Police were called to quell a riot in Tower Street, Hartlepool this morning. They may well have been inclined to attend too had there been anybody other than a desk sergeant, custody officer, cleaner, manky cat and cupboard mouse manning the police station since recent budget cuts. Chaos erupted after Charles Dickens posted “free pallet” on their Facebook page, causing mass hysteria amongst early years providers across the town. Representatives from nurseries with posher post codes, mistaking the address for a theatrical venue rather than a tools and DIY store, were demanding their free tickets to put in welcome packs for wealthy new parents which understandably caused much confusion. Having no idea why anybody in their right mind would go out of their way to pick up crude transportation crates they took pallet to be a mere misspelling of ballet. Corbynistas heckled their elitism: crying laughing as they mocked “air hair lair, I’ve come for my free pall-ay”. Mayhemers scoffed at their splinters in return. It’s all they had.

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Meanwhile, those from the more disadvantaged parts of the town spotted an opportunity to bridge the gap in early years underfunding by upcycling knackered old bits of timber with rusty bent nails into much needed cots, highchairs, changing tables & pushchairs; water walls, mud kitchens & mark-making cupboards: and to build extensions to cram in all the 3 and 4 year olds eligible for the 30 hours funded childcare offer who can’t get a place in a local school because they simply can’t afford to keep subsidising their nurseries.

And despite having to upcycle the pallets in their own time, at their own expense, between updating learning journals and forward planning sheets, practitioners fought tooth and nail to get at least one pallet in the back of their Smart car. All of the injured went untreated since each and every casualty objected to having to foot the ambulance bill saying “I’ve paid my taxes and my national insurance all my life” and “if it goes septic I’ll just get someone to kiss it better and stick a plaster on”.

Fortunately all ended well (since early years practitioners are a pretty agreeable sort) and they decided to each just take one – satisfied that they could make a single pallet actually do everything they needed it to do with strategically placed hinges, brackets and bolts. Upon departure, they also agreed to set up a facebook group to discuss how they could repurpose the tonnes of aluminium cladding that will soon be going begging. One suggested magnet boards but another who had a GCSE in additional science explained that in strong magnetic fields aluminium can become slightly magnetic but in everyday experience it does not exhibit magnetism at all which swiftly put an end to that particular conversation. Those with less socialist sentiment each took home a pallet too although didn’t seem to appreciate the full potential of such an undervalued, hard-working and dependable everyday essential.

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