Magazine article The Spectator

Food

Magazine article The Spectator

Food

Article excerpt

SORRY, but I'm still obsessed with this secondary-schools business. Indeed, in my small, panic-stricken corner of Islington few talk of anything else, particularly the mothers. I ask my partner why he thinks the mothers are getting much more worked up about this than the fathers. He says it's because women are, generally, significantly more hysterical. I am offended by this, and would have said as much, in no uncertain terms, plainly and frankly, had I not burst into tears and then locked myself in the bathroom for a lengthy session of sobbing, hair-pulling-out, self-harming and headbanging. Sometimes, he just doesn't know what he's talking about.

Yes, we've looked round the local state school now, had the full tour. And? Well, we were shown the special room for children with Learning Difficulties, the special room for children with Special Needs, the special room for Refugee Children, the special room for children with Especially Special Needs, the special room for English as a Second Language, the special room for children Whose Parents Beat Them Up, the special room for children who Keep Setting Fire to Things, the special room for children who Keep Setting Fire to the Family Pet Particularly, the special room for children who are Gun-Toters and Drug-- Pushers ... you get my drift. Now, while I don't resent any of these children having special rooms - truly, I don't - I would quite like to have seen a special room for children with learning abilities. I put this to the head, who just sort of looked at me like the middle-class hysteric I am. I'm not sure what would make me feel better. A MiddleClass Room for children with special Middle-Class Needs? With books, a renovated Victorian fireplace, organic snacks, a nice Portuguese daily, a total ban on Sunny Delight and a Volvo with roof-rack laid on for school trips? Actually, I think this is an inspired idea. They should make me head of education in Islington. Possibly, they would if it weren't for my bald patches, bruised forehead and the unsightly cuts on my legs. Even I can see I'd look rubbish on the cover of the council's annual report.

Anyway, my partner in crime in all this, so to speak, is my friend Louisa, who lives down the road and whose eldest son is my son's best friend and who is in the same position as us, only magnified rather, because she has three younger boys to educate as well. Louisa and I spend most nights on the phone, worrying away at this schools business, while our partners groan with boredom in the background and make strange circling movements with their fingers at their temples. They have a point. The endless conversations get us nowhere, but we just can't help ourselves. Louisa and I would like to know if anyone knows of an operation available such that we might have our 'hysters' removed. (We're Bupa-d, by the way, so are not put off by waiting-lists which, thank God, we can jump.)

Whatever, during one of our marathon phone calls, I ask Louisa and her lot round for supper on the Saturday as, apart from anything else, I still rather owe her for the time I 'borrowed' her boys in order to write a piece on McDonald's and they were sick all night. The invitation is issued on the understanding that it'll have to be a takeaway - heavens, I'm much too busy fretting to cook - but I can't think of what that takeaway might be. Home-delivered takeaways, in most instances, are almost too horrible for words - you know, the Chinese in which no amount of MSG has been spared, the flaccid pizza, the Indian that comes under several inches of frighteningly vivid orange fat and, if left out overnight, looks like radiated cat litter by the morning. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.