Thursday, 28 July 2011

International Meeting

The end of term meant many activities at the school. There were two Leavers' Assemblies for the Year 6 kids who are off to high school, an end of term picnic, a party for the Y6s, parent's evening... I felt as though I lived there after a while. To add to all of this, we had three Couchsurfers of varying nationalities staying.Aziz is an intelligent, interesting Albanian who fled the troubles of the Kosovo- Serbian war and now lives in Germany. He stayed for a week. We went up the Malverns with him, and into Worcester. He also went off to Shakespeare's birthplace and Ludlow Castle.

Victoria also stayed with us. She is a Buddhist priest from Japan. Well, technically she's English, but she married a Japanese man and brought their youngest daughter with her. Sahara didn't speak much English, but seemed to get on well with my kids, being the same age as Saskia and Eartha. I arranged for her to go into their class for a day too, which Eartha was hugely excited about. I think they had a nice time.Now the holidays are here, we can finally relax a little (who am I kidding?). Yesterday we went for a walk in the forest with Lynn, her twins, her friend Jan, Jan's daughter and Jan's daughter's friend. We had a picnic and let the dog run. It was a nice afternoon out.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Life's Varied Tapestry

It has only been a week or so since I last blogged, but so much has happened it is difficult to put it into print without the danger of it ending up as a list of: I did this, I did that. There is nothing more boring.

My aunt and uncle went back to Holland. I was so busy while they were here, that I felt I didn't see much of them. They took the dog on long walks and spent lots of time with the children, whom they adore. The feeling is mutual. One of the days, the dog got a 2 hour walk from Tonny and Peter, then had another 2 hour walk when the Scouts walked to Arley. He was very happy, though somewhat hungry when he got in.

I managed to lose him on a walk in Cleobury this week. I took the car in to have the brakes done, and went for a walk down the River Rea. I'd not been there before. It is really pretty and we had a great wander. On the down side, I turned back after an hour, but the dog didn't. I had to enlist the help of a farmer and his quad bike to locate the errant mutt, not to mention getting Mum to drive around the back lanes looking for him.

The kids had their respective sport's days, which they seemed to enjoy. They don't excel at sport, but they quite enjoy doing it. They have climbing lessons and swimming lessons and gymnastics lessons, so not exactly couch potatoes.
On Sunday, Kate came over and galvenised us into chopping back th
e garden. We openned up the path and created a mega-mountain of trimmings. This lead to the discovery that a large tree was pushing the fuel tank off its mountings. I had to pay someone to chop down most of the rest of the tree, re-position the fuel tank and take all the foliage away. Expensive business, this gardening.
Also on Sunday, we had a visit from my French friend Steffie, who was in t
he country with her son Matt, visiting Matt's father. It was great to catch up and put the world to rights for a few hours.Donny had her end-of-term violin concert, which was most enjoyable, yesterday, and today the whole of class six had their leaver's party. This seemed to be an exceptionally noisy disco and a barbeque. They enjoyed it. I stayed outside, trying to preserve what was left of my eardrums.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Incongruity of Life

After an intense chat with the radiographer over the phone, I managed to get an earlier appointment. The radiographer was keen to get me to drop everything, cancel work and race over there for a mammogram, as they had 'spotted' something. Whilst this was worrying, I felt that missing out on the few pence I was due to earn today was unnecessary and somewhat overkill for what would probably turn out to be a badly developed X-ray plate.

I own, what I generously refer to as a 'comedy bosom'. My chest is somewhat over-developed. It reminds me of pictures in gutter-press housewife magazines where some greasy-haired slapper is shown, with her breasts hanging over her waistband, under a caption "My Boobs Ruined My Life!". Occasionally, I have thought about breast reduction surgery, after all, it would be nice to wear clothes that don't hang off me like dust-sheets. I don't think I ever will opt for surgery, though, even if I could afford it. It leaves a scar, they often grow back to the same size within a year or two and anyway, I'm loathe to change anything I was born with, even if they are incongruously large. The thought of the 'something' they had spotted leading to a mastectomy naturally crossed my mind. When I toyed with the idea of surgery, I really hadn't thought about going for a lop-sided look.

Mammograms are not the most graceful of experiences. Someone cheerfully manhandles your boobs onto a freezing cold shelf, whilst chatting about the weather. The corner of the shelf is shoved painfully into your armpit (just relax your shoulders!) and then your boob is flattened by a perspex tray. I'm sure the whole machine is on loan from the Dungeon at the Tower of London. To add to that, each picture is marked on your skin with a felt tip pen, so you end up looking as though you are wearing a see-through polka-dot bikini.

Thankfully everything appears to be normal and all the squishing and flattening confirmed I'm going to live. When I told my kids what it was like they thought it was hilarious. My son in particular was gleeful about never having to have such a thing done, until I explained the procedure for testing men for prostate cancer. I've heard Pokemon is a Rastafarian proctologist. And yes, Saskia, they do wear gloves.

Friday, 1 July 2011

That Friday Feeling

Another mega-week under my belt. Cycling everyday is just fab. I used to cycle all the time when I lived in Germany and also when I spent the summers with my aunt in Holland. I'd forgotten what absolute fun and freedom it is to coast downhill in the sunshine, with the wind in your hair. Love it!

My aunt (a different one) and uncle are over from Holland and are camping on Mum's lawn in their van. They spend whole summers touring Europe and generally being well-to-do crusties. They are passing through this way for a week or so before heading back home. The kids adore them, of course. It is always good to see them. Mum loves the company too. The dog is getting more walks than usual, so even he is happy.

I'd just like a short spot here to whinge about my health. I've finally found a job that I love and I am generally happy with life, only to have numerous bits of my body give up on me. I have so many joints that are creaking, I had to pull out of a bowling match this week. I also have to go back for a second mammogram and ultrasound next week (no reason given, so it's worrying the hell out of me). Hmm. I'm not that old, surely?

The kids have all been out of trips too - Saskia and Eartha got to go to a Horrible Histories theatre about Egypt today. They came back burbling about it. Donny and Mel went on an adventure outing, that involved raft making. Somehow they managed to stay dry, though I have no idea how!