About Me

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Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Born in the year of the Coronation, I'm a Baby Boomer. In April of this year I decided I too would have a Diamond Jubilee celebration and completely change my life and that of my Husband's in the process

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

The Party's Over

The colour is RED......

The colour of my bank account balance, my eyes, my cheeks, even my feet!

I have spent a million hours cooking and doing all the other chores that kept a houseful of six adults happy over the festive period. There was one major falling out, which resulted in my son and daughter making up and really talking to each other for the first time in years, the odd broken household item (we have a few clumsy bods in this house) and the dog bit me. All in all, a fairly normal Christmas. It's never total 'Peace and Harmony' in this house, no matter how hard I try.

I think the dog bit me because he is now getting very old (13) and cannot adjust to a sudden invasion of people. Mike had gone up to bed and I was still downstairs with the children and their partners, probably being a bit louder than he is used to, so he sloped off upstairs and got on the bed with his 'Daddy'.

When we all wanted to go to bed I went and told him it was bedtime, meaning, get off our bed and go to the kitchen, to yours. He didn't want to and started growling at me, I got hold of his collar to give him a bit of encouragement in the right direction, I had barely touched him and he bit me. Really hard! I was not impressed, so regardless of the bite, yanked him off the bed and hustled him down the stairs, where he got a severe telling off and the error of his ways was pointed out to him. I'm used to the children getting overwrought at Christmas but the dog is a complication I can do without.

Christmas day went without a hitch and dinner was excellent, every single plate was cleared which has to be a first, although we were all stuffed, nobody wanted to leave a morsel.

Boxing day and the day after was wedding dress hunting. I was in town at 8am yesterday, for the start of Monsoon's sale and we got 'The Dress'. which I have to say is beautiful. As they are having a smaller wedding now, seeing as a baby is on the way, a full length wedding dress seemed inappropriate but the dress we found is made of the gossamer of dreams, bound together with silk and silver.

If we do get through the minefield of administration in Germany and get this wedding sorted before they both go off the idea, then she will look like the Ice Princess, marrying, hopefully in a snowy forested mountain setting in Germany. I daren't put a picture on here of it yet, just in case someone sees it that shouldn't but I can tell you, she brought the fitting rooms to a stop when she came out wearing it, all the other ladies in there wanted to coo over her , which made me feel very proud.

Today was for Mike and I alone. It was his first day without work in ages and Simon has gone back to Faslane and Catherine has gone to spend a couple of days with Nan and my stepfather Wilf.

Wilf fell down the stairs the night before last and when all the family went over to their house yesterday for a get together, he was not at all well. He will be 80 at the end of January. Catherine is always very bossy but for once this worked out well. Last night, after the rest of the family had gone home, she insisted that he went to hospital, which he had been refusing to do all day. Nobody can stand up to Catherine for very long and after an hour or so he agreed to go to A&E, where they said he had broken a rib and gave him some strong painkillers. 

Flo had to fly back to Germany unexpectedly today, his band had a booking for a show tonight, which should have been cancelled but for some reason hadn't been. He got a call on Boxing Day saying, 'get your ass over here ', as this was from his record company, he didn't have much choice but as the band hasn't played together for 6 weeks it could be an interesting experience in front of 1500 Punk Rockers!

Mike and I went to the Radnor Forest today, on the border of England & Wales, not too far from Hereford.

The Radnor Forest is very interesting, as it isn't (a forest that is). It has very few trees but it is an incredibly beautiful area of valleys, mountains (large hills) and sheep, with some wonderful old farmhouses, which today all had their log fires going and you could see the smoke rising up in the still atmosphere. In places there was a slight sprinkling of snow.

We had lunch in an ancient coaching inn, sat beside a log fire which was in a fireplace the size of my office. I have a strong belief in the healing of the spirit and that's what I think I did today. In fact I think if anyone has  problems, a day out in the border lands of England and Wales can be a wonderful tonic. There is something truely magical and soothing about the area. All of the towns on the border, from North to South, have a strange similarity and for the most part, have been left wonderfully intact. Here's a link to a property we really liked the look of, I can't believe the price, you could just about buy something grotty in Worcester for that.

Property For Sale - Cromwell Lodge, 45 Hereford Street, Presteigne, Powys - Mc

I have taken a number of photos with our Christmas present, a Fuji Finepix S5600. I mention the make in case someone is looking for a new camera. I haven't had time to read how to do more complex things with it yet, all of the pictures above were taken on Auto but I must say I'm very impressed.

To all my friends whom I know in person, a very Happy New Year  and  to all the friends I know through my Blog a very Happy New Year to you too.


Saturday, 17 December 2005


If you don't understand the title, I'm quoting Noddy Holder from what must surely be his Pension Fund, seeing as that record has been dragged out every year for the last 30 something Christmases.

And to me, that is what Christmas is all about. Tradition. The same old, safe, things. Nothing too surprising, unless it's something wrapped underneath the tree.If you're lucky, a loving family around you, the usual, excessive amount of food, helped down by the best wines your budget will stretch to.

In our house, it also means watching The Amazing Mr Blunden, this year on DVD, rather than the slightly foggy video copy recorded from the telly about 15 years ago. As usual I shall cry when the pretty, teenage, Lynne Frederick (Peter Sellers widow, herself, no longer with us) is distraught at being sent back to her own time without her brother. As she screams 'I won't go without Jamie' and berates Mr Blunden for always being too late, I will be  there, trying to deal with the tears running down my face without  anyone noticing but Mike is normally having a similar problem. Diana Dors is wonderfully horrible as the  murderous housekeeper.

Although the main part of the film takes place during the summer, it starts of on a snowy winter's night, where an impoverished family are trying to make the most of Christmas after their father had been killed in the First World War but everything comes good at the end. What more could you ask from a Christmas film?

Whether you believe in 'The Christmas Story,'  or not, surely the message is still just as important. It's a time to demonstrate our love to one another, something we hope we do all the time but sadly, in the traumas of day to day life, that message isn't always coming through loud and clear.

Unfortunately the pressures put on us by the Media and the High Street stores, turns what should be a happy and joyous time into something more akin to 'going over the top' at The Somme.

Every year I say 'That's It! Next year I shall scale it all down but I can't help myself, I love everyone to have a pile of presents to open on Christmas Day, even though some of them are only silly little things, each one has been bought with all the love I feel for the person receiving it.

This year Mike will be on the radio from 3 till 6 in the afternoon, instead of his usual Breakfast Show, that means we can't eat until the evening, which means a change to our usual routine. A few weeks ago, we thought my son wouldn't be here on Christmas Day, as he will be very busy on his submarine getting ready to go to sea.

As I thought it would just be Mike and myself, plus daughter and boyfriend, I had the temerity to think of making things a little easier for myself and not cook the usual Ostrich sized turkey. I asked the 'Germans' what they thought about Beef Wellington. Wonderful, they said.

Jolly good, this would be a special meal but so much easier.................................... Deep inside my brain little voices were saying 'What are you thinking?' 'Where's the tradition in Beef Wellington?' 'Grandma would never have served Beef Wellington!'

That last thought was very true, it would never have served 12 for lunch and supper for 30. What size bird she used to buy I have no idea but there was always plenty to go round. No wonder it had to go on the night before to be cooked in time!

I was not happy with myself, I felt I was letting myself down but , 'Fear not, said she, for mighty dread had siezed my troubled mind'. My son was about to save the day!

I received a text saying son and girlfriend would now be arriving on the 23rd and staying till Boxing Day. The Royal Navy have decided he can come home for Christmas after all.

If I had nagging doubts before, I was now into panic mode. He wasn't going to like the Beef Wellington idea. Even though he's not keen on roast dinners, my son is a traditionalist. I don't know where he gets it from, he's like my dad in some respects. 

My son is the most complex person I know, he was born Conservative and old fashioned and his sense of humour is a delicate thing, he never finds anything about himself amusing, you are not allowed to laugh at his mistakes but he's always the first to point out others. His mission in life is to correct his wayward, embarrassing mother, yet, when he worked with me, thought nothing of wearing a mini skirt, make up and blonde wig and being Britney Spears at the office Christmas Party and topping it off with a Full Monty routine!

I knew he wasn't going to like the Beef Wellington idea.

I phoned him.

Me. "Hi"

Son. "Hello, what do you want?"

(He's sussed me out already!)

Me."You know you said you wouldn't be here for Christmas and I thought it was just going to be four of us, well your sister and I thought Beef Wellington would be a good idea"

Son. Pause for effect " Are you sure about this?" This is said in the tone you would explain something to a backward child.

Me "But you don't like roast dinners"

Son. "That's not the point, turkey is what we have"

Well, I'm glad we cleared that up, we're now having Turkey and Beef Wellington. That should make things a little easier for me! At least this year I have all day to prepare and cook it.

I missed writing last week's journal, partly because I didn't have very much free time but mainly because I was tired and emotionally drained. School at this time of year is enough on it's own, add to that the worries of my daughter over in Germany awaiting her first scan, plus the general logistics of Christmas. My head felt like it had a million thoughts banging around in there and not one managed to come to the forefront for more than a moment, the result was I felt exhausted and mildly depressed.

Things are a littlebetter now but I still don't feel my usual self, hopefully it will improve now I'm getting on top of things, rather than the other way around.

Daughter had her scan on Thursday and I have now met my first grandchild, she sent me a picture of the scan. What a wonderful tool the Internet is. Everything is fine and it has the right number of the usual bits and pieces, we have been given a date in late June.

I 'met' another member of my family for the first time this week. That came as a bit of a shock, as I was in bed at the time.

Just over two years ago I found my mother's Uncle, who died in WW1, on the CWGC website and was able to tell her when he died and where he was buried. He was my mother's mother's oldest brother, his name was Isaac Tromans and he died aged 22 in July 1918 and is buried in Acheux in Northern France. We don't have a photo of him but Mum had been told he looked like a film star.

So there I was, in bed, leafing through The Black Country Bugle, which is a weekly newspaper devoted to the area I come from, and contains, mainly, people's old photos and memories and is a family researcher's bible.

There was a full page article about a woman fulfilling a long cherished ambition of going to vist her great Uncle's grave in Acheux. There were various photos, including one of the young man who was tragically killed. As I started to look at the photo I didn't need to look at the name to know who this was, after all, those eyes look back at me from the mirror every morning. I've often wondered where I got those slightly down turned, almond shaped eyes from. I know now which branch of the family they come from.

Here for the first time, I was looking at my great Uncle Isaac. If you think this photo would have been taken about 90 years ago, you can see why he was thought to have film star looks. In an area where poverty was commonplace and poor diet led to children looking old before their time, you can understand why this young man was considered a bit special. I confess I cried at the loss and the waste.

This of course brings unanswered questions, who is this unknown second cousin, also called Linda. I shall have to try to contact her through The Bugle, as I'm sure we must have plenty to talk about, I wonder if she knows about Joseph (seen in an earlier post), who was Isaac's youngest brother and died from Diptheria in the late 1920's?

My son's Ex girlfriend, who is still very much part of the family, thankfully without any difficulties (not like the Stalker), has just gone on her travels. She was made redundant from her job and is using a little of her payoff to see the World. I hope she has a wonderful time. My only niece is going to do the same thing in February, how life has changed from when I was young. Then, the only people who went travelling were hippies, who mostly went to Morrocco and smoked 'herbal' cigarettses. 

Well, I can't stop here chatting. Time to go and get more things done in preparation.

If Catherine, in France, has time to read this, much love to you and if you are over here and have a spare minute, try to pop in.

Merry Christmas Everyone. xxxx


Saturday, 3 December 2005

This time of year it's difficult to cram everything in and I was very tempted to give up writing my journal but as I am writing it for friends and family abroad and myself as a record of my life (because I can never remember anything), I decided I must persevere while I can.

Apart from visiting my friend with the nutty boyfriend, I don't seem to have been anywhere much except school. It's very busy there now as Christmas production and Christingle Service preparations are paramount. I designed the tickets for the Christingle Service on Friday, yet.....hold hard,.... what's this I hear.

No! It is not to be the Christingle Service but The Christmas Service. Well here's a turn up for the books. Our Year Head has said he doesn't want a Christingle Service as it's modern claptrap and he want's it to be a Christmas Service, in the old tradition.

Well!!! Stripe me pink and knock me down with a feather. All I've heard lately is, Don't call it Christmas, it'll offend 'some people'. Call it Winterval, or Winterfest instead. Well I'll tell you who that attitude offends, it offends ME! 

If anyone reading my journal agrees with this potty, so called political correctness twaddle, then please leave right now, you are not welcome in my journal. The exit is over there on the right, behind the red cross.

Sorry, that gets my dander up more than almost anything.

Now, where was I, oh yes, what a rarity, someone standing up for old Christian traditions. I designed him a very attractive ticket with a little nativity scene as a reward for his support of traditions and he seemed pleased, its hard to tell sometimes if he's smiling, or just has wind.  

I had a surprise on Wednesday night, Mike had been out working all evening, so when we went to bed he took the local evening paper up with him to read. He suddenly gave astart and said 'Look at this!'

There was a small photo of him and alongside it it       said turn to page whatever to read about 'Star DJ'. Now this came as a bit of a shock, after 22 years of marriage to suddenly find myself in bed with a Star DJ.

I wish I'd known earlier, I might of taken advantage of it, like offering to  High Street Jewellers to model their expensive diamond necklaces when attending the Mayor's Ball or the like. Or maybe Jaguar would like me to drive one of their cars for a year. No, I think I'm getting carried away here, it was only The Worcester Evening News.The actual article was about the quiz he went to last week, the one where he went to the wrong pub, well, several wrong pubs really!

At home my time has been taken up with finishing off a family history project and it has been a mammoth task, for a new found relative in Corby and my great uncle's family in Massachusetts (is that how you spell it, I never manage to say it right either). Luckily they both are from the same branch, so it made it a bit easier to get both done in time for Christmas. But, Ouch! £6.50 to post the one to America, I finally got it posted today.

Never mind, it will be worth it as the American branch know next to nothing about their roots, their father was one of those poor Home Children, shipped off to Canada in 1916, when he was only 10.

 I know they will be thrilled to have some sort of Paternal line now but I'm very sad I couldn't have done this in Uncle Leonard's lifetime. He was over the moon when he was able to come to England in his later life and meet all his half brothers and sisters and their offspring. He adored my daughter Catherine and I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, as I know how much this family research would have meant to him. From the age of ten until his 70's, he had no blood relatives, other than his own children and it was a loss he felt very keenly.  

Catherine is well and was off to the Frankfurt Christmas Market today, if they are still liviing there I think we will have to try to go next year.

One of the other things I have been doing is restoring a photo I recently found of my Mum  in her Granddad's garden, note the pigeon loft in the background. Until recently we only had a very pale version of this picture. I have managed to remove most of the cracks and splodges and she will have a print of this to go in a frame, as it is a picture that means a lot to her.

I have also made a version with holly and Christmas images, which makes a lovely card for her but I can't work out how to get that on here.

Not much else to report. Mike (The Star DJ)'s just returned from a trip to Watford to see his beloved team play badly. So time for a glass of wine and our dinner I think.

Tuesday, 29 November 2005


Yes folks, it's a bargain, it's Buy One Get One Free time!

I normally only do one entry a week but when I wrote the previous entry I was tired and missed a lot, so this week you're getting two for your money.

I forgot to say, on Wednesday we went to the Birmingham Food College for dinner. This is where the students get to hone their future catering skills on you.

We went with my best friend from school and her husband, plus her best friend and husband from when she joined the police.

I first met this friend 20 years ago at my Best Friend's Wedding (sounds like a good title for a film!) For the first year or two I think I was a bit jealous of her relationship with  my Best Friend, after all, I saw her first! But a year or two later and I do mean a year or two later, as we only used to meet up once a year at Best Friend's Christmas Party, we started to develop a relationship of our own.

Eighteen years on, and although we only meet once or twice a year, she is one of the people I love most in the world. She is beautiful, complex, sometimes bordering on rude and arrogant, hilariously funny and is suffering from a rare and cruel disease that has already given her cancer several times and has in recent years robbed her of her sight.

We all collude in her blindness, I will greet her loudly, so that she can identify me from several feet away, she will then walk towards my voice, knowing I have given her the all clear to walk towards me, we hug and I lead her to a safe place to talk. No one would know she has entered the room not really having a clue as to her surroundings and all that onlookers have seen is a beautiful, confident woman enter the room, who has been greeted by a friend. And yet she doesn't try to hide it, she will tell anyone about her condition, she just doesn't want to be judged by it and have unwelcome pity because of it.

We had a wonderful meal the food was splendid, the conversation was loud and racuous and if we go again I think we may have to book under another name.

A cause of annoyance this week is why,WHY, is it when we have just changed to a shower that is run off the gas heated hot water system, have gas prices tripled? We could have had one of these showers years ago and have been luxuriating in the gallons of cheap hot water cascading over our bodies. But no, we have to wait until the biggest hike is gas prices ever to change our shower from electric to gas.

It was the same with our endowment mortgage policies. Everyone was having their policies mature with several thousand of pounds left over to pocket and spend on some fun. What happens the minute we join the club! Our first matures next April with a £2,000 shortfall. So no nice little trip to the Carribean on the surplus for us!

If there is a boat to be missed, then I can guarantee we have a ticket for it!!

Went to see another friend last night who has a crazy, stalker boyfriend. They have split up again for a while. I cannot understand what she is doing with him, it is a real worry to me. Here is one incident. You judge whether you would want to be with this man, or not.

She had gone into town for the evening. As they had fallen out again he was stalking her. He got thrown out of a bar she was in and he was being agressive and nasty.

She went home in the early hours of the morning (her daughter was staying with Dad for the weekend). About half an hour after getting in, she went to bed and then thought she would ring nutty boyfriend and warn him not to come round causing a scene again, as she had had enough and would call the police if he did.

She dialled his mobile and then froze, as she heard it ringing in her daughter's bedroom. He had broken in before she got home and was hiding in there, waiting.... for what?

She is normally, intelligent and sensible, what do you say to a woman that keeps taking this lunatic back, just because he cries and says he loves her. I despair!

That'll do for now, I will catch up again at the weekend.



Sunday, 27 November 2005

Mistletoe Ball

Now my daughter has gone back to Germany and her boyfriend's family have been told, I think it is now safe to record here that I should be a grandma in June. Of course we still have a long way to go but I find it a very strange prospect, seeing as I don't feel fully grown up myself yet.

Some of the children at school have been horrible this week and I find myself praying we don't get a grandchild with ADHD. I'm making sure Catherine has all the vitamins and supplement she needs and doesn't drink or smoke.

MPC, from last week's entry has had his ups and down since I have been working with him. He didn't want to learn his spelling and I said he needed to learn to read so that he could get a good job and have a nice car. He said he didn't neeed a good job as he was going to be a professional boxer.

I said he would need to read and write, so that he could manage his bank account and fill in his tax returns. He replied  he didn't need to do that as his girlfriend would do it for him . Hmmm.... where do you go with that arguement?

We had the Christmas Fayre at school on Wednesday, I did the Tombola. All I think I can safely say is, well, we do see life! Mike came and helped and said afterwards he was amazed at the number of people under 30 with no teeth, which reminded me of that Pam Ayres poem 'I wish I'd looked after me teeth'

Mike had to go to a charity quiz on Friday night in Droitwich. Before he left he asked me what the name was of the pub where we had gone to a wake for my Auntie Muriel. (the one that like The Old Cock Inn) I said it was the Railway Inn and was just up the road from DFS. Yes, that's the one he says and off he went.

Three quarters of an hour later I had a very harrassed husband on the phone. He wanted me to find the letter with the instructions on where he needed to be. This is by no means the first time I have had a call like this. He has often gone to a village with a similar sounding name.Whittington instead of Withington etc....

He doesn't bother to check the details before he leaves the house. He thinks he knows where he is going but unfortunately he is often wrong.

On Friday he went to the Railway Inn which is near the station. They suggested he try the Railway Inn in Kidderminster, which is about five miles away.

When he rang me he was heading back to Droitwich from Kidderminster and had now missed the start of the quiz by 5 minutes.

When I found the letter it said he was to go to the Riflemans Arms, in Station Road. Not, The Railway Inn, near the station. Knowing his mind, I can see how he got confused but honestly, given his previous track record, you would think he would take the letter with him. 

We went to The Mistletoe Ball in Tenbury Wells last night, which was very pleasant. I love Mistletoe & Holly, being a bit of a Pagan at heart. We had a very interesting sort of cabaret/act. Queen Victoria and her lady in waiting. The were excellent, a sort of female Hinge & Bracket. The costumes were superb and you really could have imagined you were in the presence of the old queen.

I was dozing in front of the telly on Friday when Mike returned from getting lost. There was a programme about Ronnie Barker. I didn't hear the full question but it was along the lines of what do you still want to achieve in your life. He said he wanted a tree with mistletoe.

Since I was a child that was my ambition, I've been rubbing mistletoe berries on to apple trees since I was 10 but still haven't managed to get any to grow.

Now I've had a hold of a lion cub the mistletoe in one of my trees is only knocked into second place by winning the lottery!

Not  a lot else to report but now it's time for bed.

Monday, 21 November 2005

I Only Went To Do Some Laminating!

I'm writing this on Monday afternoon, which is unusally late as I had a very hectic weekend.

I've had a bit of an upset this morning.

Monday is the day for getting the resources required for the week photocopied and if necessary, laminated. The laminater is up on a mezzanine floor above the library and food technology area where there is a huge two storey expanse of window. I'd just gone upstairs when I heard this terrific bang. Knowing we sometimes have birds crash into the window, I thought I'd better go and have a look outside. I can't bear anything to be hurt or sufffering, so I had to go and look.

As soon as I stepped outside I could see it. There in the flower bed was a female sparrowhawk, she was moving a little but I didn't think it likely she was going to survive the encounter. The ground was frozen and we have a number of cats that come around the school grounds. I felt if she was to stand a chance she needed to be placed in a box, where nature could take its course. 

I called  through the office window to the school secretary who fetched me a box, while muggins picked up the bird. Big mistake! Before I knew what was happening, its talons of one foot had fixed through the palm of my left hand. It was a very scary moment. Had she been up to full strength she could then have ripped them straight out, tearing my hand apart. Thankfully I was able to free them one by one and place her gently in the box but her neck was very floppy and I didn't hold out much hope.

Sadly a few seconds later she died.

I know she lived by killing and eating the other lovely little birds we have living in the grounds but it made me very sad that such a beautiful creature had met an untimely death like that.

I felt it best to explain when I went back to class why it had taken forty minutes to do a few copies and some laminating andIhad come back looking like I'd been dragged through a hedge backwards and with a bleeding hand. Why do these things only seem to happen to me?

Whilst sitting here, on my own, in a quiet house I just heard something being put through the letterbox. I went to investigate. It was a note saying the Betterware representative had called to collect the catalogue he'd put through the door a couple of days previously.

Why didn't he knock? We don't have a bell, so no excuse of it not working. I hate these things. I have enough junk come through in the post as it is but at least I can put those straight in the recycling bag but these! You know some poor soul has had to pay for them, trying to earn a few extra pennies from any possible commisssion on sales. So I feel really bad if they don't get them back because I can't find where I put it, I feel bad that I don't buy any of the rubbish in them but honestly, that is not helping  if they just pretend to try and collect them and push a note through saying they will call again tomorrow, what's that about?

Like the rest of Britain it's been very cold here for days now and I worry about Abigail and Emily Chickens,.... my girls.

Idon't like my girls being out in this cold but although I am near to insane when it comes to spoiling my animals I do draw the line at having them in the house........ at the moment. Although I have considered putting heating in their house.

What I have been doing is making them a nice bowl of hot (and then suitably cooled to the right eating temperature) porridge, every morning. Oats raise the body temperature in chickens, so I suppose it does in humans. Hence the advertising slogan of Ready Brek, 'Central Heating for Kids'. You mustn't give chickens oats in the summer.

I've worked out a plan for them if we start getting any further into the minuses. They don't move when they roost, so I could set up a couple of bricks on the dining room floor, which is tiled, put a wooden bar across them and then putnewspaper underneath to catch anything that pops out in the night. Then as long as we don't go in the kitchen and put the light on to disturb them they can be cosy and warm.

I've not told Mike of this idea yet as he may not be too happy with it and I don't think the girls are helping their case as they've stopped laying now.

Due to my worrying about the birds in this cold snap I had to go and spend a fiver on food for my garden inhabitants, so now my trees are festooned with fat balls for my tits, if you'll pardon the expression.

Last week was just busy all the time. Practising for the Christingle Service, getting ready for the Christmas Fayre and taking photos for the school calendar. Then at home preparing for a visit from my daughter who lives in Germany.

There is a big problem at school with one boy, his behaviour is terrible and if anyone thinks that a child with serious problems is identified and automatically given the help they need, dream on.

In our Literacy group of  8 SEN children, not one has a statement, that means they have no hours of extra paid assistance. I looked round at them this morning, every single one was unable to sit properly in their seat, they were rocking backwards and forwards, side to side, swivelling their heads and rolling their eyes, tapping things, jumping up and down and two of the boys were humming, whistling, rapping and shrieking. It looked like a ward in a mental asylum.

I was trying to get together a dislpay for one of the boards but the only way the lesson was going to continue was if I went and sat by 'Major Problem Child' and helped him. As soon as I sat by him he calmed down and started working but there just isn't the budget for me to be his constant mentor, I have lots of other work I have to do in supporting the teachers.

Last Monday I had had to do the same, we were writing EA words and to get him started on the sentence about lionseating meat, I told him I'd held a lion cub last year. He was very impressed and was happy to sit back down and work if I would tell him more about it and promise to bring in a photo of me holding the cub.

What you have to remember is this is a child who knows little love at home, is left wandering the streets and has very little of anything.He was thrilled when I said the next day I'd brought the photo in. I don't think many promises are kept in his life. He said he would keep it forever and put it up on his wall. I found that very touching and said perhaps he should cut me off the picture in case I scared the rest of his family.

It really made me think about the rows I've had with my daughter in the past, which have made me feel I must be a bad mother, although the rows were usually because she wouldn't listen to sound advice that would keep her safe and happy. At least I cared and did the best for my children, even if I didn't always get it right.

I had a lovely time with her when she stayed on Friday night and during the day Saturday when we went shopping. I wish she didn't live so far away but she is with someone she loves and as long as she is happy then that's ok. She hopes to be back here for Christmas, so fingers crossed.

Having to cope with the children we  have at school is similar to being an undertaker, it's a really bad job but it's necessary and someone has to do it. We just wouldn't do it if we didn't feel some empathy with the poor mites . In private you use what is sometimes know as gallows humour, making jokes about things that aren't really funny but it's just a way of dealing with the pressure and not going under. After the lion cub photo, all the staff in our year group confessed to having the same mental picture, of years later 'MPC' being arrested for some crime and the police going into his bedroom and finding the walls covered in pictures of me!!! What a thought. 


Saturday, 12 November 2005

Remembrance Day & Reunion.

I've long suspected I'm mad and I think this week proves it. Why would anyone, in the same week they have organised a school reunion for a bunch of women that haven't met for 34 years, also offer to do a half hour PowerPoint presentation for Remembrance Day Assembly, bearing in mind I have never done a PowerPoint anything before? 

But that is what I did and now I can put my feet up for the first time in weeks and truly relax. 

I have to say that of the two, the presentation was the more enjoyable.

I felt that some of the children were buying poppies for Remembrance Day but did not really understand what they were buying them for and a significant number weren't buying them at all.

As all our classrooms now have interactive whiteboards, it is possible to show PowerPoint presentations on them complete with sound and that's what I did yesterday.

I collected pictures from the Web of  WW1, the trenches and devastated battlefield, then fields of poppies and explained how the British Legion was set up and poppies were sold in 1921 to help provide an income for the soldiers who had been left incapacitated by war. Then described how we now have veterans from many other conflicts, including right up to date with Iraq and Afghanistan.

I showed them pictures of my son and his submarine and the photos he took of the WW1 battlefields he went to visit two years ago.

I told them the tale of my great uncle Albert and showed them pictures of him with his family, in his football team, how today he might have been a professional footballer. He also had a very fine voice and sang with several Male Voice Choirs and so might have appeared on the X Factor if he'd been a young man now  and finally a picture of him in his army uniform.

I then read out the end ofa letter he wrote to his wife Sarah, just before he died.

 I am writing this  hoping it will not be necessary to forward it and I will leave it to someone to post, when they have certain news I am dead or missing.

During the next few days we shall be very fortunate indeed if we are not killed. There is a big attack coming on and my Battalion is in the front line. Our orders are to take two lines of trenches, so you see, this cannot be done without risk.  

 In addition, prior to the attack, a mine is to be exploded just a few yards away and as we shall be lying in the open, there will be some weighty things flying about. Then there is the bombardment, the holding of the trenches… if we capture them. Then, a counter attack. Altogether it is odds that a few of us will cop something.   I hope you will not get this letter but if you do, Remember my last thoughts were with you.  

 Albert died 25th September 1915. Like many others, his body was never found.  

I played various tracks of appropriate music to go with the different photos.   It was a very moving experience, nearly 80 nine and ten year olds, many with behaviour problems, were enthralled and afterwards there were so many questions.  

 One boy said he had been thinking of joining the RAF but after hearing me he knew he definitely would, as he felt it would be a privilege to serve his country and at the same time have a worthwhile career. He also said he thought it was very poor that so few of his classmates had bothered to wear a poppy.Our Year Head stepped in then and said that was the whole point of why we went to war, to preserve our freedom to choose and to be able to wear, or not wear poppies as they thought fit.

I thought this comment seemed a bit odd and rather trivialised the point as children take things so literally. Can you imagine them going home and telling Mum & Dad that WW1 was all about the right to wear poppies?   

Later on the way back to the staff room one of the other teachers explained  'Well he would say that wouldn't he, as he was the only member of staff not wearing a poppy'.    


The reunion of some of my schoolfriends was today. I was very nervous, as I had arranged it. What if no one turned up? What if no one remembered anyone else? It could be a long and tedious lunchtime.  

I needn't have worried, it was fine, everyone got on and even if they didn't recognise everybody at first, after a little while they would somehow click back into perspective and suddenly there would be a shout of, hadn't we used to go to Mary Stevens Park with those boys from the Bluecoat School and then all these memories of boyfriends and school trips, concerts and scivving off, came flooding out.  

Three of us found we'd all been out with the same boy!   

It was a lovely time but why have I come home feeling depressed?  

Three of the girls didn't recognise me. Having said that there were some that hardly anyone recognised.   I know they didn't recognise me because I am so overweight. That made me feel bad.  

Even worse, I came home and downloaded the pictures I'd taken. OMG, we're not just middle aged, we are bordering on elderly. Yet we all talked and laughed and joked just as we did at school.   A good time must have been had by all, as we met at 12.30 and when my son picked me up at 4.00 I left three girls still chatting.  

They say youth is wasted on the young, how true is that!   Why is it now, when I feel so much more confident and have more interests than I ever had before in my life, do I have to take on the exterior of somebody of no consequence, a dumpy middle aged woman who looks unlikely to have anything of interest to say? Someone you'd walk by in the street and not notice.  

If nothing else, today has strengthened my resolve to lose another couple of stone. Thank god they didn't see me when I was fifteen stone!  

The only thing I can feel smug about is, my hair is totally natural, no grey at all. I'm the only one that doesn't have to spend £50 a month on a colour at the hairdressers.  

There was talk of getting together again but maybe overnight at one of those large Country House Hotels, just for adults, that do 70's theme weekends. It sounds a lovely idea if we all dressed up and did the whole role play thing but is does mean I will certainly need to lose some weight if I'm going disco dancing all night.  

Now where in the loft did I leave my red leather mini skirt?


(Don't ask what is going on with the font here, I have no idea!)

Saturday, 5 November 2005

My Bathroom Cat and Other Annoyances

This week has been a trial!

Sunday morning I woke up with the start of a nasty cold and Monday morning it was back to school.

I hate that, you wake up feeling like death. No! I lie, I didn't wake up as I hadn't slept. About every ten minutes I was choking because my throat was so irritated. I had to go and  not sleep in my son's room, thankfully he wasn't there.

Mike had to be up at 4am to go to Gloucester to do the breakfast show. As soon as he'd gone, I crept downstairs to make myself a cup of tea and by 5.30am I was in a bath, so hot it would have cooked a lobster.

To say I felt bad is an understatement. But, it was the first day back after the half term break. What a dilema! If you don't go you're a scivving whatsit and if you do go it's 'What the hell are you doing, bringing those germs into school? You can't win whatever you do.

I chose the going in option as I knew I couldn't sleep at home and I might as well feel bad at school as anywhere else and why sould I suffer on my own? Share and share alike, that's my motto.

I seem to have lost the week as I have been like a zombie most of the time but I got through it somehow.

One of the things that has really got on my nerves this week is Fliss, my oldest cat. She is thirteen and has lost the plot completely. For some reason she has taken up residence in my bathroom. The floor in there is ceramic tiles, we have a pedestal mat aound the loo (much to the annoyance of my daughter). But that is what I grew up with and that is what we have in my house. Unfortunately this mat has now become the domain of Fliss. It's where she wants to lie most of the day and if you want to use the loo she gives you so much verbal abuse!

She does her best to trip you up at all times and having a bath is a nightmare. She keeps jumping up the side and shouting in your ear. I have no idea what the matter is and the vet says she's just hormonal. Great! I seem to be entering the realms of the menopause, I expect hot flushes and mood swings anyday but if I start curling myself up around the toilet and screaming at anyone that wants to use it... will you please shoot me.

The children I work with are mostly from deprived backgrounds and we certainly get to see all aspects of life from them.

There is a boy who is so poor, in all respects, that he was kept down in year 4 rather than coming up to the year I work in . This week he was moved up to year 5.

He's about ten, does not know all of the alphabet and has some very unappealing habits. I managed to avoid him until Friday, when I spent two lessons with him. The majority of these problem children have had no parenting whatsoever. By Friday I was feeling a bit better and decided I was going to get on his case.

Literacy was our turn in the ITC suite. We were typing up a short story they had written. Of course, he hadn't written anything and as he can't spell was more interested in hitting the boy sat behind him. I told him that if he would tell me his ideas, I would spell them for him and he could type it. As he only knew about half of the alphabet, it involved me pointing at a lot of letters but he had some good ideas and we managed four sentences which made a reasonable short story.

When we finished I enlarged and changed the font to Chiller before we printed it off. He was so impressed with what he'd produced and the funky text made it something that was cool, rather than just boring school work. I did him an extra copy to take home, I just hope there is someone there that can read it.

After break we were doing the Gunpowder Plot and he was on direct course to losing the plot. They get so wound up during their break. I find cool and calm usually gets through to them and so ignored his comments that he 'weren't goin to do nuffink' and told him I had an ancestor that was hanged for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot. Well that shut him up!

It may not be true but some of the plotters were caught at Hagley, in the days prior to that they had been hiding at Rowley Regis. A farmer called Thomas Smart was hanged, drawn and quartered for harbouring them. My family all come from Rowley Regis my great grandmother was a  Smart.

Family legend says we have a Smart ancestor that was hanged for his part in the Gunpowder Plot.  In my research I've found that my great grandmother's father was Thomas Smart, his father was a Thomas Smart and his father was Thomas Smart and they were farmers. So although I haven't yet proved the link I got back to the 1700's and I think it's looking pretty likely.

Well, it was like a magic pill. He was absolutely rivited, he asked loads of questions, wanted to know if his great grandfather would have been around then. Filled in all the missing words from his piece of text (I had to to read them for him) and then copied it all into his book in a very passable form of JOINED UP writing. His class teacher was amazed.

During the lesson I taught him to get a tissue and wipe his nose on it, instead of on his sleeve and I ended the morning actually liking the poor little soul.

One of the girls in the class admired the belt I was wearing and said she had two similar to it. One was free she said. That's nice says I, thinking it was a buy one get one free offer. Silly me! No, her friend's Gran had gone out to a pub and had a fight with another woman. The other woman got ejected from the pub and was not allowed back in. During the fight her belt fell off, so friend's Gran took it home and gave to the girl I was talking to.

It's another way of life to me, I don't know what I felt most uncomfortable with. The idea of grown women fighting in a pub, the fact that one at least was a grandmother, although knowing our lot she could easily be only 38, or the fact that this ten year old girl should have been told how her belt had been acquired.

After school I had to go and meet my mother for lunch with her friends. It didn't start out like that, I was just supposed to be collecting some old photos from her but she was having lunch with her friends and so I had to join them. While I was sitting there with this group of blue rinse ladies, blinded by the collective flashes of light off their diamond rings, I couldn't help wondering what the likleyhood was, of us all getting up and having a baroom brawl, some of us getting turfed out and losing some of our clothing in the process, I decided it was fairly unlikely and tucked into my salmon skewer and mineral water. There definitely seems to be a huge divide between my work and home life.

Afterwards we went back to Mum's house but she couldn't relinquish the photos without a quick look through first, which meant I finally got home after dark and it was too late for me to take my friend's birthday card and present to her. So I apologise for being a day late Sue.

The photos span 7 decades and caused a lot of mixed emotions. The ones from my late teens, when I was with my first love, cause very mixed feelings. I loved that boy and we had planned to marry but then I chose a different, harder path through this life. (There is really nothing like a cold for making you feel sorry for yourself.) 

Maybe I had Karmic debts to pay but looking at the pictures from that time, I am aware I could have had a very much easier life.

I don't really have any regrets, it's just that, seeing what might have been makes me realise what a difficult life I have had at times. But, I was a very selfish, shallow person back then and now I am not. So I can only rejoice in the path I chose and be glad for the things I have learned and grateful that I am happy now.  


Mike's joined my gym, so now I have to go on a more regular basis and compete with him which will hopefully do us good. He just got up from sitting for a while and shouted 'MY KNEES' and all he's done is the induction hour!

Next Saturday should be the small school reunion I've arranged, we had one of the girls drop out today, I hope this isn't the first of many.




Saturday, 29 October 2005

Half Term

I've decided I don't like those mood boxes at the top, there never seems to be one that sums up what I'm feeling, which is mostly knackered.

I don't think I'm ever anything else in a morning, even as a child. I have vague memories of when I was young, having three mornings when I woke up and felt happy and refreshed. Does anyone else feel worse after a nights sleep, than they did before they went to bed, or is it just me?

The nearest to what I'm feeling today is worried, which I've just realised is what I feel most mornings. Worried what might come in the post, worried today is the day one of my family might have an accident, one of the pets might be ill, the car might breakdown, I won't manage to complete everything that needs doing today, we might get a houseful of noisy students move in next door in the house that's up for sale............On and on goes the list.

Good God! It's no wonder I never want to wake up in a morning, what is the matter with me?

As the day progresses my mood usually improves but I think I shall have to try to tackle this and be a bit more positive.

I have just had the week off school as it is our Autumn half term break. When I go back Monday you can be sure the C word will be mentioned in our diary of forthcoming events. That's right, it's the run up to Christmas. No sooner are we back than the preparations for the Christmas Production are under way. I foresee many tears and tantrums and as usual, that will be in the Staff Room. Oh well! No point worrying about that yet, I have today and tomorrow before I have to think about it.

This week I managed to do a number of things that had been hanging around for a while, like organising some of the research I've been doing and starting a website where much of it will be viewable. So I feel a little less stressed now about the mountain of paper that was, at times, flowing like molten lava from Mount Etna, out of the door of my office, into the bedrooms, slithering down the stairs and secreting itself on most available surfaces. 

Tuesday was a day out visiting people, dropping off and delivering various papers. I had lunch at the pub where we are hoping to have a bit of a school reunion, two weeks today, I had salmon kebabs with a jacket potato and salad and it was very good, so I think I'm happy with my choice of venue.

Wednesday I had lunch with my friend from the place I used to work. She is the only person I have chosen to keep in touch with, most of my memories from 'that place' are not happy, so I've chosen to put it behind me. They operated a divide and rule regime and boy, were there some back stabbers there! I have never known a place where so many people were signed off with stress.

Anyway this friend and I had worked in other places, where people were nice to each other, so we knew what it could be like elsewhere and became allies. The ones that had been there straight from school and been there all their working lives were the worst.

We had a lovely lunch at an old country inn, which has become one of our favourite eating places. I had stuffed marrow with proper home made chips.

Thursday I met my sister at Droitwich Brine Baths, she had never been before. Although I had warned her, nothing quite prepares you for just how much you float. Even when you are quite within your depth, it is nigh on impossible to get your feet on the floor without the aid of a handrail. For some reason, your bottom keeps wanting to suface while you are struggling to get your feet back on the ground and there were a few undignified struggles and much laughter.

After the Brine Baths, we went for lunch at The Old Cock Inn. The week has not done much for my weight loss regime! This time I had Crispy Duck Salad, mmmmm! Lovely.

The place has amused me for years, as some time ago my aunt had her 80th birthday party there. Her two sons kept telling everyone that they were having the party there because " Mum likes The Old Cock Inn"! Sorry, it must be my mind.

While walking around the town I managed to bump into two more people I used to work with at 'that place' which is now getting really strange as Droitwich is ten miles away from where we worked. When you think there were only around 60 staff there it is wierd, are they all spying on me, or what? 

Thursday evening, our friend who is moving to France next week came for dinner and stayed the night. She is moving there on her own, which I think is very brave but I'm sure she will do well and I'm looking forward to lovely shopping trips to Lyon. She is going to keep in touch with our lives through this Blog and will start one of her own so we can see what she is doing over there.

She had a horrible time in her last few weeks here, including have her car stolen at knifepoint when she was in Birmingham, which has caused her all sorts of problems. Birmingham people were voted the rudest people in Britain, in a survey that has just come out. I think my friend would agree with that and from what she tells me that he said to her, WELL! ....I don't think he went to the Lucy Clayton Charm School. All the best in France sweetheart and we'll see you soon.

So this week has been busy but fairly uneventful. That's not strictly true, while I was typing this I had a very interesting phone call but that will have to wait for another time.






Saturday, 22 October 2005

Is There a Plan?

Not putting a mood in the box at the top as nothing is appropriate. Why can't you type in one of your own? AOL, are you listening?... no, I thought not.

I bought a triple CD of 80's 12 inches recently. Remember them? One or two of the tracks are rubbish but some are very good, the Talk Talk track is wonderful and I could listen to it for hours, there's something quite hypnotic about it and yesterday it had me dancing round the kitchen whilst I played it over and over. Never assume that because my body is in it's 50's that my head is anywhere near there yet. 

We had a box arrive at the studio in the week for Mike, I have no idea what he must have said whilst on air but he's had 4, not just one, but 4 'My Litle Ponys' sent to him. We will make sure they go to make money for charity but first, I thought, I'd better get one out of the box and make certain it's OK.

I've never had experience of My Little Pony before. The four we have all have long manes with a little brush, a pointy hat and a  a dinky little wishing well. The wishing well has a handle on the side, which I thought might be a music box.

I'd sent Mike to the shops on an errand and thought while he was out of the way I would open one, just to test it you understand. In the well is a frog with a gold crown resting on it's blue plastic water. I turned the handle and ........ the surface of the water turned over and the frog had gone leaving just blue water and some lily pads. That was quite amusing thinks I, now turn it again to get the frog back. It wouldn't. Whichever way I turned it it was not having it. The surface of the water was locked in position and wouldn't budge. I tried pressing the water with my finger but there was no way it was going to move.

I'm now quite cross as I can't give these things away if they break the first time you touch them. I look for instructions but all it said, in 27 different languages on the side of the box was 'Crystal touches the heart on the wishing well.'

 Crystal was by now not touching my heart,I was supposed to be cooking dinner and she was seriously peeing me off! Right, I'll open another of the billious, blue, monstrosities and see if that one works. I very gently turned the handle to make sure I didn't force anything. I barely touched the handle and woosh, over goes the frog and now I have two broken wishing wells. There is no way they are turning back over, they are well and truely jammed.

I'm expecting Mike back any minute and I'm deciding to go for the, 'What do you mean, bringing this load of crap home!' attack is the best form of defence line, when I think I will just have one more look at the box. Still no instructions but there is a little note about magnetic parts. This starts a little part of my brain whirrring and I start to investigate the pony, Crystal. On the underside of one of her feet there is a large pink dot. Hmm!!!!   Crystal touches the heart on the wishing well? There is a small pink heart on the side of the well. I put her little pink hoof on the heart ( I can't believe I'm telling you this) and woosh... the water turns over again to reveal the little frog with the crown.

When I looked at the box again, I noticed it said not suitable for children under 3 years of age. I think it needs amending to not suitable for children under 53 years of age!

Last Saturday, as mentioned in my previous entry, we went out for lunch to Abbots Bromley, some 50 miles from here. I went in the summer to meet up with an old friend and was so taken with the area I wanted to take Mike there, as he had never been.

We had a lovely lunch, at The Goats Head, while we were in the pub I kept looking at people as  for some reason I expected to see someone I knew. After Lunch we went for a walk around the village.There are lots of old houses fronting right onto the pavement, very good for nosing into people's front rooms, a few pubs but only a couple of shops. A butcher's and a newsagent's.

We walked down a side street to the ancient church and had a good mooch around inside and out. There is a stunning modern metal sculpture on the wall above the main entrance. 

When we left the church I had an odd feeling of fitting to a timescale. Mike suggested walking down one path to the bottom of the churchyard but I didn't want to, I wanted to do a quick circuit of the church and get back to the main street.

I said I wanted to walk to the end of the main street on the one side and then cross over and go back down the other. I now felt I was needing to hurry and was walking quite fast, which is most unlike me.

We walked past the newsagent and I could not say if there was a car there or not. We kept going until I knew I'd reached the point where we had to cross. There were still houses either side but now they had gardens. As we walked back on the other side of the street towards the newsagent's I noticed there was a car parked outside. It's very quiet with not much traffic, as we drew almost opposite the car, the driver came out of the shop and walked round to the driver's door. We looked at each other and did a double take, he was a director of the company I worked for for 8 years, back in Worcester, 50 miles away. We used to chat quite a lot in break times and his birthday is the same day as my mother's.

I haven't seen him since he retired almost 4 years ago. The three of us stood chatting  for at least ten minutes, if not more and we were both pleased to have this chance encounter. But why? Why did I feel compelled to walk a certain route and to change the speed I was walking? Just a few seconds either way and we would not have seen each other. Why was it important?

Someone suggested that by that ten minute delay while we were talking it could have prevented either of us being in an accident, I don't know and don't suppose I ever will but from the time we left the pub until we saw Steph, I knew I was being directed.

It's not the first time things like that have happened. When I was seventeen my boyfriend had a soft top MGB. I always wore my seat belt, in his car, or anyone elses and used to get very cross with Mum when she wouldn't wear hers. I think the boyfriend  normally did as well but can't vouch for that.

We went to a Bonfire Party, it was a lovely evening, even though it was November and we had the top of the car down on the way there. I can't tell why neither of us put  our belts on on the way home, something stopped me, as if I knew it was safer somehow but that didn't make sense. Until later.

.We'd put the top back up then, which was another blessing. We'd only travelled a few hundred yards when we skidded on a bend, hit a tree stump, carried on along the hedge with my side of the car getting higher and higher until it flipped over and landed upside down in the road, where it continued it's manic journey for another ten yards.

Apart from a couple of deep cuts to my head, one where the quarterlight had caved in and stuck in the side of my head and the other, on the top, from the frame of the hood, we were just jarred and bruised.

We were sitting inside the car, on the soft top, which was now on the road, we had both been flipped over, out of our seats, which were now above our heads, people stopped and helped lift the car so we could get out.

When we saw the car later we could see the headrests had been sheared off from when the car careered upsidedown along the road . Had we been strapped in we would both have been decapitated, well, me more than him as he was a bit of a short arse!

I have had several experiences like this, where I feel I'm being guided. I can't offer an explanation but I never doubt it when I get these feelings, so far they have only been to my benefit.

School was busy this week as there was loads to cram in before half term. We had some interesting visitors for the children which could explain why one boy obviously got a little over excited and called his supply teacher a Slapper. Trouble was, he's not very bright and we knew he didn't know what it meant, so we all had trouble not laughing.

I've just been invited to the pub, so I'm off now, should I wear my seat belt, or not?

PS I just thought I would have a look at my German 'nearly' son in law's website for his punk group, to see if they have confirmed the dates for their UK tour next month. While I was there I had a look again at the tracks on their new CD.

How do these titles grab you?

Crash Cars Look Better Than Daisies.

When Oranges are Juice They're Dead.

Sheep, Sheep, Sheep.


Hmmmm! I think I shall be looking closely at Flo when he comes here at Christmas.



Saturday, 15 October 2005

The Joys of Children

Another week and I seem to be going backwards!

School has taken most of my time this week, various issues with children with problems and teachers who seem to find places to go, other than our school. I taught for 3 and half hours on Monday and I'm only a teaching assistant. If you ask me the world's gone mad.

I'm a reasonably intelligent woman but I'm an Insurance Broker. I never trained as a teacher. When I started part time work as a Learning Support Assistant, I did not realise that in three years time I would be taking whole classes for IT, or covering Maths and Literacy lessons for the SEN group, of which we have many.

It's mostly down to the goverment idea of teachers having Planning and Preparation time during school hours. What twit thought of that? It's like having a bus driver that doesn't drive!

As usual there doesn't seem to be adequate funding to bring in a supply teacher to cover and remember, in our school of 11 teachers that amount to 22 hours extra cover a week. So who does it get dumped on? Me and my other TA colleagues and because we now do PPA cover they seem to think that it's OK for us to cover for teachers on courses or at hospital appointments. 

Anyway that's just my rant for the week.

The other thing is the Head of the infant school, which is on the same site as the junior school is retiring and so the powers that be want to make the school one.

I don't actually have a problem with that, I think it will lead to greater continuity throughout those vital early years and I might get to find out why so many children come up to year 3, still unable to read.But the meetings we have to keep having because people are worried about their jobs. There is so much uncertainty.

Thursday afternoon we were all told to attend a meeting which the 'Big Knobs' would be at and they would make everything clear. There's one word that sums that up. B****ks!

Three turned up for the start of the meeting and waffled. Any difficult questions were met with the answer that so and so would be the best person to answer that but they hadn't turned up. One woman arrived about twenty minutes late but the HR (whatever happened to Personnel?) man turned up an hour and a quarter late.

Now I must say he didn't do much for English/Welsh relations, even though he was the person to answer most of the questions asked there was no apology for turning up 15 minutes before the end of the meeting and he then proceeded to belittle people with very genuine concerns, in his Tom Jones accent. I was squirming in my seat hoping no one remembered I had Welsh relatives and one of the poor TA's, a lovely girl  from Merthyr and as Welsh as you like said later that when he opened his mouth to speak her heart sank.

The upshot of the meeting was, our jobs are ringfenced (?) and all our jobs are safe, unless of course they are not, in which case, no one will be made redundant, as they don't like to consider that option until the end. So if you lose your job they will 'support' you to find another, which could be anywhere within the area, therefore miles away, as we know there are very few vacancies inWorcester.

I have never heard a bigger load of TWADDLE in my life.

I shall just carry on as usual and wait for whatever happens.

The little boy from our school who was found on fire by the canal in the summer holidays came to visit. He's still bandaged on his body but thankfully all the visible bits are untouched. Considering his was in a coma and in intensive care for a couple of weeks you really have to wonder at the miracles our hospitals can sometimes perform. He looked really happy and well, I hope he continues in the same way and his experience doesn't leave too many mental scars.


It's now Saturday evening.

Children can be a joy, they can also be a pain, or a huge worry.

On Sunday before my son left, to drive back down to London to his girlfriends', he let something slip. It was another of his classics, he really shouldn't lie as he always gets found out in the end. No, not gets found out, but blurts it out. I'm not sure if he does in to clear his conscience, or just forgets he lied.  

This revelation was to do with car accidents. He only recently passed his driving test, so when he was at college in Gosport, would often have a lift with one of his mates back home to Worcester.

I am a bit of a joke amongst his friends as I always say, drive safely, in a 'you'd better while you have my son aboard' sort of way.

About a year ago he mentioned something about when Carl wrote off his car. Oh! says I, (Mother's Radar working overtime here)  when was that? (smiles sweetly, in a Cruella DeVille sort of way, to encourage confidences). That time when we were going back to base one weekend and we hit a lamppost. Smile rapidly disappears, AND WHEN WAS THAT? Son realises mistake and tries to back track but had to admit that at a roundabout they had been pushed, ever so slowly into a lamppost by some idiot driver who pulled into the side of them. Hmmm! Mother is almost placated and is assured she wasn't told for her own good. It wasn't Carl's fault and he is a safe driver.

Well, last Sunday, I have no idea what was the reason but the accident was brought up again and now he's forgotten the edited version he'd given me. Let's hear the truth shall we?

They'd just left a dual carriageway and were heading down a sliproad to a roundabout. Carl was going to fast and didn't make it, the car  overturned and ended on it's side up against one of those giant lampposts you get at that type of junction.

Carl said what shall I do and son said, turning of the engine might be good. They weren't hurt but couldn't get out, as one side of the car was under them and the other was up in the air.

They were justdebating how to get out when son spotted something happening and said' shut your eyes'. The lamppost slowly toppled onto the front of the car, shattering the windscreen in the process. That solved the getting out problem.

Then there was the difficulty of continuing their journey. Carl had Relay cover but that didn't apply to accidents, however he phoned his rescue service and gave his location saying his car wouldn't start.

When the man turned up he took one look and said 'Well of course it won't start, it's on it's ****ing side!!!'

I had phoned son whilst they were getting it all sorted out and asked why hadn't he rung to say he was home. He told me was. Well in that case why could I hear cars in the background? That's because we went for a drink at the bar on base and we're just walking back through the car park.

His best foot in mouth episode is still a family favourite.

When Mike and I married, son was only four. There was a bit of male rivalry for my attentions in those days. We had very little money and were doing our best with a little Vicorian terraced house. Mike, who is the first to admit is no handyman, bought some pine shelves to put up in the alcove by the chimney breast, a place to keep our books. They weren't quite level but he was very proud of them.

At bedtime son was fiddling about with his pocket money, rather than getting ready for bed. Mike took it off him and put it on the shelves, which were now sporting a  large array of weighty tomes.

Later, we went to bed, we'd just slipped into the land of nod, when there was this awful noise from downstairs. I really thought we had been raided by the police and they'd kicked the door in. We all rushed downstairs to find Mike's shelves had collapsed and the large books were now all over the sitting room.

Mike was not a happy bunny! He went into a huge sulk over it for days and that is really not like him.

Several years laterSimon let slip to me, as he does, that after we went to bed, he'd climbed up onto the shelves, which were above an old cupboard, to get his money. I felt this was something that never needed to be disclosed, as did the rest of the children so it was never to be spoken of again.

That is, until a family dinner a couple of years ago when he decided to relate the tale. I wish I had a video of the moment. Mike was open mouthed, son was bemused and the rest of us became incontinent and incapable of speech.

If ever you have a secret, don't tell my son, not unless you want everyone to know about it.

Another of the delights of working with children is head lice, we have an outbreak at the moment and although I can't find any, I am convinced I keep feeling the marching of their little feet through my scalp. I spend ten minutes under the power shower every morning in the hope of dislodging any possible visitors.

We had a lovely day out today and yet another of those strange coincidences that follow me happened. I'll write about that next week.



Saturday, 8 October 2005

The Demon Drink!

What a week!

That's it, I'm signing the Pledge. No more drinking for me.

Why is it you don't go anywhere for weeks,.... months and then it all happens in a week? It's a bit like buses I suppose.

Thankfully 'The Squatters', my son and his girlfriend, are leaving tomorrow, it's not that I haven't enjoyed having them here on their holiday, it's just that, as they are holidaying, they keep partying and we somehow get sucked in with what they are doing.

I will for evermore associate son's girlfriend with Supertramps 'Breakfast in America'. They went into town last Friday, after first having a pint with us in our village Local. Unfortunately S'sG had a pint of the local Perry, she didn't stand a chance after that!

I had been preparing food after the pub visit, for the party next day and finally went upstairs to read my emails before going to bed. Suddenly the front door burst open and there was a bit of a bump followed by loud giggling. I went onto the landing to 'shush' the inebriates, as hubby was in bed snoring.

The sight that met me was S'sG lying on the hall floor in fits of giggles and my son, standing, just about but also hysterical with laughter. He looked up at me and said 'Look at my girlfriend, what a mess!' Ever since I have this mental picture of the two of them there in the hall with my son singing:-

Take a look at my girlfirend

She's the only one I got.

Not much of a girlfriend,

I never seem to get a lot.


I think that event set the tone for the week.

Sunday saw me recovering from Saturday's party.

Monday night we went to the local.

Tuesday night was quiet, as they went to a friend's for dinner and Mike was out doing a Gardener's Questions Forum. That was just as well because on Wednesday I was going on the year five trip from school, around Worcester, doing a survey of businesses. You do not want to be on your own with eight, ten year olds for four hours, when you have a hangover.  I managed not to lose any of them, didn't have to shout too much and I think we had the best time of all the groups as I got them into some places that others didn't think to go and showed them interesting features that they'd never noticed.

These are children that only really know playstations and DVD's. I pointed out a small alcove set in the wall of an old building at the top of the High Street and asked them what they thought it was, it was only about 18 inches high, with a thin metal bar set across it. The most popular idea was a coal cellar. I explained it was there to scrape the mud off the boots of people, back in the days when the roads were just earth. For some reason this really captured their imagination. When we crossed over to the Cathedral Close, one of them spotted a foot scraper outside the first house, this was a different design, not set in the wall but on the flagstones., They then realised there was one outside every house in the close but of different designs and shapes, they had great fun going up and down the close, trying each of the scrapers. If only it could be possible to capture their imaginations in the same way in Maths!

We went round the Cathedral, which they adored and behaved beautifully throughout and we lit candles to departed relatives. Not one of them had been in the Cathedral before, yet they only live about three miles away. How are these  children expected to expand and develop mentally if they are never given any real stimulus?

They were very interested to see the Knave was laid out with large round dining tables and delicate gold chairs and were most impressed when I told them it was for an Award Dinner, which I was going to the next night.Wednesday evening saw us at the pub again, it's a wonderful place, rather like the Cheers Bar, where everyone knows your name and discussions are always lively and interesting.

Next night saw us in the Cathedral for The Heart of England Tourist Board's annual awards. What a wonderful place to have dinner, to say it was spectacular is no exaggeration. I was very good and only drank a little wine, as I didnt want to show myself up, being on the top table. Unfortunately we had arranged to meet son and S's G to get a taxi home. We decided coffee and Jamesons would be a pleasant end to the day.

Very bad decision!

We got home at eleven thirty but got to bed at two am. It's always a bad sign if I get out the Vangelis 'El Greco' CD, a sure indication we should have gone to bed half an hour ago.

When we went to put the pets in the kitchen for the night we realised the oldest cat Fliss was missing. We thought weheard her but couldn't locate her, eventaully we had to go to bed.

I woke again at 5am, needing the toilet and a drink of water. Of course, then I was worried about Fliss, so, in my nightie and sandals I went off outside to try to find her. What a sight that must have been as I crept around with a torch, still half inebriated! I couldn't find her and went back to bed.

Harper Dog decided to start crying a short time later, so Mike went to let him out and came back upstairs a few minutes later to say Fliss was found, she was in one of the kitchen cupboards, I doubt she'll go exploring in there again.

Yesterday was a nightmare as I only had three hours sleep. I dragged myself through school and came home and went to bed for the afternoon. Then at seven I had to go to a friend's leaving party, She is moving to France, so I couldn't not go, even though I was still feeling awful. I got to the wine bar in town and had a mineralwater, followed by another mineral water. Mike had to go somewhere else first and was joining us about nine. When he arrived I had just had my first glass of red wine, he got me another and one for himself, we decided that would do for us and then we would go home.

Unfortunately as we were finishing our drinks, son and S'sG walked in. They insisted on buying us a drink and then another couple bought as another and so it went on. I ended up out on the balcony have a cigarette with a friend, who is a closet smoker and I haven't smoked for years!

One of the women start molesting my husband, which was very amusing as she has to work with him next week. I don't think she will actually remember but you can be sure Mike will remind her, in graphic detail.

I also seem to have agreed to a girlie weekend away. The very drunk woman said she couldn't come, as there would be no sex! I really have to remind her about THAT comment ! Eventually we walked home at twelve thirty. The kids stayed on and crashed in at three fifteen. Son can't remember if he walked, or got a taxi.

So we have all decided that is enough, we are not in the habit of so much alcohol consumtion in one week and I really need to give my liver a rest.

Tonight S'sG is treating us to dinner at the best Thai restaurant in town, as a thank you for having her. We had planned to go to the Austrian Bar first for a couple of halves of their excellent Pils but I don't think we will now. Then again, we could go and just have the one.............