Wednesday, 2 March 2011

28 Feb - Cilâ & Swindon Village

Half-term break is over. Welcome to laughter, Cilâ.

Monday 28 February. Mission: to make pupils in Cilâ, South Wales laugh even though the school holidays are over. Rating: very difficult. Who wants to laugh when the holidays are over, especially when it has turned gloriously sunny to coincide with the first day back?

(Cilâ is pronounced Kilahhh – a long ‘ah’ sounds at the end, the sort a tired teacher might make as they rest their classroom-weary feet and raise a cup of tea to their mouth.)

However, I knew there was a good chance of success when the pupils at the ultra-friendly Cilâ PS voted for Keith to read the ‘funny but very slightly disgusting’ part from Lee and the Consul Mutants. This wasn’t going to feel like work to them, more like a continuation of the holidays! It would just happen to be in the school hall.

And so it turned out. The sun shone in the windows and it was just as bright inside the hall, where we laughed our heads off and then put them back on again…because we didn’t want to frighten the other villagers.

Now, I expected Keith would be the only Scotsman in the village of Cilâ during our visit. Wrong! The head teacher was originally from Thurso, which is almost as far north as you can go in mainland Scotland. One of the other teachers (hello Mrs Taylor) is married to a man with Scottish roots…Don’t tell anyone, but it’s all part of a secret plot by the Scots re-establish the Celtic connection by invading Wales!

To Swindon...but not that Swindon

Before we knew it we were leaving Cilâ and  dashing off to Cheltenham. But not before the author bloke had scoffed a Welsh cake. That cake was to prove important.

We dashed up the M4 & M5 because we were presenting in Swindon Village that afternoon. Swindon Village is of course in…well no, it’s not in Swindon, it’s in Cheltenham! Weird. If anyone knows it’s called that then do email to let me and the author bloke know.

Anyway, back to Welsh cakes. Traffic on the M4 was not good as we made our dash. It was…bad (as you probably guessed). It was sssslllloooowwww. And so Keith had to skip lunch. And he hadn’t had any breakfast either. Now, if you’ve read other entries on this blog you’ll know how much Keith LOVES his food. So you can imagine how distraught he was by this lack of nosh. It would have been a disaster – his rumbling stomach would have drowned out pupils’ questions at Swindon Village PS - had it not been for that Welsh cake saving the day. See, I told you that cake was important. Cake is always important.

Waiting for us at Swindon Village were 420 pupils at the start of their Reading Week. They laughed as if there were three times that number. It was brilliant! They broke Keith’s laughometer. There were great questions too. Such a vibrant school.

As always, we ended with a competition, with 2 books as prizes. Now, with 420 pupils versus about 20 pupils the odds of a teacher winning a prize were not good. The odds of them winning both books were even slimmer, especially as the way of choosing the winners is entirely random. But you guessed it: teachers won both of the prizes! The author bloke thinks the odds of that happening were 40:1 against, or 2.5%, however some bright spark maths genius may want to tell him he’s calculated that incorrectly.

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