Friday, 31 December 2010

Remember to Dance

Mike and Angela came over on Tuesday. We all met at Mum's and did the present opening thing. The kids had bought and wrapped their own presents, which led to some eccentric offerings - including the single wrapped sock Saskia gave to Unky Monkey (Mike), having discovered it after wrapping the other 5 as a bundle. They also got given a selection of Christmas hats, which seemed to go down well.

Our annual visit to the pantomime took us to see Aladdin a
t the Courtyard in Hereford. It was a spectacular, colourful performance, with a different cast from previous years. Very enjoyable.

Well, as the end of the year draws nigh, I am thinking about resolutions and the future. In a spirit of eco-friendliness, I am recycling last year's resolutions - get fit, lose weight, get published - plus adding a new one: Remember to Dance. I spend so much time striving for things that I often forget to dance and enjoy life as it flows. So next year, I am going to try to remember to dance.

I'm thinking about starting a photo-journal blog, with an image a day on it. This is partly inspired by Druid Dave's blog The 11th Hour, where he takes a photo at 11am every day. I'm not quite that organised, and I think 11am photos would be a problem in a classroom environment anyway, so I want to do something more like a Snapshot of the Day thing, based around something interesting or unusual (in the hope that either of those things happen to me daily!)
or funny or just plain mundane.

I met someone at a Mensa meeting, probably 20 years ago now, who used to keep a photo-diary in the days before the internet was in everybody's homes. I thought then that it was a good idea. Maybe I'll fail to keep it going, but we'll have to see. If you don't try, you'll never know.

Anyway, it's called Blink and You'll Miss It. Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Kah Peng and the Druids

A few weeks ago I had an e-mail from Kah Peng through the Hospitality Club/Couch Surfing that we do. Kah Peng is doing a PhD in Bath and is unable to go back to Malaysia for the holidays. Last Christmas he spent a miserable few days completely alone on a deserted campus. He didn't want a repeat of that, so he wanted to come and stay with us. Well, I couldn't let him be lonely, so of course he could come and stay with us.
Kah Peng turned out to be a lovely chap, very open and easy to get along with. He was great with the kids and happy to go along with any plans. We spent Xmas down at Mum's. Dinner was minus the roast parsnips, as the first lot went soggy and curly and the second lot burnt. We had to make three lots of gravy too, because the first two ended up on the floor (and we hadn't been on the sherry, honest!).

Boxing Day (or is it? Someone told me you can't have Boxing Day on a Sunday), we had been invited down to Stonehenge by my friend Veronica of the Cotswold Order of Druids. We all dressed up in cloaks and robes. The winter solstice was a few days ago so this ceremony on the treacherous ice inside the stones, was to mark the return of the sun. They released a helium balloon with a picture of the sun on it, at an appropriate moment, which I really liked. Kah Peng tagged along and said some appropriate words. Donny got to hand out the gold (chocolate) coins to symbolise prosperity in the coming year.

It was very atmospheric, standing in the snow, amongst the huge stones, though I felt somewhat like a goldfish, as about a hundred tourists were watching us from behind the roped off area! This is what those Buddhist monks must have felt like, when I took photos of them last year in China. Sorry guys.

I walked Pal round the Cursus Barrows (3500 year old burial mounds) while everyone else warmed up in the car. Then we drove Kah Peng back to Bath and went to Mum's for a second Christmas dinner - with roast parsnips this time!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


More Snowy Pictures.

Saskia sledging.

Eartha sledging

Mel sledging.

Donny sledging.

Down the lane.

Our road.

Squirrel - you can see the claws.

Bird - obviously.


Monday, 13 December 2010

My Cleaner Hid My Slippers

No, I have no idea where my new cleaner has hidden my slippers. I just wish I could find them, especially with the surprise offerings from the senile cat. I really want my slippers.

Did I tell you the towel rail fell off the wall? The catalogue of disaster gets longer. The wall clock stopped working too - new batteries needed. I'm starting to wonder if it is a conspiracy.

I finally succumbed to the dreaded cough and had to have a day off work. The snow had been so heavy I had to leave the car behind and walk up the hill. Anyone would have thought I was torturing Eartha deliberately, as according to her, it was minus 70, she had frostbite and her feet had turned into penguin feet. And that was just the half a mile up the hill. Two hours later, the power went off and stayed off for six hours. We all had a very early, candle-lit night.
I coughed my way through it, then, in the morning, looking at the glassy roads and feeling majorly rough, I decided to stay home, and promptly fell asleep for another two hours. Here I am, two weeks later, still coughing. Ruddy thing won't go away.

The intense cold did lift slightly last weekend, which allowed the Severn to unfreeze. I've never, ever seen the river frozen. This was a first for me. I could see bemused birds standing on the ice.

I took a weekend away with Mel to Wales (see travel blog), which was lovely, it being the Xmas meet and lots of people there. Mel, however, is still struggling with 'issues' and, consequently, within a few hours of getting home, he absconded on his bike and had to be brought back by the police, this time. Any suggestions? I am at a loss as to what to do with him. I have spoken to every out-reach worker, teacher and medicine man going. They keep shoving me from pillar to post.

I'm sure everything will be alright if I could just find my slippers.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Great. I have incompetent central heating, which fails to stay warm for a whole hour at a time. We have temperatures below freezing and snow which keeps threatening, but never actually falling. The torn ligaments in my shoulder are STILL hurting, over three months after my chiropractor ripped them from humerus and scapula. I live with four untidy children, one of whom is going through a rip-roaring tantrum stage, the like of which has not been witnessed since he was a toddler. Nick is slightly more messy than the kids and invariably does the opposite of what I tell him to do. My cat is both incontinent and senile, so despite having a litter tray in the bathroom, he craps on the dining room floor and leaves puddles for my kids to walk through in their stockinged feet.

Take tonight's scenario: The kids have little requests from school along the lines of 'please provide a set of Mary and Joseph costumes', which, oddly enough I don't have. I'm tired and cold. I have re-pressurised the heating system twice since I got home, because the radiators keep going cold. I discover that Nick has left one of my magazines on the dining room floor and the cat has pissed on it. While I'm clearing this up, one of the children leaves their dinner unattended for a moment and the cat helps himself. Meanwhile, Nick is having hell's own game extracting the car from Mum's drive after being expressly told not to try to drive up it, because it is so slippery. Mel is having a freak-out because I chucked cheese at his dinner and Donny is giving it the full on whine because her music stand is more complicated to put up than one of those interlinking metal puzzles you get in Xmas crackers.

Then, the
pieste de las résistance; I discover the painter has turned the freezer in the garage off, leaving me with a freezer full of melt water. Each tray now contains the rotting remains of frozen food, floating in a smelly mush of defrosted ice of its own making. The whole lot will need to be thrown away.

My stress levels are through the roof.

Is it me?