That's what. And who better to teach Izzy the nuances of gambling than a northerner. Northerners are, after all, the masters of bingo.
Stage right ...... enter Sarah .........................
"50p in 2p coins is all I need," she stated, "and I will keep Izzy amused for at least an hour."
Wow, that's what I call a deal.
Wow, that's what I call a deal.
So I ran to the woman who handed out change, and after obtaining my booty, I ran back to Sarah and Iz.
"Here are your coins," I said, proffering them the shiney discs.
And then they did this .............................
Pic.No.12 The Penny Waterfall arcade game. Sarah explains the strategy (i.e. put the 2p piece in the slot)
Pic.No.13 The aim of the game is to use your 2p to push the pennies in the machine off their shelf, so that they drop into the winners slot
Pic.No.14 And did she win? You betcha she did ......................
Pic.No.15 Aw, I have never seen anyone look so happy to win 18p in coins. Isn't it great not knowing the value of money? Oh and on her lap you can also see the manky stuffed toy that she won earlier
Sarah was right about the penny waterfall machine - 50p did indeed keep her entertained for about an hour. Note to self: I must look into getting one of those at home. It would keep her amused, and I would make a profit to boot.
By the time Izzy had finished gambling, the temperature had dropped, so we headed back to Sarah's house. But about half an hour after arrived back, we heard the sounds of a fireworks dispaly coming from the funfair. So we ran upstairs to Sarah's bedroom and watched it through the window.
Vid.No.1 (75 seconds) Fireworks at the Leeds Funfair
So dahlink, did you have school holidays last week? If so, what did you get up to? And what have you been doing this weekend?