I got to my first lesson of the afternoon a little bit late ("Miss Miss Miss my nose won't stop bleeding is it") and found six girls sitting outside my hut enjoying the sunshine. Well, fair enough. But when I asked them to quickly move their chairs inside, I got "Miss, someone's sprayed perfume, we can't." Again, fair enough - it's pretty disgusting when some smelly year 11 tries to mask her body odour with Teen Xtraz Impulse or some such. But, I explained, the lesson was starting and they would have to grin and bear it. "No Miss, we really can't, we're fasting."

I was utterly baffled. Apparently, according to these year 8s, smelling perfume is equivalent to breaking your fast. This sounded like a lie. A big, fat, sacrilegious lie. I tried to fix them with a magical teacher stare that would force the truth out of them. It didn't work. (A lot of people have recently professed to believe I have a secret magical teacher stare that I'm refusing to share with them. This afternoon proved pretty conclusively that I don't.)

"Smelling perfume is breaking your fast?"
"Hmm... I've never heard that before."
"it is miss"
"And Wajina - you're not Muslim. What are you doing in all of this?"
"fasting aint just for Muslims miss. Christians can fast. It just means you don't eat. We can do that too." They all nod fervently.
"So you're fasting now, as a Christian, for the ninth month of the Islamic year, when the Qu'ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)?" A couple nod, a little less fervently.

At this point, the form captain came to my rescue.
"Miss, even though I aint sure bout this fasting thing, I've opened the windows and you can't smell the perfume now, so it's all fine."
Leah - I love you.

A bit of research in the Heritage Language Department proved me right. Little lying bastards. I made a couple of phone calls home. I suspect there will be a lot of Bible and Qu'ran study this evening in homes accross Plumstead.

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