Thursday, 15 December 2011

Restoring the Balance

The Bikeability season is over. I have taught my last, very chilly, session for this year. Indeed, it looks likely that there will be no more bookings until about March next year, by which time I will be tromping happily all over the Karakorum, no doubt sporting a high-altitude headache.

As irony would have it, the council provided fluorescent yellow jackets last week. They say CYCLE INSTRUCTOR on the back. They are racing-fit, which means slimline and not really designed to have any warm clothes underneath them. They are also summer weight, which means not really suitable for standing around in the wind and light flurries of snow that we enjoyed last week. On the plus point, they are bright enough to be seen from outer space.

I was working with Mike, who was actually easier to get on with than I had been led to believe he would be. We managed to get some of the kids through the course. The school was in a deprived area, and so a lot of the kids had never ridden a bike before, didn't own a bike, and had the road-sense of the average hedgehog. Amazingly we managed to get a few to pass.

At the end of the first day with our new jackets, I noticed the lettering on Mike's was coming off on the back. Oh, how professional we look, shivering in our neon coats with the obscure message
on the back.

In between odd days doing cycle training, I've been decorating the living room. I have painted the walls (badly) and the skirting boards (slightly better). We've had furniture in odd places all over the house, displaced from its usual spot. Yesterday, the day finally arrived. The fitters came and helped me move the sofa outside. I snuggled it under a tarp while the men did their funky thang in the living room. They asked me if I wanted the old carpet, and I said 'no' so they cut it into four. It was only when they were leaving that I noticed they weren't actually going to take it away for me. I guess I mis-interpreted their question.

The sofa came back in, just before a flurry of snow started and I spent the afternoon moving furniture back in to the lounge. I have to say, it looks fabulous. The kids keep rolling on it. Maybe they need to have that tactile thing before they can fully own it.

Anyway, I needed to get rid of the four rolls of old carpet left behind. One can go to a friend, who has no bathroom carpet. The other three? Well, I advertised them on Freecycle and within a few minutes I had three people fighting over them. In the end two rolls are going to a man who wants to carpet his 'cold house' and the third roll went to a woman who wants to keep her chickens warm with it. She took some off-cuts too. Maybe she's making them little carpetty jackets and hats? I'll ask her. She said she's going to give me her spare fire-guard. There's irony for you.

This morning Saskia and Eartha did their school nativity. It was not a cute affair with dressing-gown clad kids wearing tea-towels on their heads. It was more like High School Musical meets Britain's Got Talent. Eartha got a starring role and played it to perfection. She really is a performer. Saskia also performed her part well, making everybody laugh in the right places and singing with a smile. They were brilliant.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of them, as photos are no longer allowed in school. It is a sad state of affairs, when we are all so worried about 'bad' people that we can't photograph our own kids.

Oh yes, I titled this post "Restoring the Balance" because I was going to talk about work and the lack of it over the winter. Dave, who so often fails to return my calls and e-mails and generally hides when I come to call, has actually come up with some work for me to do. Maybe I won't be quite so destitute in January, after all.

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