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

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.