Diary of a Schoolteacher: So who was that mystery Scarlett Johansson lookalike we all fancied?
The rumour started that they were French, but the French teacher heard one of them cursing to himself in the staff men’s toilet cubicle after he had discovered too late that there wasn't any toilet paper, and it was in some language unknown even to him.
Besides, our disgusting toilets would be considered luxury in France. "So, it's not Jacques in the Jacks," quipped an English teacher.
Ignoring that, we sipped on our tea, bending the intellectual talents of four teachers in the restful oasis of the staff room to the puzzle at hand: where on earth did that coachload of foreign teachers appear from?
Break time had nearly run its course when Kurt Moobs burst in, panting and red in the face. Obviously something had occurred, so Finnegan and I helped the man to a seat so he could regain his breath and the ever-helpful Mr Shine rushed a mug of tea to the overwrought science teacher's lips.
"Take your time," I offered soothingly, "we've got three minutes left and with any luck that fight in the yard will give us another five at least." Kurt nodded gratefully.
Then he fixed his gaze on me. "I've just seen the most incredible vision of beauty," he could have said, but didn't, as there weren't any women present. Instead he said something akin to "phwoar!" and before we knew it, we had been drawn into Kurt's tale of the tall blonde leader of the visiting group of teachers, glowing in a red silk shirt and a black pencil skirt, "like a cross between a fairy queen and Scarlett Johansson!" he gasped.
"Where are they from, Kurt?" Shine asked. Alas, he too did not understand their language. Maybe they were speaking Swiss, he ventured. The French teacher thought that unlikely.
Just then the blood-thirsty crowd in the yard dispersed as the deputy principal, that sad management lackey, ran out blowing a whistle like a demented referee, and with the bell ringing our little discussion group broke up.
Passing the school hall, I saw them. There were about 20 of them, all sitting in rows drinking coffee and helping themselves to a range of Superquinn cakes. Smiling at them like idiots were the principal, his sailing buddy Fegan and his chief golf club lapdog Mrs McCarthy.
Catching Tim as he dashed out to fetch more milk, I cornered him (he's light and slight) and demanded answers. "Don't look at me," his stock answer, "they just appeared from nowhere!" They were Swedish, he squealed, here to observe and be feted.
"Not enough cake for everyone to go round, and some of them are distractingly good-looking, so the boss thought it best to keep them under wraps."
He swore that there would be no secret return visit to Sweden so I let him go. Being a teacher can be so exciting.