Here’s one I made earlier

I was helping my youngest to the toilet today and was reminded of an event from last year… bear with me this is a fairly tenuous link.

We have 3 boys, all primary school age or under, and this means we go through a lot of toilet roll. I mean a lot. This in turn leads to a large quantity of empty toilet roll tubes being recycled. Cause that’s how we roll!!

However last year I thought to myself: the reception age children at my sons school would probably love to build something with all these toilet rolls. I then spent a few minutes (twenty or so) reminiscing about the 4 roll high rocket I made in primary school, we’re talking poster paint and glue here, none of this cellotape malarky back then. Anyway, I decided to start stock piling them to take into school thinking: man those kids are gonna have a blast.

The day came when I had a whole bag full (took about 2 days with my boys) and I very proudly took them to school while dropping off my boys thinking: they will be so grateful that a parent has actually bothered to think of them and their need to entertain small psychotic children hell bent on dressing up as Dora the Explorer and drawing on each other with crayons.

I waited for the children to go in and caught the eye of my sons teacher. “I thought these might be of use” I said, and puffing up my chest held out the bag of tubes just ready to be transformed into trains or rockets or some other mode of cylindrical transport. The teacher in question looked very eager and almost happy that a parent had been kind enough to do such a thing until she got close enough to evaluate the length of said tubes.

Are they toilet roll tubes?” she asked?
Why yes, yes they are” I said in true Phineas and Ferb style.
Cant use them.” she said.

Dumbfounded I stood there, mouth agog in complete disbelief!!

Why?” I asked, and the reply was simple…

Health and Fcuking Safety!!

Come again?

Yes, health and safety. She went on to inform me that if I had a stack of kitchen towel rolls stored up anywhere she would be more than happy to take them off my hands, but the rules outlined by the school were that they could not use toilet rolls because… well they might be dirty I’m guessing, she never really said, and I’m not sure she was actually ever told for sure.

English: Toilet paper roll Português: Um rolo ...
Toilet rolls are bad for your health... apparently.Image via Wikipedia

Maybe I’m getting old, but I remember building things with them when I was a kid and Blue Peter in true “Here’s one I made earlier” style did it every other week it seems. Now the man from health and safety, or woman let’s not be sexist here, has decided that they are far too likely to cause contamination of these poor children’s bloodstreams with some foul and life threatening condition and should therefore be banned from the classroom.

In 10-20 years time we are going to have a whole generation of adults with such a low immunity system that the pharmaceutical companies will be raking it in and hospitals will not be able to cope.

Be warned!! The risks of banning toilet rolls in the classroom are long reaching and counterproductive.

Book Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King

Cover of "Under the Dome: A Novel"

Ok so I’m not a literary scholar, not by a long shot, but I just finished reading the above titled book and wanted to share!!

Before we start I should mention I’m a BIG Stephen King fan, but I’m also pretty honest and I’m not about to say “FCUK this is amazing” if it isn’t, so please bear that in mind.

Now, I have read books by Stephen in the past (yeah we’re on first name terms… he just doesn’t know it yet) and thought exactly the same as when I finished watching The Green Lantern… “Meh!!”

However!! This is not one of those books. Blaze! That was one of those books, nothing wrong with it, but really didn’t suck me in at all. Oops what am I thinking that was Richard Bachman… anyway… Under the Dome gripped me from the very beginning… The Airplane and the Woodchuck, (poor little bugger).

You’ve probably seen the Simpsons movie yeah? Well this is a similar concept but taken in a different and quite frankly, more plausible direction (and conceptualised years earlier I might add). It’s about human nature and all that is good and bad within it. Love, caring and thoughtfullness mixed with greed, fear, hatred and the need for power. It also has an ecological message to tell regarding how we treat ourselves and our planet and how quickly things can go from bad to worse!!

I really don’t want to give too much away about the plot itself but the way people react in the town has a sense of believability about it. When the town in the book are cut off from the outside world and the necessities of life become short in supply, the order of society changes becoming more sinister and you really get a sense of the panic that would have gripped the people of this small town. Even the pace of the book lends itself to this, building steadily and rapidly throughout, never really letting up.

I think what really grabbed me about this book though is that the characters are real. Even the main hero Dale Barbara (which for some unknown reason I kept hearing in my head as bar-bear-a) is not a clichéd all round American boy, he’s an ex serviceman who served in Iraq and has to deal with all the crap that comes with that. He, and the other characters have flaws, they have problems and you see them for who they really are, as though looking at them under a microscope or magnifying glass.

I think that was Stephen’s main aim here; to make us think about who we are and how we affect the world around us. You can quite easily use his dome as a metaphor for our atmosphere. There are many parallels.

The book itself is fairly long at 800+ pages but they fly by and you won’t want to put it down. Not since IT has a Stephen King book grabbed me quite so firmly by the balls and said “READ ME”. I know some feel The Stand is his best work, personally I thought the ending let it down and that IT was better. The Stand however was my 2nd favourite SK book until I read Under the Dome. Now it’s my 3rd.

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