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a blog by Chris Barrow

Back to school

Today I have an appointment at the college that two of my sons attend (ages 17 and 15). Over the years I have often giggled or fumed at the amount of notice that schools and colleges give of parent evenings or social events. They do not seem to understand that, for some business people, the calendar is set many weeks or months in advance. As a result, I have missed more of these events than attended – and then suffered from a form of emotional blackmail, trying to explain to disappointed kids that I wanted to go but couldn’t re-organise. My 11-year old daughter was recently chosen to sing “Burlington Bertie” in a school concert and, after weeks of rehearsal, was visibly upset that I was working down in the South of England on the nights in question. In previous years, I have watched a video later – not now – to be “p.c” there are no cameras allowed. How ridiculous. I even took a digital camera to watch my 15-year old play soccer a few weeks ago. The referee stopped the game and told me to put the camera away – no longer “p.c.”, although I hardly think that photographs of 22 teenagers playing soccer on a wet Sunday in Urmston would make it to an internet site? It’s a mad, mad world. Today, I’m catching up on a parent’s evening from some weeks ago, to get progress reports and discuss what’s happening after the summer. Trying to book the appointment – it would have been easier to book a squash game with the Pope. “Gary” doesn’t take calls during the day (because he is teaching, of course) and communicates through the secretary in the office. It took 3 weeks to organise an hour’s meeting, playing telephone tag.

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