Thank Alan

Tallulah is obsessed with one of her teachers at school. All her schoolmates are also obsessed with this teacher. It is not because he is handsome, for which I thank Cheezus himself. It is because he is deeply eccentric.

Now, I love an eccentric teacher. You spend many, many years in school, and despite lots of old duffers waveringly asserting: ‘You will look back on your school days as the best days of your life,’ those years seem like a life sentence for many children, me included. I remember thinking: ‘Christ, if school days really are the best days of my life, I might as well kill myself now because adulthood is going to be absolutely hideous.’

Luckily, they were lying.

The highlights of my school life consisted of English lessons, being able to eat chips every day for four years once my mother had to give me money for the school canteen, and the joy of discovering a bonkers teacher.

I am glad that Tallulah is already accruing eccentric teachers. She came rushing home on Friday after school:

‘Mama, mama, mama! We had Mr. X again for Y this afternoon!’

Me: ‘Yes?’

Tallulah: ‘Yes. He was glorious!’

Me: ‘In what way? Has he finally woken in your feeble brain a deep passion for Y?’

Tallulah: ‘No! Don’t be silly! Y is a stupid subject.’

Me: ‘Oh. Fair enough. It is a stupid subject. What then?’

Tallulah: ‘Well, he was telling us about this charity thing he’s involved in. He told us that he got lots of great pictures of it this year because his friend Alan, sold him an excellent camera for £20.’

At this she dissolves into squeals of laughter.

I am confused.

Me: ‘Yes? Well that’s good, and lucky, but not funny.’

Tallulah: ‘No…but then he…(breaks out again, laughing hysterically)…put his hands together like he was saying a prayer. (she snorts) Then he bent his head over his hands and said: ‘Thank Alan.”

I start to giggle.

She is gasping now.

Tallulah: ‘Then we all burst out laughing, and he got really cross and said: ‘What is there to laugh about? It’s not funny. I said ‘Thank Alan,’ not ‘Thank Allah.”

She has tears rolling down her face by this point, and I too am laughing very hard. It is just the sort of story that will provide us with a catchphrase for months to come.

As predicted she has spent the weekend walking round the house, bobbing into active prayer mode and intoning solemnly: ‘Thank Alan’, before every meal, item, she sees.

Thank Alan.

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