I use to work in primary schools - I toured hundreds of the things in fact, and had fun doing so. But I noticed a common problem in all of them. Coffee mugs.

It seems that no one who works in a school has time to wash their coffee mug - as a result a large pile of detritus always seems to accrue towards the end of the day. I spent a lot of time in primary school staffrooms looking at piles of coffee mugs in the sink.

With only one exception, every single sink had 'Please wash your mugs!' written over it, usually in big marker pen, and laminated at great expense to the craft department. These signs were clearly having no effect at all.

The exception to all this was in a very small school. It was fairly ordinary: nice building, neat staffroom - but there were no mugs in the sink. Nothing. Not a one. And above the sink was possibly the saddest sign I'd ever seen: 'All the fairies have gone'. Clearly someone had tired of always washing the mugs, and had announced their intention to do it no longer.

And people, shocked into submission by the retirement of the fairies had begun to dutifully wash their mugs. How sad, that such negativity could have the desired effect. And that even in primary schools there weren't any fairies left.

The world, at that point, got a little less magical.

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