Sunday, 29 November 2009

Full on Weekend [long].

The trouble with working for a living is that all the fun stuff has to be fitted in around it. There isn't enough time in the week to do all the things you want to do, if you do all the things you have to do as well. The past few days have been a gravity defying feat of trying to fit everything in.

I went to see my friend Sarah on Friday evening. Her husband was away all week, so it was a good excuse for a girlies night in and a chat. I brought round some pretend wine (virtually alcohol free because I had to drive home again afterwards) and we talked until late. That was really nice. We are hoping to go camping together in the summer. We're planning Northern Ireland with my four kids, her three girls, and possibly another friend, Jo, and her three boys. Should be good (or at least fun chaos) for a couple of weeks.

Saturday was manic. The kids had their swimming lessons, then Elaine brought her three boys over to play. Elaine had a concert she was singing in so it made things a little easier for her. Anyway, because it is the school Xmas Fete today (Sunday), Mel wanted to decorate a cake for the competition being run. Of course, if one wants to do it, then they all do....

I had 7 Swiss rolls - one for each child - bowls of icing and melted white chocolate and jelly tots and sprinkles and writing icing... all over the table. It was a lovely sticky hive of activity for a little while.

Once the cakes had been decorated, we left them to set and went to meet Sarah down the forest, where we got our first taste of what it would be like to take 10 children camping. It's kind of like a school trip - there are kids everywhere. So, we let them burn off some steam and get coated in mud at the same time, which is what kids do best.

We went home for tea, and the boys got picked up. Then I had just enough time to get changed and find that having three girls means you have no lipstick left when you want it, but that they all blame each other and their brother. So, we raced out in the rain to the Bewdley Mountaineering Club Xmas meal. Most of them have never seen me not wearing jeans and hiking boots. It was out at an Indian restaurant I've not tried before. We very much enjoyed it, and the food was marvellous, but it meant another late night.

Today started off with at least a partial lie in. I carted the decorated Swiss rolls down for judging and placed them alongside some fabulous, professional looking cakes made into Santas, Xmas trees and snowmen. Our cakes were definitely the poor cousins, but I bet they didn't manage to do seven at once.

The Fete was good. I got some gorgeous wrapping paper, Saskia and Eartha got their faces painted, Mel won a Casper DVD and Donny won a necklace. Everyone got to see Santa, though Eartha has pointed out that he isn't the real Santa. The real one only comes on Xmas eve. (Silly Mummy. Get it right.)

Nick followed us home from the fete, having waited for the raffle draw. He won a large Xmas cake and, better still, Mel's cake won the Class 5 prize! Fabulous!

The weekend is still not over, as I have a friend coming over in a couple of hours for a bit of therapy, though I'm not quite sure where she's going to sit because the ironing is taking up most of the living room at the moment, and I suppose someone should feed the kids at some point.

Oh, and Mum has surprised me completely by agreeing to come to Beijing to walk the Great Wall with me. I have the coolest Mum!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

TravBuddy Map

I've visited 11% of the world according to the TravBuddy map- doesn't sound like much when you put it that way, I guess I've got a way to go then...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Langdale Meet

Eartha and I took a trip out to the Lake District in severe weather this weekend. You can read about it in my travel blog.

Remembrance Day Parade

Mel and Donny are in the cubs and brownies, so they got to take part in the Remembrance Day Parade last weekend. We arrived on time, that is to say ludicrously early and spent half an hour shivering in the car while the Leaders sorted out flags for the parade and distributed fluorescent yellow jackets to temporary traffic controllers. I ended up with one, which helped to keep the wind off.
They marched up to the church for the service. It was very moving. Maybe, as I get older, the reality and enormity of the ‘Great’ Wars starts to sink in. I have a better idea of the sheer scale of it now, than I did when I was a kid.
At the end of the service, the veterans laid wreaths. Everyone filed back outside and the parade paraded back to the car park.

Painting Again

I spent Saturday gainfully employed, painting the dining room. It is a delicate shade of ‘hint of sunshine’ or some such name that some marketing geezer thought sounded better than very, very pale yellow. It took me most of the day, but I’m glad it’s done.

New School

I’ve got some supply work until Christmas. It’s at a school about an hour away in a rural little town. I’ve done a couple of weeks there now, and it is a lot calmer than my old school. The kids lack that ‘near a big city’ edginess that many of them possessed at my last school.

The whole timetable is laid out in a much less frantic way. There are five lessons instead of six, which are longer and allow you to get deeper learning in. The breaks between lessons are long enough so you can actually wind down, catch up with paperwork and find time to look at what you’re teaching next. All in all, the tension I felt at my last place is just not there amongst the staff or students. Not surprisingly, it gets much better Ofsted reports than my old school.

Actually, I saw that my previous school is advertising for a science teacher, so I guess one of my old colleagues has decided to get the hell out too. I wonder who it is. I wonder if they jumped or whether they were pushed.

The evil head there likes to do a lot of pushing. One of my ex-colleagues is going for constructive dismissal and has advised me to do the same. I know I have a case, but I don’t know if I can be bothered. I’m just happy to be out.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Mice Came Back

The mice made a reappearance on Friday night, looking for their crocus stash. Mum discovered they had burrowed into the remains of the sofa, disembowelling it of its stuffing.

Saturday, we took a trip up to the Animal Rescue centre in Tibberton and came away with a shy 10 month old black and white cat. He's spent two days under the sofa, trying to get his bearings. Hopefully, he will deal with the mouse problem. Usually, just the smell of a cat around the house is enough for the mice to decide to move out.

After much deliberation, Mum has decided to call him ... Crocus.