Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
What do you want to be if you grow up?
I sit sipping coffee in the morning sunshine, safe in the knowledge that my new, glamorous assistant-come-apprentice is busy finishing off an urgent job as he has been since 7.30 this morning. He is doing very well, and all I have to do is start him off by demonstrating a patch and how to deal with it, then leave him to it.
It is not ideal, but I just cannot be with him the whole time, and in any case, it is the wrong time of year/life for me to get up at 5.30 to go to work. This is why I aint rich. Also, the item is too small for two people to huddle over it. The other thing is that I am genuinely juggling a few projects at the same time, and one of them requires me to send and respond to emails in the morning - honest.
I was on my client's estate yesterday when I heard the sound of a fire engine racing around the grounds with siren wailing and - presumably - lights flashing as well. The actual estate covers an area which would easily accommodate a largish village, so I was disconcerted to hear it suddenly turn around and go in a different direction - sometimes away from the house and sometimes toward it. Were they lost, I began to wonder? You really cannot miss the main house, so I also began to wonder if the driver was either blind or stupid.
This carried on for a disconcertingly long period of time before the engine finally appeared in the yard of the estate, lights switched off and panic over. I asked where the fire was and was told that the machine had just been booked to give the children - on half-term holiday - a ride in it.
Anyone can book a ride in a fire engine by simply making a donation to the station, and I think the firemen love it. There are always pictures in local newspapers of children wearing massive, yellow helmets, when a visit is made to a school to show the children the correct way of setting fire to themselves, and this is a real social service.
Am I unusual in that I never wanted to either drive a fire engine or a train when I was a kid? The thought never occurred to me to do either when I was asked what I would like to be a little later in my life.
I started out saying that I wanted to keep up the family tradition by joining the RAF, then the reality of doing that was brought home to me by my brother, who was sent to hostile areas such as the Yemen and duplicitous Cyprus.
So I declared an ambition to be a T.V. cameraman when asked by an adult about the future, and one of the adults was a maths teacher. I was absolutely appallingly bad at simple mathematics.
He told me that I stood no chance of being a cameraman, because you needed a degree in maths to work out camera-angles, and in an instant he destroyed a really achievable dream, just because I actually believed him.
This is just another example of how bad the school I went to was, and how nasty, mean-spirited and ignorant teachers can wreck a child's life (not that mine was wrecked) by pretending to be a teach and getting paid for it.