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Every Thursday afternoon at primary school the headmaster would host a "grumbleweeds" assembly. The whole school (roughly 200 pupils aged 7-11) would file into the assembly hall while a 33 of the 'grumbleweeds' soundtrack played ominously in the background.

After we'd all seated ourselves along the familiar blue lines painted horizontally on the tiled wooden floor (the wonderful wooden reason) the soundtrack would end abruptly with the painful sound of needle dragged across vinyl and Mr. Boyer the Headmaster would enter, pace sternly to the lecturn and stand claustrophobically over us. 'Grumbleweeds' was a chance for Boyer to have a weekly moan at the kids. It was the only time he ever addressed the assembly.

He harped on about the same old crap every week. Kids dropping wrappers and packets from sweets and crisps they'd purchased from his evil-cupboard tuckshop. He named all the children who'd had to "stand-out" during the week...often calling their behaviour "sick." He'd empty a bag of lost property over the floor, exhibiting each item by disrespectfully holding it aloft between two fingers followed by a glare-scan across the audience to determine whether he could home in on a guilty face. Noone ever stood up to collect their p.e. pumps or pencil cases because they didn't want to walk the soul destroying eternity along the painted red line to his feet at the lecturn's edge. I used to watch piano player, Mrs. Williams, like a hawk during those assemblys - she was the person who had to jump out of her seat and rush to the record player in time for dropping the needle back on the 33 as we made our shameful way back to our lessons after the assembly. That song was still reverberating through my eyes after my mum had tucked me up to bed.

I've never forgotten 'grumbleweeds' because it's often a word I use if I want to have a pick at something that's petty but worthy of an airing all the same.

My grumbleweed today is this: I went out and bought some 'Galaxy Hot Chocoate' from Morrisons. I unscrewed the lid and what! ?? I couldn't believe was only half full.

Take a look at this's half-bleedin-full.

I've written to the bastards and asked for my other half. I know it says 400g on the container but I'm not about to go weighing my fucking shopping am I. Beside the point anyway.

Be warned.

Anyone else have a grumbleweed?

Same with buying expensive Cappuccinos on Station concources and they only fill it half way. The foam is supposed to be a topping, not a way of fleecing the customer. And when I was drinking, don't even start me on the size of a head on a pint. jude "Cacoethes scribendi"


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