Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

One Too Many Wonka Bars

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

One Too Many Wonka Bars

Article excerpt

Waiting around to see a doctor is bad enough. Being shunned by total strangers while you do it is frankly unacceptable. The last person to come into this already packed waiting room sat beside a highly infectious and incredibly whingey child just to avoid sitting next to me. Was it my bright orange face and green hair that upset him? Or could it have been my white dungarees with stripy stockings?

Whatever the immediate cause of my social discomfort, I blame the crisis in general practice. There are just too many patients and not enough GPs. And if I'd known my appointment was going to be delayed by more than 30 minutes, I would have gone home first and changed into something less conspicuous. This outfit was my wife's idea. I originally planned to go as Mr Twit.

"We've had a fancy dress day at school," I tell an old man with a chest infection who accidentally catches my eye between coughing spasms. "I'm a primary teacher. I don't normally dress like this. Well, only at the weekend." The room breathes a collective sigh of relief. The old man resumes his bronchial attack. I pick up a leaflet about testicular cancer.

Our Dahlicious Dress-up Day wasn't just a superific way to raise money for good causes, it was a whizz-banging learning opportunity, too. At the end of a day packed to the gizzards with marvellous storytelling, fantastic writing and incredible drama, the children gathered for circle time. This was their chance to tell each other everything they had learned about their favourite Roald Dahl characters. …

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