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Virginia Fisher-Giles, School Secretary, self-elevated to PA, answered the


St Birinus Middle, ranked ‘outstanding’ by Ofstead….I’m afraid he is in a


(Snod was in his private loo attached to the Head’s


May I ask who’s calling?  His daughter.  I see. (It was that harpist woman.)

I’ll ask him to return your call.  Thank you so much and


‘Daughter!’  This must be one of his emotional scars, she reasoned.

In fact, she seems more like a cicatrice.  Or is it cockatrice? He will need

the equivalent of a course in behavioural Botox, or a Gestalt blowtorch

session to deal with any emotions stirred up by her. 

What was that prayer they had said in Assembly last week?  It was some

Gestalt mantra :

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.
She had intoned it to herself over the past few days, but it wasn’t

doing her any favours in the relationship department.  She had thought

of having a calligrapher make a version for her which she

could have framed and could hang it in her office.

She particularly liked the line about not being in the world to live up to

other people’s expectations.  She could hang it as a reminder in Snod’s

study instead…

And that daughter was certainly no oil painting when I saw her at the PTA

event.  Can’t understand Milford-Haven drooling all over her. Disgusting.

No finesse.  Either of them.

Wonder what she wants?

Snod came into her office.  Virginia wanted to inform him that his flies were

undone, and almost resorted to that time-worn cliche: You’re flying low!

but realised that the time was not ripe.

Instead she said, Your daughter phoned and would like you to return her call.

Snod took the post-it note and looked puzzled.  I thought she was teaching

this afternoon.  How odd.

He went back into his study and waited for the cistern to fall silent.  Virginia

held her breath and stood outside the door with a sheaf of papers that could

have waited a week for attention, but which gave her a rationale for


Dru, what’s the matter?  No, it’s not a fault on the line, it’s just..Never mind.

Just tell me what’s bothering you.