Oh, the joys of shift work. I suspect that there are not many jobs in which one can work on an assignment whilst at work. Perhaps I should be thanking my lucky stars? Anyhoo, here is part of it. The brief was to write about an event, fête, fair, place of historical interest etc, observe people's behaviour, then pen 300-500 words about it. Here is my offering:
The generously sized school hall has the ambience of a chicken coop. The smell of crowd-induced sweat hangs in the air, and the shrill sound of spoilt children almost pierces the eardrums. Teachers, forced to raise money for the school fund, are standing behind various stalls, attempting to sell overcooked cakes and handmade toilet roll covers, whilst ensuring that pseudo-contented smiles remain fixed on their faces throughout. The stall with the longest queue is, coincidentally, the one that houses boxes and boxes of pre-packaged sweets, complete with E numbers galore. Children are behaving like wild animals: pushing, biting, screaming, in an effort to gain their fix.
Parents are making regular bids for freedom, and you can see hope light in their eyes as they reach the door, only to be pulled back by a tiny hand attached to a chocolate fuelled child, who wants more, more, more. The bouncy castle in the playground has seen better days, and parents are surrounding it, struggling to remove shoes from over-excited children, and then battling to replace them when the allotted bouncing time is over. Bribery appears to be the only hope of escape, and the promises of a take-away tea or a longer visit to the school fete next term mingle amongst the screams of the frustrated.
I wonder whether perhaps I will re-visit next term, and hope that my usually well-behaved children are selfless enough to accept that five minutes at such an event is, in fact, more than enough. I recall the occasions when I have been relieved that I am working, and thus could not attend, then the ensuing guilt that I felt relief about not attending an event so desired by my offspring. I would do almost anything to put smiles upon their faces, but the school fete is pushing the limits of my patience, and just a tiny step too far.