Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Not evading but drowzing

Eek, a whole month since my last confession.. er, I mean post??

Zoiks, time flies when you're up to your armpits in work all day and falling asleep on the sofa every night. Can I even remember what I've been getting up to for a month?

Of course, first there was Rome. What a lovely trip that was, despite the fun an games getting there and back with sWizz air. Still, you gets what you pays for and, for the record, I ain't paying 4 euro for a can of coke just because we're a mile up in the sky. Call me tight but I wonder if I can get a couple of wet sponges through security?

The great thing about staying with friends abroad is you get the inside story on what the place is really like. Obviously not the juicy goss on what the Pope's been up to in his off hours but little titbits about life in another land. Over here we moan about the state of the roads and how so much business is conducted in cash. In Italy it's how Romans dump their rubbish all over the roadsides.

It's really true, I promise. Every layby, parking area and much of the main roads are adorned with binbags, a most fetching sight for any tourist. And in between there are the massive dumpster bins the local government has placed at regular intervals in a hopeful, but futile, attempt at containing the stuff.


I'm afraid my repertoire of Italiano didn't progress much further than 'Chianti por favore' but I did become a dab hand at Guitar Hero, as did Nobby. One night we were up until the wee small hours and about 4 bottles down before we finally ran out of Bon jovi to jam along to. What a great invention I tell you. Something for everyone - Nobby on bass, me on lead and Mrs K herself on vocals, with her kids shaking their heads in bewilderment at the old folk getting busy with the big toys then putting us to shame with their high speed plucking.

Naturally we stopped into wave at the boss down at the Vatican. He's got a great front yard you know. We took the kids on an open top bus around the city, bombing through St Peter's Square, tossing coins in the Trevi Fountain and gaping in awe at the Colisseum.

Pickle was very taken with the architecture and, with help from Nobby, produced a highly informative Rough Guide documentary to the Colisseum, including facts like where to find the cheap seats and how to check if a felled gladiator was really dead(red hot poker apparently. Nice.)

Poppet discovered a love of cycling and had us exploring our friends' gated community using pedal power, dodging Ferraris and Lambourginis all the way whilst straining to glimpse the Italian football stars inside them - it seems Mrs K and family are rubbing shoulders with the well-off and well-known round their way. I wonder how many of them have Guitar Hero?

After Rome we attended The Royal Wedding via satellite link at the British Embassy, daaaarling. You can't argue with a free bar, an English snack shop, a four tier wedding cake and a good old English Street Party. You should have seen the faces of some of the local folks passing by the small car park in front of the Embassy which was adorned with red, white and blue bunting, ballons and awnings while Brits in their finery munched on sausage rolls and cucumber sandwiches.

Pickle and Poppet did well on the tombola, winning a free entry to a local spa, a water pistol and a bottle of bitters. Pickle reckons that since he pulled the winning ticket, he should get to go to the spa and he devised an intricate selection process to decide who he should take along. We're hoping a pair of tickets to the circus might prove a tempting swap so Nobby and Me can go instead.

The English Shop did well out of me, though Nobby was unimpressed by the goregeously cute Union Jack door-stop doggy I had him lugging home. Luckily a couple of cream eggs soon shut him up.

Since then, sadly it has been work, work, work. I have two new students to integrate into my class, taking me to a grand total of eighteen now (yes, I can hear you UK teachers laughing - but how many of your groups of 30 are 90% non-English speaking?!) There has been fun and games chasing the incredible disappearing new-kid, who I eventually tracked down in the upper school toilets because one needs a big loo with a lockable door for one's sit-down business.

I have also banned silly bands - the latest craze here is multi-coloured, multi-shaped elastic bands which cost about £1.50 for a big bag and require close examination and swapping at every hour of the day. I had to draw the line when one child came with only his slightly blue-toned hands visible under the masses of bands round his wrists which made his arm stick to the desk so he couldn't write.

One final confession is the great night out I had with fellow teachers, which was meant to be a civilised dinner and a few drinkies afterwards. The dinner was just perfect - we are operating our own Come Dine With Me syndicate but without the scoring just yet - then somehow we ended up on party island boogie-ing away in a packed out club, fending off a new-to-Budapest party animal who was prowling the throng for new friends. I'm not sure when the signal went up for everyone to leave but we suddenly found ourselves alone on the dancefloor.

'Where shall we go now?!!' I called to B, who was trying, and failing, to give Mr Keen the wrong mobile number.

'Er, look outside,' she said.

I went. I looked.

It was daylight.

Like I said, time flies...