Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Do you believe?

After ten weeks of no work at all, I am suddenly flavour of the month. The agencies are vying for my services. I have had several days work at the most chaotic Wolverhampton school. Nobody seems to know what anybody else is doing, what room they are meant to be in, who is teaching what class or which students are turning up. Cover work set for me to teach turns up about half the time.

It is the most ethnically diverse school I have worked in for a while. There are Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Chinese, you name it. It's the only place I've been where I have overheard one student ask another in all seriousness "Do you believe in Vishnu?"

By contrast the other school I've been working at, is much better organised. That is the only place I've ever worked (not counting public schools) where there is a whole set of A-A* students. I don't think I've seen so many together at once!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Another Day Another Dollar

I'm glad to say my little family arrived back safely from their trip to Canada. The little twins were totally hyper, wanting to tell us all about everything they have been doing. They've adjusted back to the time difference quite quickly though there were a few groans in the morning.

Yesterday, I went and did a day's supply teaching at a school just half an hour from here. I actually quite enjoyed it, which is a strange thing to admit. Maybe it was because I was relaxed and not stressed about getting a job. I really am crap at interviews. Anyway, in the absence of an interview, the school liked me too, and have offered me two terms work, covering a maternity leave. That's good news for us on a number of levels.

The obvious one, is that come the end of April we'll be able to buy some heating fuel. On the down side, it will be warm enough so that we don't need it by then, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. It will still be a bonus to have running hot water.

The more subtle benefit is that I will be able to see if it is teaching per s
e that is the problem or just the school I was in, that caused the stress levels to be unbearable. I don't remember being unhappy working as a teacher before the last school I was in. Tired, yes, but unhappy? No. We'll have to see how two terms pans out.

Bridge near the Severn Valley Railway

On a totally different note, it has been chaos getting around due to the roadworks. Seriously, the centre of Bewdley has been dug up completely since January and is not due to be filled in until May. They are replacing all the pipes under the street, but because of the river, the only place to cross leads right onto the main street. All other roads also pass around the church in the middle of town. They have 4-way traffic lights on the incoming roads and it can take twenty minutes to pass through the town centre, because there is no way around it.
The centre of Bewdley

Then to add to the fun, there are roadworks up in Callow Hill which we have to pass through, then another set down by the Safari Park, which is also a major route. Finally, to add to the circus, they have decided to replace all the pavements outside our house this week, meaning the entrance to our drive is currently half way along a convoy between two sets of temporary traffic lights.

Now how do I get into my drive?

I suppose I should be grateful that they are timed traffic lights. The roadworks at Callow Hill have a pair of youths with STOP/GO signs. One of them wears a hoodie and dark glasses like some sort of rapper gangsta, but with a high vis fluorescent jacket to ruin his street cred. Due to lack of communication, the youths both had their signs on GO last time I tried to get through. I ended up facing a confused looking driver coming the other way, as we both tried to squeeze through the gap between the cones and the hedge. You just can't get the staff.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Catching Up

It was supposed to be a quiet week, with Nick, Saskia and Eartha away in Canada, but somehow it has turned into one of the busiest for a while. Once again, it has been one thing after another.

Last week Mum called over at Peggy's for a cup of tea, only to find Peggy collapsed on the floor, having had a stroke. Peggy lives alone and had been there on the floor over 24 hours. Mum rushed her off to hospital, and thankfully, she is making a slow recovery, but has little use of her left hand side at the moment. So the night before Nick and the girls were leaving I went visiting Peggy in hospital with Mum and one of Peggy's daughters.
Nick and girls headed off horrendously early the next morning.
Not to be outdone, I took Donny and Mel up to the Yorkshire Dales for the weekend with the mountaineering club. Last time I packed in a rush I forgot Saskia's trousers. This time, to keep the tradition going, I forgot Donny's pyjamas. Oh well, she got to wear my T-shirt in bed instead.

We had a nice weekend, but the activity didn't stop there. Monday is Bro
wnies, Tuesday is cubs, Wednesday we went climbing at the indoor wall, Thursday was choir and Strings group. In the midst of all this, Mum has taken up feeding the cat that Peggy was feeding for the other neighbours, fed our cat over the weekend and had the dog while we were away. She said she wants a weekend away herself to get away from all the animals!
We also ended up making marmalade. Peggy is a great cook, something I most certainly am not. Before her trip to hospital, she'd bought a whole load of Seville oranges, ready to turn into a culinary delight. The oranges were going past their best so Mum took up the baton. We boiled, sliced, sugared and simmered. It was a sticky experience. Eventually the stuff set, but it has been boiled to more of a brown than a golden orange colour. I'm sure Peggy would be horrified.

Best not tell her.

The car needed an MOT this week as well. (This is an annual safety check required by law.) The car needed a bit of work doing, so I ended up leaving it there for a couple of days. On a more positive note, there has been talk of some teaching work for next term. It's not as though I want to teach, specifically (in truth, I'm nervous and stressed just at the thought), but needs must and we are running out of savings to live on. On the down side, there's an interview of sorts, and as we all know, I am crap at selling myself, so that's something else to get stressed about.

Meanwhile, my brother Mike and girlfriend Angela have managed to get the keys for their new house. They bought it at auction and have had a nightmare time getting a mortgage on it in time. It's a cottage about 150 years old, and a renovation project, in need of a damp course. It is so pretty though. It has the most bucolic of names along the lines of Walnut Cottage, Rose Lane, Woodley and it fits its description. It is white on the outside, with black timber beams inside and two beautiful bay windows. It looks out over the town and fields. It's quite roomy inside, though the floors need lowering for my brother, who hits his head on the integral ceiling beams if he's not careful. It's all in the master-plan, I believe.

We drove up to see it for the first time today, and it is really going to be lovely when they have done it up.

Monday, 1 March 2010


A little time can change things. I am much happier today. The sun has been shining. It is March already. The daffodils are coming up and there are a couple of crocuses starting to poke their heads above ground at last. Everything is a few weeks late this year, but it is finally starting to turn to spring. I can feel it in the air.
I decided to take the dog for a walk along the river bank. I'm kind of avoiding the forest, following the disgraceful performance the hairy monster managed last time. The River Severn runs from Wales down to Bristol. It used to be a major trading route, but now it is only navigable up to Stourport.That's where I walked to today from Bewdley. It is about 5 miles and it took me just over an hour. It was bright and I didn't even have to wear my winter coat. What a relief it is to shed an outer layer for a few hours.I took some photos of the cygnets, Canada geese and a pair of coots. The catkins are just coming out too. The blue bridge is in Stourport, and I thought it looked pretty in the sun. Mum came and gave me a lift, so I didn't have to walk another five miles - back to my car!