Sunday, 28 November 2010

Let it Snow

So the last half term at the school I am in is half way through. I am here until Christmas and then? Well, I don't know. It has been a good experience. It has built up my self esteem a lot, really, considering how rock-bottom it was after the Bad School. The kids are mostly nice, and the staff are friendly and the regime is actually achievable. I will be sorry to leave. I can't believe I only have three weeks left.

I am doing some admin for Mum's friend Dave, and there is the possibility of writing and running my own wildlife/habitat management courses. I'm slightly daunted by the leap into the unknown, but the more I think about it, the more I reckon it is a good idea. How else should I get out of the classroom, back into environmental stuff and still use the skills I've got? Maybe it is the way forward.

Mel's traumas have not yet finished. His angst at life generally hit an all time high last week, when he decided to 'leave home' at 11.30 at night, wearing nothing but his PJs and a coat. He climbed through the living room window and got the best part of a mile before I found him. After that one (as a climax to all the yelling, shouting and room trashing that has been going on) I took him to the doctors. And the doctor's advice?

"Lock the windows."

No, I'm not kidding.

Currently, however, he is lying in bed feeling awful, having spent the night throwing up and the day nursing a fever and headache. He is not a happy bunny.

The girls and I went to the school Christmas Fete and they went to see Santa. These affairs just suck money out of your purse like a vacuum. Actually, there seems to be a big hole in my finances right now. I was doing OK so I got a bloke in to do some painting of the external woodwork. That, naturally expanded into fixing rotting frames and sills, which costs more. Then the heating started playing up again. The pressure in the system slides down to zero within a few minutes, meaning all we are pumping around the house is steam. The friendly local boiler man suggested putting our boiler in a museum and getting a new one. Hmm. It's not that old, is it?

Finally, to add to the massive amount of money I seem to be spending, I just booked tickets for Donny, Mel and Nick to go to Canada in February. It is the trip that was promised last year when Saskia and Eartha went off to Canada with their Dad. So altogether, that's about emptied my bank account. Anyway, the relatives across the pond will be pleased to see them. Some of them haven't seen them since they were less than 18 months old. I'm guessing they've changed a bit!

The temperature has plummeted in the past few days. The country is deluged in snow, apart from the bit in the middle - i.e. our bit, which has seen -8C but so far little more than a dusting of snow. We can but hope.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


So much to do, so little time! Half term, at the end of October, was filled with sick children trying to perform for the Brownies and Cubs extravaganza. Mel was a rock-star in the performance and the girls were cats. They soldiered on all week, despite flu, but the little ones had to miss the last show when it turned into a stomach bug. Altogether, they didn't have much of a rest.

On one of the better days, their friend came over and they carved pumpkins. It was delightfully squishy and mushy and orange stringy everywhere. They loved it. The pumpkins glowed in the night, as pumpkins should. Five days later the hairy, mouldy, ultra-squishy remains disintegrated all over my dining-room floor and the front of Nick's jumper during the clean-up process. A success all round, then.
I spent an afternoon manning the SARA fundraising stall. It was dead boring so I spent most of the afternoon taking pictures of the swans and the river, which, was far more entertaining than waiting for people to not buy the cakes.

I went to another lecture - this time by Leo Houlding, who is a top rock-climber and BASE jumper. He's just done a new route on El Capitan. He climbed it in about 10 hours, then jumped off the top wearing a parachute, before hiding from the American police - who for some reason think it is an offence to throw yourself off tall things for sport. The video footage was scary enough. I sat there with my palms sweating, just watching it!Lastly, I have some autumny photos of pretty places I've been. The colours have been gorgeous this year.