Augustus Snodbury was trying to compose his Acting Head’s Report
for Speech Day. He was endeavouring, in vain, to find a string of lexical
chains to give rhetorical cohesion to his oration.
When I first came to the crease, I felt a bit of a Nightwatchman, but I
determined that I would never be a mankad who left before the bowler
released the red cherry.
But would everyone latch onto his cricketing references? They were
probably anticipating him making allusions to standing on the shoulders
of previous giants, acknowledging colleagues who would be off to
pastures new and so on. Nevertheless, he decided to be true to his own
field of interest and continued to unearth parables from the sphere of the
When I was invited to assume Captaincy, I was hoping that I wouldn’t
be on to a sticky wicket. Speaking as a ferret, I feel that I have played a
cameo of an innings and, if I have been a bit of a stodger, at least no one
could accuse me of having been a stonewaller.
Hmmm, maybe too much damning of himself with faint praise…
We- ah, the first person plural always lends a bit of authority!-have never
been a school which encourages cow shots. We have dealt firmly with pie
chuckers. (Here he found his thoughts straying to Boothroyd-Smythe)
We have survived sledging, marilliers, dibbly dobblies, dinks and
haven’t got off our duck yet.
I may hear the death rattle and realise that I am bowled, but I- eh,
we haven’t reached the Devil’s Number yet and refuse to offer tea towel
explanations of policy to those who are little better than Zoota flippers,
or who have the Yips. Trundlers need to be faced down and what we
need in this day and age- a cliche or two could be allowed to slip in- is
all-rounders and future generations who do not expect a featherbed.
He was beginning to enjoy himself.
We can offer our incoming Batsman a belter of a pitch. He is, we know,
no hack and has a proven glovemanship in other series, so we wish him
a good knock.
We are happy to demote to match referee, so long as we are able to
uphold the spirit of the game. We gladly bequeath him the snickometer
of a 2015 Ofstead Inspection. May power hit his sweet spot every time.
Oh! He’d better mention his predecessor.
The educational de-toxification of our previous Head Teacher has already
commenced. Even now, he is indulging in a catharsis of his delayed mid-life
crisis and is kicking up a sandstorm with his Harley-Davidson, somewhere in
the Sahara, a trip which his wife understands has little to do with Zen.
He is clearly in touch with the Zeitgeist as other Heads have recently
been in the news for absconding- granted on unpaid leave- to follow
their dreams, or delusions regarding national success in the World Cup.
But here we award trophies to more achievable victories gained by our
future global citizens- attaboy, Snod!-to young people of distinction.
Now he was sounding like that Educating Essex chap.
Oh, maybe the whole thing was too dense. He’d better start again.
Every school is unique and St Birinus is unique in its own way.
Useless! Complete tautology.
In the family community which is St Birinus, we try to support each other
with tolerance and humility…
He could hear inner heckling and felt as though he was a character in a
Medieval Morality play, or a pantomime dame subjected to shouts of Oh
no, we don’t! He heard the piping voice of John Boothroyd-Smythe shouting,
It’s behind you!, presumably referring to his career.
Okay, this was enough for tonight.
Mr Poskett’s marvellous Christingle concert illustrated the benefits of PTA
involvement and co-operation with staff, and pupils from our-hah! sister
establishment, as well as funding from our beloved stakeholders.
Oh, what was the use? He couldn’t sound enthused. He would just
have to purloin some cribbed sycophantic drivel and motivational psycho-
babble from the internet and hope for the best. No one would be listening,
He had drawn stumps and so he could only hope that he’d be remembered
as the tail that briefly wagged the dog. The best bit would be when the twelfth
man- that Milford-Haven twit brought the drinks to the pavilion.