Sunday, 19 July 2009

If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?

My friend Justin posted some of the Freebird lyrics in his status this week, and they have been going through my head for days. I just love that song. It was the staple of all school discos in the early 80s, along with 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' by Jeff Beck. Anyway, as I am in the final throes of packing for tomorrow's departure, I thought it was finally appropriate.

I have borrowed a top box from a friend, so we can try to fit all our stuff in. Unfortunately it has only three bolts and Karen is still looking for the keys, so I'm off to Halfords in a minute to see if I can get another bolt to fit and some bungees to prevent it flying open as we rocket down the motorway. I don't want that moment where you look in the mirror to see a trail of luggage bouncing away behind you.

So, parts of this post, and all further travel-related musings can be found on my travel blog.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Last Day of School

Yesterday was my last day at work. The decision I made, back in February to quit has finally come around. It was kind of poignant packing up my stuff, turning my room over to someone else, handing in my keys and saying goodbye to my friends and colleagues. The Head, notably, didn't come and say goodbye, or even pop a card in my pigeon hole. One of the TAs bought me flowers and chocolates, which really threw me sideways. That was so thoughtful of her. My department gave me a gorgeous blue glazed dish, which I will treasure.

Do I regret handing in my notice? No, I don't think so. I'm ready for the next adventure. Being a teacher has taught me a lot, but it isn't the job I want to do forever. I have the skills now, to use teaching as a springboard to something else. Bring it on!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

It's a Complicated Life and Mamma Mia!

The complexity of my life just shifted up a gear. I'm already planning and packing for a six week, round Eastern Europe tour and looking for a job for September. Yesterday, I raced after four children, taking them to swimming lessons, getting their hair cut and to try and buy them trousers that fit. I also managed to get four new tyres on the car, given that they were going bald and we're about to drive about 4000 miles on them.

So, to add to the general day to day madness, I got a phone call to say that my uncle (Ries) had been taken into hospital. I won't give you a blow by blow account of the number of phone calls to Holland I've made, trying to get to the bottom of things, but it has been a hectic day.

In a nut shell, Ries was found unconscious in his flat after his neighbour called the police to investigate why the TV had been on full blast all night. He was unresponsive and his lips were blue. They have done some investigations on the hospital and ruled out the obvious causes - not a diabetic hypo and not a stroke either - but he has yet to regain consciousness. He has had some nasty seizures in the hospital and has had to have CPR. He is on a ventillator and, frankly, it doesn't look good for him right now.

I know my aunt Tonny and cousin Loes have been in to see him, but I am unclear as to whether they will take responsibility if the worst happens. In that event, the organisation may fall to Mum and myself. I know it sounds selfish, but that could be somewhat tricky from a different country, even if it is my own country, which it might not be, given our imminent six week jaunt through the Baltic States. Holy crap! My life is complicated.

So, my brother comes down to visit and do some gardening for Mum this weekend. He decided to rig up a big screen in the living room and project Mamma Mia onto it for the entertainment of us all. It was really funny. Abba have some good tunes and the actual film itself was really hilarious. It provided some light relief from the rest of the day's events, anyway.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Sports' Day

My kids had their Sports' Days this week. Mum took some pictures of Saskia and Eartha's races and I did the same for Donny and Mel's. I didn't make it to the younger twins' day because it clashed with work (I guess I still have to go in occasionally), but the older one's was postponed due to rain and rescheduled for Friday. I don't work Fridays, so I got to cheer alongside all the other parents, which is great, becasue I thought I would miss both of them this year.

Anyway, they all did their best and had a fun time trying. Here are a few of their pictures.

Saskia in the running race (she has a green hat on).

Eartha did well in the sack race.

Donny managing the 'egg and spoon' race by holding the ball onto the spoon...

Donny came third in the sack race. She is the one with the orange bag and white top.
Action shot! Mel bouncing along.
Nick ran the fathers' race. He is in the middle with the white shirt. He came second from last, and was very proud he'd not totally disgraced himself!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Hot and Silly

It has been roasting this week. The temperature has been up above thirty Celsius a couple of days running and in the high 20s for the rest of the time. The kids have been limp and it has been hard to get to sleep at night. You just sweat under any sort of cover, let alone a duvet. You wake up damp, for all the wrong reasons.

Today, it started off a little cooler, with a light dusting of rain in the humid air. It was still too hot to wear even a rain coat so I walked the dog in the forest without. It was very pleasant and by the end of the walk, the sun had come out a bit and it was starting to get even hotter again.

I went down to Mum's. She was just off to an appointment at the hospital for her knees, so I offered to drive, as I had to go into town too. We sat in the waiting room for ages. After a while, I picked up a battered-looking women's magazine dating from 2006. Generally, I can't be bothered to read magazines of that type, because they are all fluff and no substance. I get bored in the first three minutes. Given that I was already bored, I thought it might give some distraction.

We finished the crossword. Someone had had a go at it already, but had clearly been baffled by the complicated clues. They had managed to fill in about a third of it and, even then, they had struggled: e.g. something you sew with (6 letters) Answer: Neddle.

With each new spelling mistake we got more and more giggly to the point where my tummy muscles were aching and people were staring at us. Once the crossword was done, there was not much else to entertain us. I pointed out that we should have brought Twister to pass the time, which brought on another round of snorting with laughter. I think the other patients were grateful when we finally got called for Mum's appointment (over an hour late).

Anyhow, the doctor prescribed some more painkillers, which Mum may or may not take. She'll probably manage to get the side effects just from reading the packet. Then we went into the town centre. I left Mum at the supermarket and went to the bank.

I needed to order currency for our big trip. We are planning to pass through a lot of different countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. Each one has different currency - Euros, Zlotys, Kroons, Litas, Lats, Krona and something in Slovakia that you can't even buy here. Put it this way, I had a long queue of hot miserable punters behind me by the time I'd finished confusing the hell out of the cashier.

By the time I got back to the car, Mum was wondering where I had got to. She was sitting under a tree, trying to stop a tub of ice-cream from melting (good luck with that!). By then, it was so late, I had just enough time to drop Mum home before fetching the kids from school.