Friday, 8 October 2010

Random Friday

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I do apologise for leaving you blogless yesterday. It was a one thing leads to another kind of day. There were errands; some cooking to be done; a favour to the older niece; more errands to collect the things I forgot the first time; work, obviously; and then a little cocktail in the evening, so I had to get all hostessy from six o'clock onwards. (The wonderful thing about having people round, apart from the good conversation, is it makes me tidy and plump and primp, and then I remember that I do rather love my little house, although it looks nothing like those elegant pictures in the decorating magazines.)

Today, my mind appears scattered in about eight different directions, so I shall fall back on randomness. Although I dearly love a meaty theme, I also quite like sending disconnected bulletins out into the blogosphere, so here goes:

1. Thing in which I have absolutely no interest:

The Apprentice. I have so little interest in Alan Sugar that I like to pretend he is not actually a real person.

2. Thing in which I normally would have keen interest, but oddly don't:

The formation of the Shadow Cabinet. It feels curiously old and stale, as if the selection has been going on for weeks. The media tried to make a sexy story out of husband and wife Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper going up against each other for Shadow Chancellor, but it had none of the epic sweep of the drama of the Miliband brothers. I am quite glad Alan Johnson was chosen in the end, because I like Alan Johnson, but I can't even get much worked up about that.

There is one interesting fact in it all: 40% of the new shad cab is privately educated. Bear in mind that I read that on the internets, so it may not be true. But if it is, it's really not very New Generation, is it?

3. Thing I am absolutely furious about:

One of the best and most interesting speeches at the Tory Conference was given by a vivid and fascinating teacher called Katharine Birbalsingh. In her young days, she was a Marxist, but she was so dispirited by the state of the education system under the Labour Government that she found herself coming round to the Conservative reforms. Hence her appearance at the conference. It was a brave and impassioned performance, and in every word you could hear how much she loved and cared for her pupils. She was the sort of dream teacher that children never forget.

She has now been suspended by her school, no one really knows why (the authorities are being very mealy-mouthed about it). It seems that no criticism will be brooked, even though she was talking about the system in general rather than any particular institution. The irony is that hers is a Church of England school, and they appear to have indulged in a petulant and not very Christian act.

Interestingly, this story only seems to have been picked up by two newspapers and two blogs so far. I hope it grows into an internet storm, and the idiot school is shamed into taking her back with a grovelling apology.

4. Thing which is making me laugh a lot:

This. To which I was directed by the always excellent India Knight.

5. Things for which I am yearning, but shall not have:

Bright scarlet acers. I have one tiny little one, which is not as happy as it might be, but every time I go to the garden centre I see magnificent grown specimens which make my heart beat with joy. Except they are three hundred pounds each. How can a six foot tree cost three hundred pounds? Are they raised from seed by blind nuns?

6. Utterly pointless thing which is sticking in my mind for no discernible reason:

The gentleman this week on Radio Four who used the word 'metaphorise'. Except metaphorise is not a word. I am all for the glorious elasticity of the English language, and you know I like to play about with it myself, but there are some neologisms which are too ugly to live, and I think that is one of them.

And now for your pictures, which today are of leaves, because I find I have a feeling for the leaves. It can't be all flowers, all the time:









Even though we are into October, few things have yet turned, so there are only brief flashes of scarlet and amber against the green. I find myself impatient for the serious autumn colour.

In the meantime, I distract myself with canine loveliness:




Happy Friday.


  1. The first sentence made me laugh, because yesterday I opened this blog 2-3 times to see if there was anything new.

  2. And a happy weekend to you. Am leaving for Melbourne on Sunday to see my children. Will be waiting for your posts (and the photographs) from

  3. Great Blog as ever.

    I do not think Katharine should ever be allowed back to the classroom.

    She should offered a top job in education review for daring to be honest and questions the system.

    Although a first stage review I would undertake would be to keep inspiring teachers IN the classroom rather than them move to management for advancement

  4. Your dogs are so serene, self-contained, at peace with themselves and the world, I can feel my blood pressure falling at the sight of them. Such lovely creatures are an example to us all.

  5. Alan Sugar is a real person noooooooo..........I must impale myself on my acer blind nuns willing which should make for quite a kinky weekend.

  6. I occasionally read that teacher's blog To Miss with Love. It has now been taken down as now her school is known the pupils she talked about will be blindingly obvious to anyone who knows them. The thing I remember most about the posts were not so much the complaints about targets but about the truly dreadful behaviour of children and more importantly parents that seemed to be a daily occurrence. Not sure any party can deal with that through policy.


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