Thursday, 25 November 2010

Athens Portraits: School run scramble

8am outside the local primary school.
The troops are gathering - and with them an entire support battalion.

Fathers zoom up to the gates on motorbikes with tots perched precariously on the back without the benefit of a crash helmet (but you’d better not even think of breathing a word about them being anything less than a devoted dads).

Mums heave bags packed to bursting point with books – the weight of which their little darlings couldn’t possibly shoulder (I swear those bags weigh more than the kids that have to carry them).

Grannies faff about at the baker’s shop across the road to make sure their little darlings are stocked up with pies and pastries (and enough carbohydrates to sink a battleship) to see them through the rigours of the school day.

And the cars – the cars!

Seen from above, the school gates would look more like a smashed open ants’ nest with the insects dashing here and there in a blind panic.

Vehicles swerve crazily into that parking spot (supposedly reserved for the headmistress) that ensures the sprogs will have ten paces less to take, oblivious to the hooting honking bottleneck of cars, delivery vans and buses backing up behind them. Alarm lights flash in imagined justification for total disregard of the law of the road or common civility. And on most mornings, a shiny white and blue police car is abandoned in the middle of the road – not to get things under control, but so the local Constable can deliver his son and heir safely to the playground.

This morning, a spanking new, flashy red Ferrari drew gasps of admiration and awe from pre-pubescent boys as it drew up and stopped ON the pedestrian crossing. The long-suffering lollipop lady (or crossing guard if you prefer) tried - in vain - to shame the greasy middle-aged man who emerged from the swanky sports car, but he just ignored her and carried his child across the road to the school.

It’s dog eat dog on the morning school run scramble.

I guess it’s only to be expected that the start of the school day should be a raucous affair. But, in Greece that it’s not the kids - but their parents - that are the main source of the rumpus.

How’s that for teaching by example?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Yes Libby, it's pretty much the same every day the little darlings have school to go to.

    On the plus side, now that Kidling Grand is grown (and growing still) I no longer get involved first-hand in the School Run Scramble. But I still have to drive past it every morning on my way to work - and yes, it really is that frenetic every day.

    The kids are fine, but some of the parents...