I can feel a farce coming on. They happen with surprising regularity where my family is concerned, so much so that we often refer to a curse that follows us everywhere, spreading bad luck wherever we go.

I’m now safely back home. I said a fond farewell to the house in Hull that I had been residing in. A few of my housemates had already left, and there were only a couple left. One of them decided not to even get out of bed, which was somewhat bizarre. He normally gets up late, but given that he hadn’t emerged at 5:30pm, when I left for the last time, I rather think his lateness was deliberate.

It was a rather uncomfortable trip back, however. The car was jam packed with my stuff, and so I had to sit with things on my knee and generally in the way. And now it’s all back here, there is nowhere for it to go. So I have piles of stuff in my bedroom. Most of it I probably won’t even touch because it’s no use here, like plates and pans. So it’s just going to interminably wait, being the constant reminder to me that I’m not back here for that long.

But the farce that is descending is going to involve my supposed voluntary work at the local school. My mum was going to drop in a letter last week to confirm that I would be back shortly and would be ready to start today. But she didn’t do that, and instead tried to speak to the secretary, who is notoriously defensive of the headteacher’s diary. Indeed, she is well known throughout the parents as being the most obtuse person going, extremely difficult to get a message through to.

So it was no surprise that I was also to come up against her. I hate using the phone, and one of the reasons why is that which was again demonstrated to me today. Given that it was raining, and that I would probably be going round for no reason, I decided to call the school at 8:20am. I asked for the headteacher and was fobbed off with the usual “in a meeting” response. OK. So that may have been genuine. The secretary asked me to call back at 8:55am. OK. But that made little sense since the school started at 9am, and she would likely be very busy.

I called back anyway, trying a few times to get through the engaged tones. In the end the phone was answered by a man, who I’d never heard of before. He took my name and number and said he’d pass on the message and she would call back later today. I’m still waiting. But that’s not the problem. Why did the secretary, whose job it normally is to take messages and get people to call back, not bother to do her job? I don’t want to have to keep chasing people around… which is what I feel like I will. I have no idea who I spoke to the second time, but I have a strong suspicion that whatever note the person took, it will not reach its intended recipient.

So I’m back to square one. Do I go into the school or keep trying to call? The phone allows me to be constantly fobbed off and ignored. It is much harder for someone to ignore someone standing in front of them. It stops them trying to tell lies about how busy the person you’re looking for is, when the chances are they are sitting in the office behind them, or meandering around from job to job. I would rather go in, but the chances of me not actually achieving what I want are very high, given that people are generally teaching classes and not available.

Once again I’m in a silly situation. I am hoping, probably against hope, that the dilemma will be resolved by the headteacher calling me at the end of the school day and working something out. I hope so, because I’m eager to start. If I knew they were going to mess me around I would have picked another school from the local area… there are plenty of them. Worse is the fact that next week is half-term, so by the time I might eventually start in June, there is not actually that much time left for it to be worth bothering.

In the meantime I’m stuck in the house all day, doing nothing but washing dishes or watching BBC News 24. I hope this doesn’t last long, because if it does, then I am going to seriously regret not going to America again this summer…

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