It's the first day of term and it's been ten minutes to five for the past hour. I'm having difficulty deciding whether time really does go slower at work or if I've just died.
But no - it's flat batteries, a seasonal speciality, along with the faint sound of 'Silent Night' coming from the cupboard under the stairs: the head's patented carol singer trap, baited with glasses of sherry and mince pies, has scored a record number of victims this year.
It's cold, too, and dark, though only inside. The thermostat was buried weeks ago along with most of the light switches and can only be reached by ripping off the layers of cotton wool snowmen, angels, cards, Jesus, three kings, shepherds and the very timid student teacher on a placement who was accidentally glued on to the Nativity tableau on the last day of term and was too shy to complain before it set.
I can cope with all this, but what's getting me down is the seasonal sprinkling of Novovirus which I'm convinced is coating every surface.
"Do you think we're at risk of catching it?" I ask the head.
"What gives you that idea?" she says, busily dousing her desk, pupils, staff and lunch trolley with a pump action, industrial size antibacterial spray.
"Do you think it lives on recorders?" I ask.
"Probably, with all that warm spit to breed in," she says. "But look on the bright side. Get them to play 'Au clair de la lune,' and I guarantee the vibrations will finish them off."
I'm still not convinced. "How would you feel if I stood somewhere else for the lessons?"
"I thought the other side of the street would work for me."
"I've got a better idea," she says. "The hamster's dead. Let's soak the spare bedding in disenfectant and put it outside the classroom door."
"Fair enough," I say. "And I've got a leftover shepherd's crook from the Christmas play. If they get their hands the wrong way round I'll prod them with it."
I suppose it could be worse. Thanks to Novovirus' new, improved symptoms there'll be no more boring conversations in the staffroom - we can just draw a target on the notice board and play competitive projectile vomiting instead.