Thursday, May 31, 2007

Digital eyes again!

I love my kids. My CAMERA has arrived!!!!!! I have read the instruction book and clearly need a masters degree in photographical lingo to understand a word. I do understand that the battery takes about 7 years to charge. Well, I exaggerate a trifle, but it is going to take AGES and I want to play. NOW.

It is SO exciting. I have taken to CAPS in a big way to illustrate the EXCITEMENT! I will have digital eyes once again! Tomorrow, my friends. I don't care if it is an image of the state of the kitchen floor, but you will have a photo. (That is if I manage to work out how to a) take a photo, b) get photo off camera. )

I am off to drool over the little thing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Eureka moment.

Hello. I am back. I have been talking to my friends about work and the unease I am feeling at the moment, and one "Eureka" moment has really had an impact on me and what I am thinking. And being a generous soul, I am sharing it with you.

I have discovered the difference age ( and the wisdom or experience that age brings) makes to the workplace. I see things from a diametrically opposite side to the young ones at the school where I work. Their identity is caught up in what work they do. How high up the ladder they are. They fight for their position, and defend it with everything they have in the arsenal. Whatever it takes. They ARE their work. They are defined by their position. Me??? Oh no. I am SO much more than the work I do. And this is something that comes with the wisdom of age, I think. My work is a part of me. It is not me. I don't want it to BE me. You know what I am saying? I am not saying that I am better, just different, with a different perspective on life.

I don't need to rise up the ladder. Can't be bothered with ladders, unless it is to chop trees. I have no desire to advance anywhere at the moment. If I decide on further training, it will be because it interests me, or because I want to learn something new. It will not be to acquire status. My status is just fine, thank you. Everything I hold dear is here at home. In this place, with my family and friends. I work to earn enough money to pay the bills. I do not need a fortune. I am happy as I am. My ambition is to be a better person, better mother, better friend, sister, daughter. My dream is to make a difference. I seem to be out of step with modern life. I am a dinasaur.

The young empire builders have not learned this yet. They have not been confronted with the tragedies or fragility of life. Yet. More money. Bigger houses. More power. I don't want a glittering career. If I could, I would stay home like I did for 30 years, and do what I do best. Don't get me wrong..... I have to work, and do so willingly. It is the attitude to money that saddens me. The hard truth today is that money is central, not people. The budget is important, not the kids. I would not be at all surprised if (or when) the day dawns when schools are expected to make a profit in financial terms. Don't they realise why people are more important? I am sitting here thinking that I would not swap my life for theirs for anything. I value who I am.

I want to be back in my world, where people care about each other. Where people do good things, and are kind. Where there are no ulterior motives. Where there is no back-stabbing or rumour-mongering. Where people give freely of their time and money and talents. Where help is as natural as breathing. Where people do not lie or twist innocent words. Where you are valued for who you are, not what you own or what position you hold. Naive? Maybe. Probably. But good? Oh yes. I like my world. I am not so sure about this other place I have wandered into.

People tell me that this "other" world I find myself in is the normal one. This is the way things are. It enrages me. It saddens me. It makes me wonder how we let things get to this stage. Is it just age that makes me see it is wrong? Is it my belief in God who clearly tells us that Love is the most important thing in life? Or has it always been this way?

Where is the genuine laughter and happiness? And why does my son say to me almost every day...."Smile, Mum" ???? I have a lot of thinking to do.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More bits and pieces

There have been moments in the past 3 days when I have actively considered starting to build an Ark. We had more rain in one day than usually falls in a month. And it has not stopped. (Well, to be accurate, it is not actually raining this precise moment, but 5 mins ago was a different story!)

I had a great birthday, and our breakfast with the babes was followed by lunch with my friends. Pete and Glynis had asked my closest friends to lunch, and it was such good fun! And lovely to have time to chat to everyone and catch up. So I was thoroughly spoilt. And talking about being spoilt, my children have got together and have bought me a new camera! I haven't got it yet, but it should arrive this week. I was SO excited, as the old one is deader than dead. It is no more. It is an ex-camera. And I miss having it at hand all the time, so I was so thrilled to hear I will soon be snapping again. Rest assured, you will all be seeing the results.

I had a stream of lovely calls from friends and family too, so it was a good day. Very good.

Today I was up early and decided to get the calls to the Coroner and hospitals out of the way, and the only news I have is that the file has finally gone to the Coroner for review, and if he is satisfied that enough information is there, he will set a date. Probably not before September. But I will be so glad when I get a date sorted. This is the sort of thing it is easier to do during breaks from school. It took all morning, and my head was exploding afterwards. I need to sort lawyers for the inquest too. It is almost a year since Geoff died. Just days really.

So - I have been able to cross a couple of things off the list. The tennis is on in Paris, so that is good to watch. On TV. You do not want to hear about embroidery machines and overlockers and taking mother shopping. I have been given brussels and purple sprouting brocoli for the allotment, and will go and plant them as soon as there is a break in the rain. I am a fair weather gardener! Tomato plants are also here, but will be planted in my garden I think. You cannot see my kitchen at the moment. All my plants for the baskets, tubs and allotment are all over the place. Pending. It will get done!

I love holidays and a little more time to relax, and do the things I need to do. And, hopefully, a couple I really want to do too.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


It is indeed my birthday today, as Diana announced in the comments yesterday. Thank you for all the good wishes. This time last year, while I had been blogging for a while, I didn't have any blogger friends, and now, I can't imagine not being part of a world which has immeasurably added to my life. Thank you, everyone!

It is raining. Torrentially. The shed roof was done at just the right time! I have just been to have breakfast with the babes. The twins and I share a birthday, and they are 4 today. I remember the day they were born so well...... I looked after Bekah for the day, and now I say we are triplets. 4+4+53=61/3=20.333 etc. So we are all 20 today. She says, grinning. At least I will always know where a party is being held on my birthday! Breakfast was a party too. Coco-pops and croissants. And lots of laughter and noise. And Mr Potatoehead and mermaids and Barbie dolls and helicopters. And coffee. Who could ask for a better start to the day?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Off the roof and in one piece!

The clouds are gathering. Dark and ominous out there. It is going to be an exceedingly wet bank holiday.


My shed is re-roofed. There were moments when I was not sure I would be able to get back down again. After hammering in the nails, sitting with my legs bent as though I was riding a horse, they sort of froze and locked in position, and I had visions of being perched up there forever. David managed to yank my foot back to reach the ladder, and I am just thankful that my camera has expired or you might have seen me lying draped over a shed roof clutching a hammer. Give me strength.

I am not sure my roofing skills would stand up to a hurricane type of wind, but as it is summer soon, I am assuming there will be none of that. I did have one mishap when I threw the roll of roofing felt onto the roof and half the window fell out. That was not in the plans. Never fear.... I have cunningly stuck a melamine tray in the hole until I can find out how to reglaze. I am on a rollercoaster of learning experiences it seems. I do not think I was born to do this, though. I should be sitting sipping Pimms or something. Sigh.

And I am not finished yet! I got out the hedgetrimmers Margaret lent me, plugged them in and started on the hedge. Then I got the ladder and had David hold the bottom as I got higher and higher into the trees wielding them above my head. I looked like a tree myself. I was covered with branches and leaves in a most attractive fashion. Mother, bless her, got a chair and a pair of secateurs and started cutting up the debris for the garden bin. Then the loppers and I attacked the apple tree. And anything else that caught my eye. My garden is scalped. The wheely bin is full and I have piles all over the place.

So, after a trip to the DIY shop to get more nails, (as one can never have too many I feel) and industrial strength mouse killer too, (on the premise that if I am going to empty the shed and sort things, I would like to be certain any rodents are ex-rodents first) I downed tools. I have not seen any mice, but there was one last year which I think I dispatched. But my shed could just be their holiday home for the summer, so I am leaving out a welcome pack. I am nice like that.

So, now I am going to batten down the hatches, and sprawl in front of the TV and drink coffee and relax. And do nothing. I may go and look at my new shed roof when the rain starts. And grin.

Friday, May 25, 2007

School is out for a week

I am on holiday from school for a week. Our year does not end until 20th July, so we still have a way to go and plenty of high stress exam time as well. This is our last halfterm of the year. And it has not come a moment too soon.

This has been a week of highs and lows. Horrible lows. We will cover the lows first and then end on a high or I could ruin your weekend. I wrote a post last night, and then did not publish it because it made me more miserable just to read it.

The school I work for is restructuring at the moment. That means no-one feels secure, and everyone is watching their backs. It means that the stress levels are higher than ever, and demands are impossible. I have been trying to clarify my position ever since I leapt into teaching, (at their request.... well, they begged) and have run into brick walls all the time. Different agendas, in-house politics, and empire buiding. You name it - it is happening there. My job? Well, I have some decisions to make. They wanted my decisions today. After giving me the option yesterday. Not possible. I need facts and figures, and time to think.

Sigh. I am going to have to start another secret blog which I can password protect for my friends away from here so I can say what I want to say. Frustration and weariness. Those mountains I talked about plodding up merrily? Hah. Don't believe a word I say. Everest is a dwarf. And I am sliding backwards down the slope with increasing pace, wearing roller skates. Staying still would be a mega achievement right now. And the exhaustion makes things worse than ever. I am in a slump. IN. A. SLUMP. I just want things to work. I want things to be calm and fine for a while. I don't want to have to make important decisions. I just want to work hard, do my job and have something of a life.

Enough of the misery.

Glynis and I went to IL DIVO on Wednesday night. It was superb. And the supporting act was a young pianist from America called William Joseph. He was wonderful too. I am getting old, you know.... the initial burts of music at a zillion decibels nearly fried my brain. But after a couple of songs, I was acclimatised. As I keep sighing when I hear them sing.... "Their mothers must be SO proud of them", to my kids' amusement.

The NEC Arena was packed, and I bonded with my neighbour. I mean bonded. She was not petite. And overflowed onto my seat, and our sides, in the heat, sort of welded together. I had given up on the glamorous bit, you understand. I actually rolled my trouser legs up to the knees to avoid passing out from heat. At my advanced age anything is allowed. But the music was beautiful, and the half hour walk back to the car park was fine as it was not raining, and the hour drive was also ok, despite the roadworks which appeared while the concert was on. This was the last Christmas present I had to open. Glynis and Pete gave me my ticket for Christmas, and I can safely say it was worth waiting for.

So now I have to start on that list of "to do" things. Like planting my bedding plants, re-roofing the shed, cutting the hedge. Quiet, relaxing things. I may even post a picture of me perched on the shed roof with a hammer between my teeth. Or maybe not. Or up the ladder wielding hedgetrimmers in a manic fashion. You just never know..........

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Celebrating Me ( - or just an ordinary woman)

This week's edition of Woman to Woman, hosted by Morning Glory and Lei, is an attempt to get us to speak about our strengths, as women. To celebrate our own strengths. Not so easy. We are not good at saying nice things about ourselves, and I am no different from the rest of you. It is so much easier to talk about the strengths of other people, who all seem so amazing in comparison to ourselves. I am ordinary. A mum, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher.
How many of you also battle to accept compliments graciously? I have been trying for years to get that one right, and am, at last, now able to simply smile and say thank you, instead of brushing it aside, and mumbling something inane. How did we get so stupid? We are women. We are amazing. We should be proud of who we are and what we do.

My strengths. Um. Yes. I was born a warrior, in a way. I fight battles for other people, and am super cool in times of crisis. I am not so good at fighting for myself though. But, if you need someone to fight for you, I am good at that. I can think very quickly in moments of stress, and my mind seems to process stuff faster than lightning as the adrenalin is pumping. So that is why people come to me in times of crisis, and need help. I am good at that. I can sort things. I am strong and confident. On the outside. Inside? Well, not many people get to see that part. The wobbly bit. I have been heard to say that I am coming back in my next life as weak and feeble, so that everyone will run around fixing my life for me, but I have a suspicion I would not last more than a day or so before I died of boredom.

(This is much harder than even I thought it would be.) Where was I? Strengths. I like people. I mix easily with everyone, and people talk to me. I like people. I like to talk. They seem to like to talk back. I can get an entire queue in the supermarket chatting together in seconds. I have been known to do this, to the mortification of my children. I mean, really.... what would you do if you saw a young man at the checkout with a 2 steaks, a bottle of wine and 2 potatoes? I asked if he was cooking for someone special, and he blushed and said yes, his new girlfriend.... so I said ( as you do) need a salad. Go and get one quickly. Do you think so? he said. Absolutely, said I. So off he trotted, while the lady behind me agreed with me, and the cashier said, maybe he should get some dressing too, so by the time he got back, we had more stuff for him to go and get and we all chatted amongst ourselves. Then he needed chocolates, as the man behind the lady behind..... I digress.

I am a good friend. A great friend. My friends really matter to me, and I never take friendship lightly. Friendship, like any relationship, takes work. It does not just happen. I am an optimist. I have always been able to see the positive side to things, and I am eternally grateful for that, especially after the stuff life has thrown my way recently. I never give up. I believe. I try. I might fail, but tough, at least I tried. Like teaching. Heaven knows this is a "trying" time. I do my best. I don't believe in half measures. So I do tend to throw myself into things with vigour. This is not always wise. I also tend to get swamped.

Most of this is stuff I think you will know about me by now, anyway. (It would be MUCH easier to do this for someone else, MG. ) I am very good at textile art. I love designing beautiful things. I love kids, and I think I have been a good Mum. My children have certainly turned out very well, despite having me for a mother, so I must have done something right!

This is ridiculous. I am just me. I was shy once, but being married to a man who was away for 9 months of the year meant my children and I would either die of boredom alone in my home, or I would have to conquer shyness and get out there and make a life for my kids too, so that is what I did. In a sense, I was a single mother all my married life. It was how things were. It made me strong. Ironically, that same strength can also be intimidating, which is not great. (But it can be useful when I am out in warrior mode though! The inquest could be interesting.)

I am the sort of woman who cares too much, loves too much, tries too hard, attempts too much, doesn't know when to give up, doesn't know when to say no, and always believes the best in other people until I am proved wrong. Does this make for blissful happiness? Not always. But I would rather love and know the pain, than never love at all, try and fail, rather than never know if I could have done something. I AM going to be one of those women who gets to the end of her life, and knows that she has lived with all of her being. Why let fear rob you of life? Why build barricades around your heart? What is the worst thing that could ever happen? Is it likely to happen? And if it does, as it did to me, you know what? You pick yourself up and you plod on one step at a time, one day at a time, one mountain at a time, and one day, you find that you can look up and grin. God put me right here in this place for a purpose, and I am going to find out what it is. One day. I hope. But right now, this is who I am, and this is my strength. I am as good at mopping up tears as I am at shedding them. I feel. I hurt. I dream. But I am not afraid. I am a woman. I believe in life, and love and laughter.

That is it. I am finished. I do not want to do this again. It was like pulling teeth.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Anyone know how to stretch weekends?

I said I loved weekends. I do. The trouble is that they are too short. I want another one now. I just opened the lesson plan template to start writing lesson plans, and thought, no. Not right now. It can wait till later. Or very early tomorrow. I am not in the mood.

Andrew and Ann arrived shortly after I got home on Friday, and I spent a lot of time just looking at this child of mine, who is now 30. Hmmm. Yes, he is still the child I gave birth to. Just all grown into a man a long time ago, with his own personality, ideas, beliefs, values. If I met him today, I would like him. He is interesting and immensely intelligent, and still manages to deposit all his belongings all over the house, leaving a trail from the front door. It is reassuring that some things never change! The boy is still in there somewhere.

I would (or could) have slept all morning on Saturday. Mum woke me with coffee at 8.30 so I dragged myself out of bed. Reluctantly. And then issued the edict that everyone was going to go and dig the allotment. 3 line whip time. Mum too. So off we all trundled in the allotment car. This is a cunning plan to compensate for the fact that the previous allotment holder has yet to give me the keys to the sheds down there. I keep all the tools and equipment in Geoff's car, and we use that to go down to the allotment, hence the Allotment Car. I am a genius.

David and I rolled about with laughter at Andrew's disbelief at the size of the earthworms, and bugs. As Ann said..... he is not at one with nature. But we all got digging, and as usual, David and I managed to maroon ourselves on an island in the middle of the digging area. Everything is growing beautifully, and there should be more rain, so it is looking good. I planted all the beans as well. David is amazing, and incredibly strong. He is used to the physical work now, and his brother is not. Nor has he any intention of getting used to it. Unless he visits me, that is. I require my sons to dig. That is why I had them. Of course.

The men came home to watch the FA cup final, while I took Mum to the garden centre to get petunias for my baskets and pots, and then, so help me, we all fell asleep. The football was mind-numbingly boring, even for the fans, and we all know how much I LOVE football. I don't think so. Fortunately, someone phoned, so we managed to wake in time to go out to dinner.
The World's End was great, and we met Pete and Glynis there, and had a happy evening together, celebrating Andrew's advanced age, before coming home, and nodding off in front of the tv again. I need something to give me energy, it seems. As a matter of fact, I called my friend Ros on Friday night at 9pm, and we were discussing how sad it is that we KNOW we can phone at 9pm on a Friday night, and we will be at home. Tiling floors. Snoozing. Whatever. We clearly need to get a life. Or lives.

And then today, I shot out of bed early to tidy the house on the run, before Colin arrived from Heathrow. He lives in Australia now, but we all grew up together in Cape Town, and our Mums were best friends. I had not seen him for 9 years, and we had a great time catching up. I also managed to almost serve him pasta with carbonara sauce, before Mum realised it had bacon in and he was vegetarian, so I had to zoom down to the shop to buy an alternative sauce, at the point where I was actually dishing up the food. Not clever. But, it all worked out. They chatted amongst themselves while I ran about like a headless chicken. Nothing unusual, then.

Now we are back to normal. The house is still recovering from the sudden influx of people, and the dishes are piled up, but who cares. I had a great weekend. One more week till half term.

Ho hum..... I am sitting here waiting for an email to arrive, with photos taken this weekend by my son. They have been swallowed out there in the ether. Patience is not my best quality. Correction... the lack of it is my worst quality. Now where did I put that axe???? Eureka! It has arrived!!

Crystal- I can't remember where your blog is. I want to visit..... can you please leave me a link in any comment section? Thanks!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The good part of Friday is here

Ahhhhhhh............................ the weekend is here. I love weekends. Perhaps I have mentioned that before. Once or 50 times. Fridays are my absolute worst days at school, but Andrew and Ann have arrived for the weekend, and we will be having a celebratory meal out tomorrow together. How Andrew managed to tear Ann away from her new clavinova, I do not know, but it is great to have them here for a couple of days. Then on Sunday, we are expecting our friend from Australia for the day. He is en route to Europe and has one day here.

So it will be busy, and I will probably not have much time to post or visit but I will catch up when they have all gone. Half term starts next Friday, and we have a week off. I can't wait.

We must get down to the allotment tomorrow and dig that next patch, and it is the FA cup final from the New Wembley, so I gather the males will be watching. Not me. I just want to sleeeeeeeeeeeep.............

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Mess with a post in which you have used numbers, and then try to add photos. It went completely haywire and extended itself and changed gaps and ..... oh well. It is as good as I can get it.

Part of the crossed off List

As requested, here are some of the things I have managed to cross off my list:

Weekend in Paris

Flight in a hot air balloon (the landing was a trifle bumpy!)

Been to Wimbeldon to watch the tennis

To Windsor to see a polo match (and the Queen)

To Twickenham for a rugby international

Walked down an Alp (quite a few actually)

Watched my son get married to a wonderful girl

Seen my son and daughter graduate from University

Been on a gondola in Venice

Seen the tulip fields in Holland

Heard the Vienna Boys Choir in Vienna

Read all the Thomas Hardy books (not that wonderful)

Seen Cirque du Soleil

Dug up an allotment

Flown to Scotland for the day to surprise a friend

Watched a wedding in the church from the Sound of Music

Fallen in love

Taught myself to play the guitar

Sung in the Messiah (and a lot of other things)

Built a dollshouse (a small one.... the large one is waiting for oh, maybe retirement)

Learnt how to use carpentry tools

Learnt how to make myself understood in German

Started a book club

Had my hair highlighted

Walked in a bluebell wood

Been to every cathedral in the UK

Explored Stratford-upon-Avon

Driven across Europe

Been to Covent Garden to see a ballet

Been to an opera at the Paris opera house

Planted a garden

Knitted (and worn) something


Built a study myself

Re-roofed a shed

Been on a rollercoaster (you can do a complete circuit without breathing)

Had my portrait painted. (that was not my idea)

Zoomed down an Alp on trotti bike (scooter thingy)

Redecorated my house (repeatedly)

Been to lobby MPs at Parliament

Met Wilbur Smith

Played in the Church music group

Organised a bazaar

Been to most of Western Europe

Had a manicure

As I said, some are insignificant. There are more, but at least you can see some of them. I will be sure to let you know when the defrosting of the freezer is crossed out.

Today, my son turned 30. I am the mother of a 30 year old. Me. Good grief. He is a wonderful man, and I love him to bits, and am so proud of him. (But he will always be my little baby boy.) Happy Birthday, Andrew!

This photo was taken when he was about 3. A LONG time ago! The one above was taken at his wedding 4 years ago.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The List

Susan Has asked me to post The List. The List is one I have had around for years, of things I want to do in my lifetime. Before I die. Well, that is not a morbid thought at all, it is just a very large "to do" list, and I review it every year, and cross off some, hopefully, and then so help me, add a zillion more. There is no way on earth that I will get to do them all, but I like shooting for the stars, after all, and as I said in the last post, dreams are good.
  1. Go to Alaska
  2. See the aurora borealis
  3. See New England in the Fall
  4. Paraglide off an Alp
  5. Run the Great North Run (a half marathon)
  6. Have a helicopter flying lesson
  7. Finish reading War and Peace (I started when I was 18. You do the maths)
  8. Explore New Zealand
  9. Learn to ski
  10. Grow all my own vegetables
  11. Sew all the quilts in my head
  12. Finish my scrapbooks
  13. Make my youngest son a celebration quilt
  14. Be debt free
  15. Be a Granny
  16. Live in Switzerland
  17. Build my own eco friendly home - I have had the plans for years
  18. Spend more time with my friends all over the world
  19. Learn how to make jam
  20. Learn to carve wood
  21. Learn how to paint properly
  22. Speak better German
  23. Read the mountain of books I have waiting to be read
  24. Get better at Excel
  25. Clean out my filing cabinet
  26. De-clutter my life
  27. See my youngest child graduate from university one day
  28. See my children all happy and settled with people to love them
  29. Entertain more often
  30. Survive an inquest (soon I hope)
  31. Campaign for causes I value dearly
  32. Spend more time alone
  33. Learn to be silent
  34. Go to Prague
  35. Ride a horse
  36. Watch a cricket match at Lords
  37. Go to a rugby international at the Millenium stadium
  38. Ride another roller coaster
  39. Spend a week in London exploring the museums and galleries
  40. Go to the ballet and theatre more often
  41. Learn to take better photos
  42. Write a book
  43. Have a fireplace in my home
  44. Laugh more each day
  45. Go to the Lion King
  46. And Les Miserables (again)
  47. Defrost my freezer (if you knew me, you would know why this is on the list)
  48. Fix everything that needs fixing
  49. Have perfect nails (I would settle for perfect nails for a week)
  50. Drive a tractor

That is 50. You would be bored out of your mind if I listed the entire List, so this will have to do. An eclectic mix. It is not a list about acquisition at all, but about experiencing things and learning, and then just "getting round to" as well. So many places I want to see, and learn about. But you know what? If I don't get to do any of them, (the defrosting the freezer bit is rather pressing however) that will be fine. The important part is having the dreams, and wanting to learn. The worrying part is when I stop and think of all the things I USED to know and have forgotten. Oh well.... I am just making room for new things!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Seven things.......

His singer has tagged me for a meme on "7 things you don't know about me." Or something like that. Anyway, 7 random things about me. Hmmm. Let me think.

Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged and to read your blog!

  1. I have an absolute compulsion to know the news. I need to know what is going on all over the world.
  2. I LOVE quizzes. General knowledge type of quizzes. And I need to find out all the answers too.
  3. I have a very long list of things I want to do before I die. It gets longer each year, but I do manage to cross bits off now and then. It ranges from pie-in-the-sky to banal. ( I have crossed off the hotair balloon ride...that was great!) Dreams are good.
  4. I make mixed media wallhangings of family trees. I am a textile artist at heart. Not a teacher. Now I have no time to be creative.
  5. If I had grown up in a different time or place, I might have been a carpenter. I love working with wood.
  6. I am a night owl. I love being up late, especially when everyone else is asleep. That is when I get computer time.
  7. I adore books. I always have a pile waiting to be read. I have way too many, and I cannot sit still in a house where I can't see any. It feels weird.

So that is my list. Now I tag Heidi , Laura , Isabelle , Momteacherfriend , Susan , Linda , and
Dawn . Of course, as you know, my memory is not what it once was, and you may very well have already done this one! So feel free to skip it if you have. It is becoming increasingly harder to find people who have not done all the great memes doing the rounds. And thanks very much for the thinking blogger award from Sandy ..... I have been meaning to say how honoured I am that you chose me, Sandy. Thanks! Not that there have been any great thought-provoking posts in recent days.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Stolen child - Pray for Madeleine

Little Madeleine McCann was snatched from her parent's holiday apartment in Portugal 10 days ago. Please pray for her safe return. She had a 4th birthday on Saturday. It is unbearably sad to think some evil people would do something like this. The more prayers, the better. And our blogging world is very good at the prayer part. Very good. So let's make it work for her too. The link is to the latest BBC story and the photo is from the BBC website as well. If I had the vaguest idea how to make a button, I would make one. Is there anyone out there who could? Then we could all have it on our blogs. Especially as this is Mother's Day around the world.

My sister phoned my mother today for Mother's Day (it is in Switzerland too, just not here) and she asked why I had not put it on my blog. I look at the readership on the map and there are people in Europe, both Western and Eastern, who do read it, and so I especially ask them to keep looking, wherever they may be.

We all have so much to be thankful for.
  1. Our children
  2. Our parents, especially our mothers
  3. Our families
  4. Our friends

And also for the ability to enjoy the ordinary everyday things in our lives. The simple things.

Like these - my weekend review looks something like this:

  1. Go to town to pay bills
  2. Take Mum to Traidcraft coffee morning
  3. Take Mum shopping
  4. Work on allotment between rain showers
  5. Dig up half the weeds in the world
  6. Plant more potatoes and beans
  7. Lose ability to straighten up
  8. Lose all strength in hands due to weed removal
  9. Go to Eurovision party No 1
  10. Shriek with disbelieving laughter at results
  11. And songs
  12. But the UK did not come bottom
  13. 3rd from the bottom
  14. Church in the rain
  15. Marked books
  16. Out to coffee with friend
  17. Lesson planning
  18. Coursework planning
  19. Threw self on floor in despair when saw impossible new teaching scheme handed out by new dept head.
  20. Contemplated resignation
  21. Again
  22. Found chocolate
  23. Ate it
  24. Sundry meals cooked, washing done, beds changed etc etc

There you have it. I lead a truely exciting life. It is still raining, and the heating is still on. And I have to go to work in the morning. Sigh.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday things

Time flies. Whether you are having fun or not. I have been knee deep in reports, marking, rates (you do not want to know about them..... school assessment thingies.... lots of numbers that are supposed to mean something) and lesson plans for the new rotation starting next week. It is raining. This is good. For the garden. Not when I have parked my car as far away as is humanly possible from any sort of cover, and have straightened my hair in an effort not to look like Annie.

I am now an authority on what an excess of sugar does to children at break time. Bouncing off the wall is putting it mildly. You know, I had read for years about additives and caffeine and sugar being triggers for unbelievable behaviour, but I had never ever realised just what an impact it has on some kids. Now I know. I can spot sugar overload at 40 paces. And 40 paces away is where you need to stay.

The weekend will be here tomorrow, and I have had all sorts of great intentions of posting thought-provoking stuff, and intelligent talk. Intentions are good. I am exceptionally good at having good intentions and then postponing them. All I can visualise when I close my eyes is a series of little boxes with numbers which are supposed to be significant, and which I don't understand. So I am posting drivel. Tough.

Saturday is the pinnacle of television viewing here. It is the Eurovision song contest. It is so unbelievably funny, even though it is not meant to be, and we always have Eurovision parties, (I have been invited to 2 so far!) where we choose our favourite, and cheer whenever the songs go up a semitone. And they all do. The voting is so predictable, and political, and our UK commentator, Terry Wogan has a wonderful time muttering under his breath and falling about laughing, and ....... oh well. I think you get the picture. This is not taken seriously in the UK. It is in the rest of Europe. And they hate the British at the Eurovision, and we have managed "nul point" before on a few occasions. I will let you know what happens. Such excitement!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Family time

Morning Glory and Lei are hosting Woman to Woman today, and the topic is how you manage to get the family together. Well, that is roughly how I interpret the topic! You can pop over and read it in full at either of their places, of course.

Our life, as the children were growing up, was way out of the norm, as Geoff was at sea for 9 months of the year, and so the "family" was essentially the children and me. I swear I thought David would never learn to walk, as he was always in a car seat, pushchair, tied to my back or being carried, as we went to swimming training, judo, cricket, tennis, rugby, hockey etc. But all the children were at each other's sporting events, and school functions. I was incredibly lucky to have wonderful friends, who included us in their family events, and we all went on holiday together in groups too. My parents, and sister were also very involved in our lives, and we had many Sunday lunches together and happy times round the pools and Christmas trees. Our home was always overflowing with people.

I think you adjust to whatever happens in your life, and this was normal for us. Geoff home was unusual. We tried to do different things with the children, like family picnics when he was home, and we spent a considerable amount of time at sea with him too, sharing his life. My kids were really lucky to be able to travel so much with him. We have seen a great many oceans in our time!

Now, looking back, it seems that there was usually one of us away. Andrew went back to school in SA for 3 years, and so there were just 3 of us for a time. But, I have never thought of us as NOT having family time together. Just different kinds of time. And since 1990, my sister and I have lived in different countries. Until 1997, my parents lived in a third country. Good grief. This sounds bizarre. I am not proving to be much use in the keeping family together department.

It gets worse. My son and his wife live and work in London. My daughter lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. I am in England. My sister in Switzerland. Mum lives with me. The last time we were all together was for Geoff's funeral. But we like each other. We love each other to bits, and we talk, text, and chat via computer. This summer, my children and I will all be together in NZ to visit Diana.

So OOPS. Maybe I should have missed this one out. The only thing I can really say is that you DON'T have to be with each other often to be a family, with strength and love and fun and laughter. It works for us. It is just as well I raised my kids to be strong independent people and to fly. They have certainly done that!


They still all come home.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Not quite the day I anticipated

It rained today. I lay in bed this morning listening to it and grinned. Strike "water the allotment" off the list. That was the good part.

Heather has posted today and the news is not what anyone wanted to read. BUT miracles happen and I am a firm believer in them. This story is not over yet.

I have worked all afternoon. For school. This was not in the plans either. Plans do not suit me. I should just expect the unexpected. I had visitors today, and while I was showing them around the garden, I realised just how much work I need to do in it, and I have not started the pots or baskets yet. Or washed the furniture, or power washed the patio. The weeds have gone crazy. Then our tour happened to go through my sewing room. Cringe. Followed by a mountaineering expedition over the newly washed but unfolded and sorted washing in a heap. I was mortified. These visitors were not expected, but very welcome. What was that I once said?? (Or twice or three times) ....... People are more important than things. Yes. Right. They are indeed. But dealing with this runaway monster cannot be avoided any longer. I am going to have to sort this house. Probably between 3 and 4 in the morning.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I love Bank Holiday weekends!

And this one has been busy so far. Just knowing we have Monday off makes all the difference. On Friday, I went to a 50th birthday party, and I have just come back now from a 60th birthday party. This is party weekend in the village, it seems. Sitting out in the garden this afternoon watching the kids and the chickens,and dogs play was great. The sun attempted to shine, but now it looks like rain, thank heavens. The allotment needs water. And I am recovering from an excess of party food. My jeans are garrotting my stomach. Groan. The chocolate tart, birthday cake etc..... oh my word. My self control was clearly left at home.

Yesterday was a day of meandering about.... to friends for tea, shopping, freinds here for tea, lying on the bed reading. (The friends were not joining in with that one!) Church this morning, and I will not be looking at work till tomorrow.

My birthday is looming on the horizon, and this afternoon, Pete and Glynis told me they are having a buffet lunch to celebrate. How lovely is that! Glynis and I are off to see Il Divo the week before, which will be wonderful. I have no problem with my age. It still amazes me when I see the numbers, but I see every year as an opportunity to have more advebtures and discover more about myself. The fact that I have a son who will be 30 next week is more disturbing. How on earth did that happen? He was a gorgeous baby just a short while ago. Now he is a gorgeous married man.

The blogging world fell silent for a while this past week, as we all waited and prayed for Heather to have her brain op. I, for one, just did not feel that anything I might have said had any importance. Her short post yesterday was just stunning. " I am still standing". How amazing is that.

Things are changing at work, and I am not sure if I am comfortable with some of the things that are happening. I was just beginning to feel more confident about what I am doing, and now all that is out the window and I have to start again in another direction. Maybe. Maybe I need to move on. I don't know. Lots to consider. I keep reminding myself that "it is just a job" and not my entire life. I need to remember not to let it take over everything. People are more important. And I need a life too. My son needs a mother. My mother needs a daughter. My friends need a friend. My sister needs a sister. I need to be me. Sigh. I am rambling again. It must be an excess of carbohydrates. And sugar.


Tomorrow is a holiday! I get to go and water the allotment. I get to stay in bed late. I can read. I can play. (I feel like Boomama's Alex, and feel I should be speaking in CAPS with exclamation marks all over the place!) I am going to have FUN!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pacing and prayers

I have cramp in my leg and it is driving me nuts. I know, I know, my mother keeps telling me not to sit on my feet, but I always curl up in the chair, with my feet tucked under me, and then I can't walk when I stand up, and am the cause of much mirth to my family as I totter about trying to restore feeling to said feet. This is now interrupting my pacing, which I am doing as we all wait for updates on Heather. I should be in bed. I can't go till I know she is ok.

So how does a complete stranger come to be so important to me? This , my friends, is the power and blessing of the blogging world. I read the comments on her blog, and I know I am one of countlss numbers of people who have marked today by holding Heather and her family up. Together we can storm the gates of heaven, for the best of reasons.

All the minutiae pale into insignificance, and at times today, I noticed that things that would normally irritate me intensely did not matter. I didn't snarl at the kids I teach (in the face of considerable provocation)... I was calm. I worked, planned coursework, voted, went to a birthday tea, did the weekly shop, and I was, and am, grateful that I could do them all.



Today is Heather's brain surgery. Please remember to pray.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mid week musings

I am still here. Just busy. We have our local elections tomorrow, and one of the classrooms at school is being used as a polling station, so Debs and I draped all the computer equipment very fetchingly in maroon fabric this afternoon. Not that there is a living soul who would not know what is under the fabric, of course. Still, that is not my problem. It is covered.

The weather has been great, and I have done all my work experience visits. Our Year 10s are out getting some working experience at the moment. They have 2 weeks off, and the ones I have visited are happy and enjoying it, but tell me some are not! That I can believe. Every child is visited and assessed by a member of staff in the second week, so it has been a case of revolving doors at school as we all fly off when we have a free lesson. (I teach age range 11-16 at the moment.)

This weekend is a long weekend for May Day, so I am really looking forward to more time to relax. Why is our life conducted at warp speed??? I have been reading one of John Ortberg's books, and he talks a great deal about hurry and busy-ness, and how detrimental they are. I understand completely. One of his suggestions is to (get this!) choose the LONGEST queue at the supermarket. And practice patience. Hmmmm. I get his point though! I need to find more time for solitude and peace. Alone-ness, as opposed to loneliness is something I really need.