In her sixth diary entry, Maria Alamanou describes her school's riotious Christmas party

This is a brief update of this year’s Christmas event our school organised, on the occasion of my having just received the photos and videos. The reason I haven’t written anything about it so far is that I was embarrassed at what you and other readers might think of me and the school if ever news got around of what happened that night!

But, first things first. This year, unlike other years, I decided to have the Christmas event held in a café – bar instead of the usual little feast we’ve always had on the school premises. The underlying reason for this weird move on my part was no other than sheer boredom. I had been working myself silly and wasn’t really in the mood for major room rearrangement, play rehearsals, smiling stupidly at parents and having to clean the mess up in the holiday period, hence the idea of having someone else do the dirty job for me.

But there’s a price to pay for being lazy – and I don’t mean the proprietor’s charge, which was quite hefty. I mean the moral price of seeing your otherwise respectable students and yourself turning completely goofy. It all began as a stylish affair with coffee and tea being served in a marvellously-decorated environment, everybody dressed up, Christmas carols playing softly in the background, little kids, older kids, parents and teachers happily exchanging wishes and feeling merry.

It went on as a less stylish affair, as soon as cold dinner and soft drinks made their appearance. I’ve never been able to explain what happens to guests when free food gets in sight but I won’t comment any further on this, for fear readers might consider it mean of me. This very fact, however, was the evening’s first blow of the many to follow.

Then, it was time for some singing and dancing. I’m not sure how such a thought could have escaped my vigilant care at preparing the evening but it never occurred to me that the over-twenty group – a clear majority – might turn to stronger liquids! I saw one or two of my Proficiency and Adult classes holding glasses with suspiciously-looking long drinks but I didn’t pay attention until it was too late. The parents were no exception and they certainly didn’t help the situation by setting a good example. In a matter of minutes there was heavy drinking going on and there was no denying the fact!

In a desperate effort to put things right again for everyone’s sake, I thought I’d have a word with the bartender. He was quick to reply that ‘all these good people had duly paid for their drinks’ and that ‘what adults chose to do in the name of entertainment should be none of my concern’. I started saying something about the deal we’d made some two months earlier and the conditions I’d set for the evening but it felt like butting my head against a stone wall so thick it threatened to dent my skull with every new word I uttered. Eventually, he said: ‘Loosen up, lady. Let’s show the people a good time. What did you bring them here for, choir practice? After all, it’s Christmas, and I have to make a living. Here, let me mix you a martini.’

What nerve some people have! I forgot to mention that this ‘esteemed’ establishment also has a stage for live performances. I didn’t know that because it’s usually concealed from view by heavy curtains. But the objectionable creature of a shopkeeper that I was unlucky enough to be dealing with wouldn’t stop at anything if it spelt more euros! Duly incited, while I wasn’t looking, the little ones took their place on the stage, preparing in all earnest to deliver Jingle Bells live to a stunned audience. Well, no harm in that, of course. There’s nothing nicer than a bunch of kids singing festive songs in festive mood in festive season.

Alas! The nice, harmless, Christmas song gave way to dirty jokes and all sort of indecency, delivered by would-be stand-up comedians that I never knew I had been fostering in my Adult classes. Even the little ones took part in the farce! Astonishingly, some of the minors’ jokes were even dirtier than the drunken seniors’. And the parents, instead of slapping their kids’ mouths shut, were laughing their hearts out, cheering them on, taking pictures and feeling proud. I felt sick. As unobtrusively as could be mastered, I made my way to the bar and said in a hushed up voice: ‘I’ll have that martini now’.

The rest is history, of the kind that is meant to be kept under lock and key in dark archives. Unfortunately, there are still the photos and videos to haunt me, silent witnesses to the disgrace I had to put up with. But I’ve got a good mind to stash them away into a deep dark drawer and pretend that evening never happened. The sad thing is the students are overjoyed at the prospect of a replay and the parents tell me it had been a long time since they’d felt the Christmas spirit so vividly. What is the world coming to, dear Diary?!