The Black Dog of Doom and other melodramas


I have a confession to make.

I’m struggling with depression.

It isn’t easy to admit it and I’m not proud of the struggle but it is important to admit it, today of all days, because today is the year anniversary of my struggle.





This was not a depression brought on by age, by chemical imbalances in the brain misfiring through natural causes. This was a depression that was done to me. It started suddenly on one day and hasn’t ended since.

The shame comes from the fact that I am a happy-go-lucky kind of guy – I see the glass half-full not half-empty for most of the time. I don’t do depressed and I really don’t know how to handle it; it is a new experience for me and I feel very much the amateur. I’m learning fast but depression seems to be a changeable beast and no sooner do I think I’ve got some aspect of it sorted than it changes shape and takes me by surprise all over again.

I say this was done to me and that’s true. A trauma, 2nd July 2014, happened to me and to my family. I’m not ready to talk about it (not yet anyway) though one day there will be a book, I promise. That book will reveal all and will point blame where it should be pointed, but it is far off and for now this will remain a private grief. But it happened and it was devastating.

The result of this trauma, however, is that I feel my mind and my character has been violated. My very being has been raped. My virginal naivety has been taken from me, forcibly and irrevocably. And those very thoughts and feelings which come to abuse victims have come to me afresh. I feel waves of guilt, of unworthiness, of being unlovable, of simply not being good enough. They’re not constant and I know they’re not true (mostly anyway) but sometimes they come anyway no matter how much I say “out damned spot!”

There is no reasoning depression away and it can attack without warning (Source:

Most of this I can cope with. Once I realised the effect the antidepressants were taking things improved. The tablets cause drowsiness so I always take them at night but that meant they were losing their effect by mid-afternoon and by evening I would feel low and awful waves of paranoia again. Once I understood this and appreciated the effect I was able to start feeling in control and regulating what I did and what I said. But that was before the black dog really hit.

It came all of a sudden a few weeks ago. The ‘black dog’ was  like a thick blackness which simply enveloped around me and no matter how much I analysed and appreciated that it wasn’t real I couldn’t shift the awful despair which almost physically blinded me. The blackness stayed with me for days – something unheard of in my life prior to this – and it was nearly a week before I felt happy again.

Since then the dog has come to me several times. Most of them I’ve kept it from doing anything worse than nipping at my heels. Medication has been changed twice to some effect at least. Keeping busy has been the most useful tactic however.

What I struggle with the most though is the utter powerlessness I feel when it comes. This isn’t me; this isn’t who I am; I know myself and I know myself well. My self-esteem doesn’t come from inside me and doesn’t rely on me(something my therapist has been quite impressed with as a coping mechanism) – and that has kept me from any thoughts of suicide. For me, it doesn’t matter if I really am as crap as I tell myself I am when the fog descends because my self-worth doesn’t come from telling myself I’m any good in the first place. Where it comes from doesn’t matter for this post but it keeps me going through everything.

But this depression has tested it to the extreme. I don’t like the lack of control when it comes. It is a foreigner to me.

There is, however, always a silver lining! When you’re at rock bottom, for a start, the only way is up! Another thing is discovering that the majority of friends and family who I’ve told have been wonderfully supportive and have encouraged and uplifted me. Even when that ‘black dog of doom’ is telling me to give up and die I know that I am loved and cherished and I’m grateful for that knowledge. It isn’t something I take for granted. Humour is another saving grace. Even over-hyping ‘the dog’ helps minimise it – I picture it more like a Disney cartoon dog than a mental Hound of the Baskervilles.

For most of the time, between me and the medicines and the coping strategies and the support network I have, I keep the dog under lock and key – or at least on the leash. And each day the melodrama going on in my head gets a little less, a little tamer, a little more predictable. One day it might just be a puppy.

Love me, love my depression (Source:


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Finding Hope

It’s funny how sometimes it’s the small things in life which make all the difference.

A kind word here, a smile there, an appreciative comment, a meal made for you when you arrive or a bath run, an offer of help, a text message saying ‘thinking of you’. We can be facing terrible trials of hardship, battling against odds which seem insurmountable, coping with grief or terrible illness or maybe just feeling down or ‘under the weather’ – things for which there may be no simple answer – and yet these odd acts of kindness can give us hope again.

I’ve been blessed by two such acts this week; both artistic in their own way and both coming at a time when I’m battle-weary, despairing a little of mankind, struggling with illness and overcoming an injury. Both raised my spirits considerably.

The first is a genuinely beautiful piece of art from a good friend (she’s a very private person so I won’t name her) which now hangs up on my wall in front of my desk. It says ‘insha’Allah’ in Arabic which means, roughly ‘as God wills’. For many reasons I’m not yet ready to talk about, this phrase has come to mean a great deal to me over the last 18-24 months.  I’ve waited quite some time for my dear friend to send it but it was worth the wait. The painting is in front of me where I work so that I never forget it and never forget to keep hope in my heart even when things get pretty bleak.

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The second piece of art is a complete contrast to the first. This one came from a friend who used to be a student of mine. When I last saw Bryony  seven years ago she was just a young girl. She’s grown up a lot since then!

What was nice to see though was that her quirky, fun and slightly zany way of thinking about life doesn’t seem to have changed a bit from when she was a child. On her Facebook page Bryony wrote the following a few days ago:

Hello everybody!

I’ve had an idea…
From below you can probably gather that I cannot draw to save my life, BUT I’ve realised over the past however long, some people find them quite hilarious.
So here’s the plan…

1. Drop me an inbox of something you’d like me to ‘draw’, this can be a self portrait (if you promise not to be offended) or your favourite animal or anything.

2. I’ll spill all my artistic creativity onto a blank page ;) and when I give it to you all I ask is for £1… Or less or more, whatever change you have at the time.

3. Any pennies that I may collect over (insert a certain period of time here) I will pass on to Great Ormond Street Hospital :)

(All drawings will be original and signed/dated by lil ol’ me :) )

This really appealed to me; it’s exactly the kind of thing which gives me real hope for humanity – something which is fast dwindling for me. What I love is that Bryony isn’t attempting to present herself as the next Van Gogh or even a dab hand with a pencil. She has just decided to do something crazy, something fun, for a good cause.

And her friends have come to her in droves and with all sorts of requests. One friend asked for this:

‘I want you to draw “six elephants standing on top of exactly 785 isosceles triangles”. For this image I will pay ten of the Queen’s English’

So she did.

Elephants and triangles

Six elephants standing on top of exactly 785 isosceles triangles

Over a few days Bryony has drawn dozens of pictures. Here’s two of my favourites:

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All rather mad.

My request was simpler.

I would love a picture of me playing the sitar (pics on my facebook or blog) with Beatles-like psychedelic imaginings coming out of my head

Mine was the first of her pictures to use colour so I was especially touched. Personally I think it is a perfect likeness of me!

Me playing the sitar in Beatles-esque fashion

Me playing the sitar in Beatles-esque fashion

Maybe her pictures will never hang up in the National Portrait Gallery but a worthy charity is going to be a few (quite a few) pounds better off as a result of this completely barmy and wonderfully silly idea. It may not go viral, it might not solve the Israeli-Palestine conflict, it might not lead to a cure for a cancer and Bryony might not end up writing a best seller book about her experiences from doing these drawings – but for a brief moment in time she’s brought a smile to the faces of many, contributed to society in a worthy manner and made this world just a tiny little bit nicer. Albeit nice bordering on insane.

I’m honoured to know both these friends, so very different in their characters, backgrounds and approaches to life. Both have reminded me that we all have ways in which we can help each other out and make life meaningful, easier, better or just plain bonkers. We don’t need to be brilliant, clever, witty or wise. We don’t need to be the best, or energetically outgoing, or attempt to raise thousands for charity.

We just need to make the effort to put in a little more than we take out. Doesn’t have to be much but it does add up.


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Home Schooling: The Nuts & Bolts

Save St Bees QuoteIntroduction and update

This post is primarily written with the parents of children at St Bees school, Cumbria in mind though it should also be useful to any British parent who is considering whether or not to do home schooling themselves. For the rest of you (especially anyone new to this blog) I’ll give a brief update of the situation and the future of St Bees School.

The Governors of St Bees School announced in February of this year that the school was failing financially and they had to close it at the end of this academic year. A huge outcry ensued, a huge rescue package put together but the Governors were adamant they had looked into every possibility and refused to change their decision. In fact they rejected three rescue offers – one of which was with potential investors ready to invest millions of pounds into the school. They didn’t even get a reply to their initial approach. Since then, our campaign team has worked tirelessly to bring the current board of governance to an end and continue education at the school.

We believe the first goal is almost there though, through subterfuge and bullying, the Governors have clung on to the bitter end determined to see the doors close before they leave. They did try to appease ‘the masses’ by suddenly announcing they had actually found a way to ‘save the school’ and reopen it with a vague promise of September 2016. This, of course, means they made everyone angry all over again for the rescue package could have kept the school afloat until they changed the business model (which everyone agrees is vital) and began the school in a new form. Effectively they’ve gone from closing the school to evicting all the children and staff. All done in the ‘best interests’ of the children. It’s amazing what atrocities can be carried out under our noses when said to be done in ‘best interests’. Furthermore, we have it on good authority (and I mean really good authority) that it is extremely unlikely the school could open next year at all. It is much more likely to be September 2017.

So for a handful of us, unhappy with the choice (or lack of it) for schools which can provide a place for our children, home schooling is a definite contender and one which is beginning to create some excitement among those who have fought to save the school and also with some of those who are still involved with managing it. It is even possible that a home schooling community may be the basis for something bigger still but at the moment I can’t reveal any more details. There are plans afoot though. I will say this though, on top of the amazing story of the school which was saved nine days before it was to end and reopened with just 32 children we have also now found another school which also faced closure, was saved and open with less than 10 children! That school is now thriving with hundreds of children. It ain’t over ’til it’s over, baby…

Anyway, after this catch-up, time to give a concise ‘how to do home school’ for all those interested in this option.

Home School – what you need to know

Here in a nutshell is the information I’ve gathered from parents already home schooling their children, from internet sources and from talking to our LEA home school contact.

1) You need an adult present to supervise your children.

This is mostly likely to be the parent but it doesn’t have to be. Grandparents or other close family member would be fine. Obviously, if you don’t have family on hand and both parents are working then home school is not for you. Otherwise, you don’t need to be a teacher, highly educated or anything like that. You role will be to help keep your child on track rather than trying to teach them.

2) You need a computer and internet.

While many of the courses I’ll detail below are book and paper-based, the mentoring help that comes with them needs the internet and, to be honest, you really want to have you child working from the internet to supplement work if nothing else. This isn’t the same as letting them hide away in their bedrooms with a laptop and having no control over what they’re doing on the internet. You will be keeping an eye on them as they work and probably have a work space area in the home to use for study (it could be as simple as one end of the kitchen table!).

3) You need to agree a timetable which will work for you

From parents I’ve spoken to you can pack a full day of learning in a school environment into just a couple of hours with home schooling. I asked if that meant our children will be twiddling their thumbs getting bored for the remaining hours of the day but parents told me ‘not at all’.

Instead, your children have the chance, finally, to learn at their own speed and as that is likely to be much faster than at school they can go on to extension work or even learn extra subjects. I was told of children learning Japanese through Rosetta Stone which they could never do in traditional schools. Another child was interested in film-making and is studying that.

What’s important then is how you agree to work the day with your child. The younger they are the more ‘hands on’ you need to be but children over the age of 11 through to the teens (this is the age of St Bees School children and so I’m concentrating on this age range) can work very independently. So one parent has their teenager study from say 10-12 am then after lunch from 2-4 pm. They do reading in between and around those times and take breaks as often as they wish.

This gives loads of room for other projects such as music practice, creative writing and visits to places. The teenager I mentioned who is interested in film-making is doing work experience with a company which makes films and can take out this time because studies are well ahead. It also means that your child learns to work independently – something vital at A Level stage and much prized at University. Indeed, home schooled degree applicants are seen as real assets to universities and are eagerly sought after.

4) Socialisation

One big worry for parents thinking of home schooling is what about socialisation? Won’t their kids go stir-crazy on their own at home?

Everyone I spoke to tells me socialisation is better with home schooling. With support groups such as Education Otherwise you can find lots of other home schoolers with whom you can meet up, share resources, do activities together and so on. Your children won’t have homework in the evenings because all study can be done during the day so seeing friends when they come back from school is easier. They can get involved with youth groups or you can team up with other parents home schooling children of the same kind of age and hang out together.

It’s up to individuals to work out how it will work best but generally home school environments prevent bullying, feeling unsafe in an environment and other issues many kids feel at school. Instead they can interact with adults, experience real life environments through work experience and enjoy time with friends in an entirely wholesome and positive way.

For those of us from St Bees School considering home schooling, we have lots of teachers in the area who have signed up to help with tutoring the children. This means we will have group teaching sessions several times a week. The LEA allows us up to 15 hours each week where we can have group lessons – more than enough time for friends to enjoy studying together and chill out before and after!

5) Decide on your course of study

For me, this has been the most exciting discovery. There are a plethora of options for course materials to use in home schooling. Some are free, others cost, but all lead up to qualifications which are accepted by British educational institutions such as A Level Centres, colleges and universities. But there is no requirement for you to follow any course at all. You merely need to make sure the LEA knows that you are home schooling and what you are intending to do to provide education for your child and all should be well – at least in Cumbria!

The first resource which must be recommended is the Khan Academy. This is a world famous initiative which is changing how teachers think about teaching in the classroom. Many schools in America now teach using the Khan Academy. This is entirely free to sign up for and is a complete online course for hundreds of subjects. Especially strong in maths and science, your children will love watching the informative videos which are complete lessons in themselves. Check out this ten-minute video about ions to see what I mean:

Some parents who are of the Christian faith use an American teaching system which has been adapted for European use and results in a qualification (ICCE) recognised and accepted by LEAs and universities. This costs about £300 per child per year which is very little indeed. One child just recently was accepted into Oxford University with the ICCE qualification which is very similar to the Baccalaureate qualifications now popular in the UK.

Those wishing to continue with the traditional Key Stage 3 and GCSE curriculum will find plenty of courses on offer – some better than others – but they do cost and you will have to pay for the exams.

The best is probably Oxford Home Schooling which provides full course materials, marked assignments and tutors available via email and phone for any learning needs. You are also provided with a list of Examination Centres which you can contact to book your child in for exams at the right time. GCSEs cost about £350 each but the price goes down the more you buy in one go. The cost is spread out over nine payments. offer cheaper GCSEs but only do four subjects and Little Arthur Independent School  offer all the GCSE subjects at £215 and KS3 at £145 each but the website doesn’t look brilliant so I personally would go with Oxford. I spoke to someone at Oxford and found them very helpful and knowledgeable.

6) Tell the LEA

Once you’ve decided on how you’ll organise your child’s working time, socialization and what course material they’ll study and you’ve decided you are definitely going for home schooling, the final stage is to contact your LEA Home school coordinator and have them send you the form you need to complete. With this form you are simply de-registering your child from school and informing the LEA of how you intend to provide alternative education for them. My understanding from those who have done it is that checks on you are not really intrusive – you don’t have to let them come to your home to check on you and you can send a report on the education you’ve given once a year and this should be sufficient. Again, that’s in this part of Cumbria. Other places may well be different. You can make this decision to home school right at the last minute should you wish and withdraw your child from state eduction at any point.

7) For St Bees School parents

I am helping to coordinate those of us who want to home school to make sure all children continue to have an excellent education – especially those partway through their GCSEs. I have at least one local school who have agreed in principle to accept our students as external candidates for exams and several former teachers at the school and other retired and former teachers who have offered to do group teaching, one-to-one tutoring and mentoring. If your child is currently doing Key Stage 3 or about to start GCSEs and you would like to home school them please get in touch with us. We will do our best to make sure you’re fully supported.

Contact Hazel Barker to leave your details with her and we’ll be in touch:

Mob 0793 637 3345

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Why My School Won’t Reopen

D K Powell:

“The amount of time people have said to me “it’s just a school. You can find another one.” I can’t even explain what St Bees is, without you having been there.

It’s a community. A family. A home.

All this talk of the school reopening next year or the year after or sometime in the future.

It won’t.”

Originally posted on justathirdculturekid:

So my last test was on Friday. Such a relief that they’re over.

No, they weren’t important. 3rd form exams, who cares? It’s not like you’re risking a uni place or something. That’s what I was telling myself at 8:50 on Friday when I realised I knew none of my history revision. All of the information just… vanished. I was literally on the point of a breakdown. I was so stressed. I thought that, at the moment I’m at such a level of constant stress, I couldn’t get any more stressed.

I was wrong.

No, none of these exams matter. At least they don’t matter to anyone else. They matter to me though. These results are the ones I’m going to remember as what St Bees taught me. This is my last chance to prove that I was worthy of this school. I love St Bees, no matter what I’ve…

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Smoke and Mirrors: How to Vanish a School


Magicians are wonderful masters of deception but this is no easy task despite how they make it seem. There is a lot involved with pulling the wool over the eyes of , usually, not just one person but a whole room of people. They used to say ‘it’s all done with smoke and mirrors’ and, metaphorically at least, that’s still true.

That’s gotta hurt (Source:

There have been some great illusions over the years – think David Copperfield vanishing a jumbo jet or the Statue of Liberty – but I have never heard of a magician who could make an entire school disappear, complete with staff and pupils inside. Now that’s quite some magical feat! Indeed, to do so would require not one magician but a whole team taking on different roles to manage the magical effect. Under normal circumstances I would (as a faithful member of a magic society myself) keep mum about how the trick is done; magicians never reveal their secrets after all. But today I will expose the trick and risk the wrath of those who would rather the workings are kept hidden from view.

Here then is how to vanish a school. I take my examples from the most current version of this trick I know: St Bees School.

The Smoke – keeping things hidden

1) Show your hands empty

The good magician always shows his hands empty, nothing up the sleeves, the deck is ordinary, the box is normal. But be aware, it’s never the situation you think it is. Something is being kept hidden from view.

In April 2014 the board of Governors submitted their summary of accounts to the Charities Commission for year end April 2013. The document goes out of its way to show there is nothing to see here:

Question 6 – The charity’s financial health
How would you describe your charity’s financial health at the end of the period?
With total funds of £3.8 million, including unrestricted funds of £1.5 million, the financial health of the School is considered satisfactory.
Question 7 – The next year
How will the overall performance last year affect your charity’s medium to long term strategy?
The School’s overall performance last year is not expected to affect its medium to long term strategy.

Between April 2014 and March 2015 then either something went terribly wrong or the Governors were lying in this legally required document. If the former, then they have kept completely under wraps just what went so catastrophically wrong and still have never explained the situation; indeed the accounts for year end 2014 are now overdue even after ten months to prepare them and it is partially on the strength of these accounts that the board chose to close the school. If the latter then how can we ever trust another word they say?
2) Set up the Con – dazzle them with a story

The magician will then ‘set up’ the trick by spinning a yarn, telling a tale, making some excuse for what he’s doing. It doesn’t matter how absurd (I’m going to read your mind) as long as it’s a reason.

Let me read your mind (really I’m stealing your watch)… (Source:


The governors stated not once but several times both in letter and in spoken word during the public meetings in March and April that they had ‘considered every possible solution’ and concluded the school was simply not viable. Offers to help from Keswick School and the impressive £2 million rescue package the Rescue Team came up with within days of the announcement were rejected outright (indeed, the board didn’t even respond to Keswick School’s letter). Instead, Professor Woods insisted the situation was hopeless as the school was set to lose around £450,000 in this year and projections for next year were that it would lose £700,000.

These sound awesome figures except that every expert the Save St Bees School Campaign (SSBSC) have consulted have been baffled how a school with no real creditors and assets totalling around close to £5 million could even be considering closing. It is nowhere near insolvency; it needed a better business model.

There are problems with the figure of £450,000 lost this year too. In fact the school made around £4.1 million and had costs of salaries and other expenditure of about £4.4 million. The inflated figures probably come from the bizarre arrangement of ‘loans’ which the Society of Old St Beghians (who appoint several of the Governors by the way) give to the school. These loans come out of a trust fund set up by the OSBs which came from fund-raising several years ago for the school. So let’s take a moment to think about this: The OSBs effectively loan the school its own money. In fact if the OSBs gave the school the proceeds of that funraising the accounts would look about £1 million better off!

It’s difficult to be completely certain of the figures because – you guessed it – the Governors aren’t letting anyone look at the accounts. But certainly it seems that about £200,000 of losses are the result of bizarre accounting to make the situation look worse than it is. In other words, in real terms, the school will probably lose around £250,000 this year. But even if you did accept the £450,000, that only comes to about 8% of the expenditure (using full, inflated figures of profit = £5 million and expenditure = £ 5.5 million) and this is, frankly, peanuts for a business the size of the school, with its turnover and operating costs.

A 10% cut in costs would cover this figure. In reality, if parents paid an extra 5% on the fees (currently coming to just under £4 million) and the school made cuts in spending by 5% the school would almost certainly be breaking even and possibly even run at a surplus. The Rescue Team established within a week of the announcement of closure that most parents would be prepared to pay an increase of fees at 5%, 10%, !5% or more. So why couldn’t the school find ways to cut costs too?

We can only wildly guess and conjecture where the figure of £750,000 came from but you see, once the magician has hooked the audience with a little lie, he can reel them in with a whopper. The fact that the Rescue Team had secured considerably more than this amount and that the cost of closing the school is estimated to be something over £1,000,000 (and probably much higher), has been nicely hidden in the smoke – keeping the school running would have been cheaper.

Nicely done, Mr Magician, nicely done.


The Mirrors – misdirection par excellence

3) The Burn

You are watching EVERY ball right? (Source:

There comes the point in the trick when the magician knows his audience are ‘burning’ his hands – watching everything he’s doing to see if he performs any secret dodgy move, palming a card or slipping a coin into his pocket. This is when he needs to use misdirection. It is an art to do it properly and the best in the business will make sure you’ll never see even their most audacious moves.

The SSBSC team launched a counter-attack after the disgraceful performance by Professor Woods at the public meeting in April where he not only refused to resign (despite promising several times that he would if the parents wanted him to) but he also poured scorn over legitimate complaints. The result was a petition signed by over 1,000 people – a large proportion being OSBs themselves – for the governing board to resign. Woods has still not resigned.

The response was for Dacre Watson, the President of the Society of OSB, to write to the OSBs and assure them that the Governors were working hard and to ‘bear with the Governors in their endeavours’. The rumbles of some movement – albeit what kind Mr Watson was unable to say – were really the stage crew setting the mirrors for the magic to really begin.

4) The Vanishing

…and it’s gone… (Source:

At the same time the Charities Commission (CC) received a huge wave of complaints and came to investigate the actions of the Governors (who failed to tell the CC that they were closing the school) for themselves. I don’t think it was coincidence that immediately after the Governors met with the CC on the 18th May the board released notice that they now intended to save the school. While we would love to believe our campaign putting pressure on the board resulted in a complete turn around and the aim of saving the school had been achieved, we all smelt a rat.

The Rescue Team were bewildered saying “the communication really leaves us at a loss as it appears that the governors have fundamentally shifted their position.”

Professor Woods talked of arranging “for the establishment of a small project team of suitably qualified individuals to lead this transition work” yet despite promises back in April, neither the Rescue Team nor the SSBSC team have been invited to any discussions about  this project team. In fact we don’t know of anyone who has been invited to be part of this team nor any details of this apparent plan.

While many have welcomed the plan to reopen in September 2016 it seems to have slipped their minds that these same Governors, just weeks ago, assured us that there was no possible way to save the school. They have, effectively, evicted everyone from the premises now they have made sure that all the staff and all the students have to leave this year before – Hey Presto! – the school is to reappear one year later.

Or is it?

5) The Reappearance

When I bring her back she’s going to be a little shorter than before… (Source:

Here’s a little hint when watching the magician. When he vanishes something and then makes it reappear somewhere impossibly the chances are it isn’t the same object.

The fact is, when schools close they end up in the hands of property developers. There are still massive question marks around the Governors’ plans which continue to be shrouded in mystery. The fact is only the ‘endowed’ buildings are required by the charity status to be maintained for education. All the other buildings and plots are up for grabs and could potentially be sold off to raise capital.

If these plans are all above board why wait until the last day of school, as latest announcements have said, to give the details? Why not tell us now? Why not tell the Rescue Team even in secret so that we could be assured that we’re being told the truth? Why not engage with people who could still work to open the school this September? Why wait until everyone is powerless to do anything about it? Why evict an entire community – teachers, ground staff, students and suppliers – to start something from scratch? How different will this new school be that it can’t retain any of those who belonged to it before?

The important rule for any magician is this: never tell the audience what you’re about to do. If they know what to expect then misdirection is almost impossible and they will burn you so hard that your cleverness and trickery will be immediately apparent and you’ll look a fool.

So if a magician does tell you what he’s about to do you can guarantee he’s actually about to do something completely different. Remember: never trust the trickster.

It waits to be seen what the next part of the St Bees illusion will be.  Will it be the final part, the reappearance? Will there be a twist in the tale, like the object returning as something completely different – like a lion turned into a mouse perhaps? Or is this more like a multiphase routine where magical effect after magical effect will happen so often we’ll have completely forgotten where we were at the beginning, how we got here, or how we ever allowed ourselves to be so completely and utterly deceived?

And the Magician takes a bow.

Thank you for your time, your faith, your money and your lives. It was my pleasure to deceive you. (Source:


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