Thursday 2 April 2009

Mr Pourgourides

Mr Pourgourides was never destined for fame and fortune. When I knew him he was already well into his forties, had lost most of the hair on his head, and his belly was bulging comfortably over the top of his trousers. His sense of dress is best described as modest - a light grey sports jacket, pale shirt and non-descript tie with black trousers. All had seen better days, but still had a few years of limp life left in them. As I remember he was affable enough...good humoured most of the time, but with a grumpiness provoked by a classroom full of teenagers determined to see how far they could push him before he snapped. In less pc times, his thick mediteranean accent encouraged us to claim we couldn't understand half of what he said.

Mr Pourgourides did succeed in getting me a grade A in maths at 'o' level. Something I'm still pleased with as numbers are not something that much inspire me. So he was clearly a good teacher judging by the results. And if his name ever crops up when I'm with old school friends, he is remembered and talked about affectionately.

Mr Pourgourides has surprisingly had his fifteen minutes of fame.

This week's Horizon on the BBC featured the overrated (in my opinion - although he did once have a decent routine about Dad Pants) comic actor Alan Davies attempting to be re-inspired about maths, having found the subject too much to bare at school. To make his point, he returned to Bancroft's - a place that as far as I know he has never had a good word to say about - why the school let him back in, I have no idea. And indeed he didn't this time either, making the point that he remembers being excellent at sums at primary school. Personally I can't remember much about anything that I did at primary school other than enjoying British Bulldog in the playground. So the problem with Alan's maths seems to have started with Bancrofts and more particularly under the tutelage of Mr Pourgourides, whose name he brings up on a number of occasions.

So if you've got five minutes, catch up with Horizon on only have to watch the first five minutes to see Bancroft's, but in truth the whole programme is worth a viewing. But keep in mind, that if put to a vote, I suspect Mr Pourgourides would achieve favourable recognition as a maths teacher of note.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

From hero to zero

I've got a bad habit. One I'm ashamed of. I'd like to give it up but I can't. I started it knowing I could handle it, but now I'm just obsessed.

I'm refering to the little site meter perched somewhere in the nether regions of the sidebar. I put it there because I wanted to know where my vistors were from...and even who they might be. And I'm delighted to have had vistors from every corner of the globe - Australia, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Chile, The Philipines, Obamaland, Canada and so on. Some come because they're looking for my blog, some arrive but dint of an erroneous Google search. An early example was the search for men and boys, then there was a few drawn by my mention of jingle bells, and last week someone searching for a cure for panic attacks. And that's all nice and I'm delighted to welcome anyone even if tey don't stay very long.

But the problem is, the meter creates a big chart of how many visitors have been and gone. Now, I'm not competitive in any way shape or form, but I do run a business, and whilst I don't know much, I do know that when a chart goes up that's good, and when it goes down, that's bad. And so I check the chart on a daily basis, just to see the month's progress. I don't want to, I just can't help it. It's especially bad because I started Don't Panic RTFM just for me so I don't forget things that I inevitably will as time goes by....and that is still very much the case. But, I can't help wanting to see the chart grow and grow. Of course today, the 1st of the month is as bad as it can the monthly bar starts at 0 on the stroke of midnight.

I've given up tea and coffee for Lent - perhaps I shoud've given up my Sitemeter. Perhaps I should delete it, but then I'd never know who my foreigh visitors are Perhaps I should go to Sitemeter Addicts Anonymous.

Sunday 29 March 2009


Peace and quiet had descended over the home. Or at least an eerie silence. The boy departed on the school classics trip to Sorrento at 4.00 am Saturday morning. He felt the need to rise at 3.00, where as I had a leisurely lie-in until 3.30. Although the schoolis normally within easy walking distance, at that time of day it certainly wasn't. So we drove, having scraped the ice off the windscreen, and it took all of two minutes to get there. I apologise immediately to the environment for my selfish actions in adding unnecesary pollution, but I was tired and cold. All the other parents were gathered. Well actually, all the mums were gathered...clearly the dads had more sense. It's good to see that we live in a world of equality, and no sexual stereotyping exists at all. Whatsoever. In any way. Still, many of them are taking the opportunity to have a few days a way in warm foreign climes whilst their little treasures disgrace themselves in Italy. Foolishly I've allowed work to come before pleasure so will be in the office bright and early on Monday morning.

I returned home, but not to bed. Instead I elected to have hot drink (still on the caffeine free binge until Easter), hot shower, and then jumped on the motorbike to ride to Brighton...about twice as far as I've ever ridden I'm not quite up to going round the world...just yet. It was early enough that I enjoyed the sunrise as I came over the Thames at the Dartford Crossing whilst mother nature did her best to blow me the several hundred (do I exagerate?) feet off the bridge and into the water. I arrived in one piece in Brighton to be met by a scene of indescribable destruction.

Yes, foolishly, I've had electricians in during our absence and a job that was supposed to last four days has already stretched to two weeks, and by the state of the place will go on for at least another seven days. (I know Laura you told me not to do this sort of thing again, but old habits die hard). The flat's on two floors, and the lower one had no power, and there was no TV signal to be found anywhere.

Unfortunately I couldn't head for bed, as I had more visitors due - a decorator, a floor layer and an Italian polished plasterer...all to give quotes. Two out of the three materialised, so at around 11 a.m. my bed beckoned. I rematerailised sometime in the afternoon, but in a completely befuddled state, in which I remained for the rest of the day and evening. So I wasn't much company at Moshi Moshi, but hey ho.

Sunday didn't help, with that lost hour taking it's toll...and now I can't work out whether my lovely Aussie friend is an hour closer or an hour further away. And no doubt by the time I've worked it out, it'll be time to put the clocks back again.

Back in Buckhurst Hill, I realise I've suffered from premature evacuation. It turns out that Jade Goody's funeral and the ensuing media circus is next Saturday, not this one, so my cunning plan to spend the time away has been in vein. I need to come up with plan B, and so far the best I can think of is to ring the TV companies and offer to allow them to park on my drive for an apropriate fee. Or perhaps offer tea and cakes to all those poor journalists who will have to stand outside whilst the service goes on in the church itself. So at £1 a cuppa and biscuits 25p each, I may yet find that I too can join the vultures and turn a profit out of this whole ghastly affair.

Oh and I should mention there was a message on my answer machine froma fellow parent tasked with letting me know the boy and his comrades in arms have all arrived safely. Good to know, even if it's forecast to rain there for the next week.