The latest mad craze is knitting.
Watch out, American teens, you may be next. France, Belgium and Scandinavia have already fallen.
In the space of two weeks, the fashion for knitting bits of cheap plastic string into a pointlessly coloured piece of cord has invaded and utterly overthrown my students. There is no child in the school - not one - I'm including the sixteen year olds here - unswathed by bunches of brightly coloured plastic 'laces', and desperately knotting together some improbable pattern in the hopes it will hold till the next lot of colours can be swapped.
Children are drowned by pocketfuls of badly hidden string bunches, trailing fat neon feelers, seeking the next victim.
They're focussed entirely on threading and winding and bartering for new laces. No looking up. No tension whatsoever.
They can't do anything else. They can't talk about anything else. The school has gone scooby doo mad.
I know we're not the only ones, either.
Me, I don't mind it. They sit, in silence, learning no more than previously, knitting away with the stringy stuff, intently focussed for hours. It's less expensive than the 'fur coats & fur boots' craze of January. It's way less annoying than the texting, or than the 'downloading mobile phone porn' craze of October 2004.
Lisa assures me it's already becoming slightly unfashionable amongst the sixteen year olds. Once you've got one ugly plastic keyring, what do you do with the other ten? Madame Lisa predicts: making scooby doos will be 'so over', by the end of next week. Shame.
Guilt at the number of increasingly desperate search hits forces me to show mercy: if you're looking for the laces, it's spelt 'Scoubidou', and you can buy them for silly prices on ebay, or you can learn to knit with them on the Scoubiland site, wherein lie the secret meanings of the scoubidou code ....
|red||Best friend||red + white||I'm all yours|
|blue||I'm sorry||red + blue||Secret friends|
|yellow||Let's be friends||red + yellow||You're the only one|
|green||Let's make up||blue + pink||Girlfriend|
|white||Friends forever||blue + purple||Boyfriend|
|black||Let's hang out||red + orange||Together forever|
|orange||Groovy gal||orange + white||Heart broken|
|pink||Babe||orange + yellow||It will never end|
|purple||Fab friends||pink + pink||Beautiful eyes|
|white + white||100% Angel||pink + black||You're my teddy bear|
|black + black||100% Devil||blue + black||Muscle man|
|red + yellow||It's a girl thing||blue + white||Brain box|
|blue + yellow||Your secret's safe||yellow + yellow||Cheeky monkey|
|blue + green||All girl team||yellow + blue||Daft as a brush|
|blue + white||Girls together||green + black||Bees knees|
|purple + black||Don't Stop||pink + white||Soul Mate|
|green + white||Be mine||black + yellow||Busy bee|
|green + green||Nature lover||orange + orange||You're a tiger|