I don’t think its a coincidence that the second “Fire Fighters = Big Daft Lads” story involves another Junior School as well, this time the one that my old mate Steve Burt was a teacher at in the 1970s.
Break times to most teachers are their little havens of calm, a time for a crafty smoke in the staff room and a nice cup of tea, or two, the cup of tea at break time becomes sacrosanct, your personal cup or mug becomes your vessel of tranquility, its important that your tea is always served in your own mug, some teachers even write their own names on their mugs so that they don’t get lost – its important ok, have you ever personally known a teacher, no, well I have, believe me, cups are important.
So one day West Yorkshire’s finest Fire Brigade come to the school to give the little kids their annual lecture on how you shouldn’t play with matches, or fireworks, or lighter fluid in the kitchen sink when your mum and dad are out at the pub, really, you can see that they didn’t do this sort of thing when I was in Junior School in the 1960s can’t you ?
The hose pipes came out, water was squirted in the school yard, the kids were allowed to climb all over the fire engine, set off the sirens, try on firemens helmets, swing an axe or so around their heads, all the good stuff, and then one of the teachers asked if the firemen would like a cup of tea, it being an English school and all that tea drinking entails, and the firemen all said “Yes please”.
And so a lowly teacher was dispatched to the staff room to brew up and wash the cups, the only cups available being the cups that belonged to each individual teacher and so after some time a tea tray full of cups of tea was brought out into the playground and the firemen all stood leaning on the fire engine chatting to the teachers, drinking tea while the kids wreaked havoc.
And when it was time to leave they all put the teachers cups back on the tray, climbed back in the fire engine, the kids all gave them three cheers and the firemen all leaned out of the windows and waved a cheery goodbye to the kids while the sirens blared and all was well in the world.
An hour later at the next break the teachers all retired to the staff room and put the kettle on but when it came time to pour the water from the kettle into their individual cups there was a problem,
“Where’s all the cups” one of them asked holding boiling kettle in hand
“Oh” said another, “the firemen had them last”
“What did we do with the tea cups ?” they both asked the other teachers
…and the other teachers all looked at each other for inspiration and all stood there shrugging their shoulders and slowly shaking their heads.
“Last I saw of them they were on the tea tray” one suggested
“Well where’s the tea tray then” another followed
“Last I saw it was on the back of the fire engine” the first continued.
“Oh bugger” they all enjoined.
They all raced out into the playground but of course the fire engine had long gone, along with their tea tray and all of their tea cups, some of the teachers probably started to cry but the head teacher, for she was old and wise, ran out of the school gates and down the road from whence the fire engine had long since disappeared.
She didn’t have to run far though, only to the next bend in the road whereupon lay the tea tray and all of the teachers own cups, every one smashed into a zillion little pieces.
They never invited those fookin stupid firemen back to their school and the children never found out why…