Monday was a very sad day and I spent quite some time reading tributes to victims of 9/11, as well as writing one to my own namesake, who died on Flight 11.
But Monday was also an annual event that I have wanted to go to for ages. It was The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.
Abbots Bromley is in Staffordshire and just about an hour’s drive from my school. So, as it was a lovely day, at 12.45pm, Mike picked me up and we went straight there.
We had lunch first, well we would, wouldn’t we, we like our food .The Goats Head was our pub of choice from the five in the village, which was lovely; I had the fish pie, it had several types of fish in it and was topped with cheese. Mmmmm…..there goes my diet.
Outside the Goat's Head.
I thought I’d better wash it down with a pint of Real Ale, absolutely essential, if you are going to see Morris Dancing.
As soon as we sat down I spotted the farmer that showed us round his farm in Gloucestershire a couple of weeks ago. I knew he was thinking of going but fancy bumping into him and then we found ourselves sitting at the same table having tea in the church hall later on. I think our paths are meant to cross at present. He ‘s invited us to his Harvest Home next month….lots more Morris Dancing.
The tradition of the dance is recorded back in August 1226. Recently one of the horns had a piece broken off and it was sent for Carbon Dating. (No, it wasn’t looking for a partner!) It was found to be from 1065, a year before the Norman Conquest and from the time before Reindeers became extinct in this country!
The Horns are kept in the local church and are collected at 8 in the morning, the dancing is then carried out at various venues throughout the day but even a casual observer will notice that the five village pubs feature largely in the progress through the day. If you want to see more follow the link below.
Its English Tradition at it’s most quirky and best, probably utterly meaningless but more than likely related to fertility. Long may it continue.
I had thought maybe after going to see ’The Horn’, I might get lucky but no. The fresh air had worked it’s magic and Mike was asleep before I got into bed.
First full week back at school,. Thank God I only do mornings! I’m exhausted. Each morning is 4 hours of non-stop activity.
The final hour each day is Maths and due to falling pupil numbers, we have now dropped from 3 classes per Year Group, to 2. This means that instead of having 3 sets for English and Maths, which would work out around 25 in the top set, 25 in the middle and10 in the less able, which worked very well, we now have 30 in each set. You don’t have to be too bright to work out that that just doesn’t work. The difference in ability in a group of 30 is vast.
There’s me and another TA in our year group and we have to support the teacher taking the less able half, in each subject. Ideally there would be a TA in each class but the less able group’s size now means it takes both of us.
I have four children, aged 8 that I take to a separate table and work with. I drew theshort straw and have the 4 least able of the entire year group. If you try to imagine teaching a barrow load of monkeys Maths, then you’re somewhere close.
Three of my group are girls and theyare Travellers. Near our school is a Traveller Site; in the ‘Old Days’ they were called Gipsies, or worse. They tend not to move around the country so much these days. In fact they will probably only hitch up their vans and go off site for their summer holidays. So it’s not that they are away so much, they just don’t bother coming in all the time and mostly they skip the Nursery and Reception years, so they are always way behind the others.
They are undisciplined, talkative, cheeky, adorable children and they drive me to distraction.
Friday, as a nice wind down to the week we played Snakes and Ladders. It took ten minutes to actually get them to put all four counters on the board and stop hiding the dice before we could make a start.
The twins (identical) like hiding things in their lap and then asking where the items have gone, all ‘Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth’. I’ve sussed that one out and make them stand up, so whatever it is falls to the floor.
They like to swap hair bands to try to fool us by swapping identity. But again I’m one step ahead, one has some freckles on her nose, the other doesn’t. That has really given me some respect, as they can’t understand how I have got them worked out so quickly. In fact from the looks and mutterings, I can see that they’ve got me down as a Witch. Not a bad thing if I want to keep one step ahead of them. Anyway, as my children could tell them, I am a Witch and can sniff out skulduggery at ten paces, or even from the other end of the country!!
They like me and we have lots of fun when we finally get going and as long as I can keep my temper and their respect, we should get somewhere.
Wednesday I came home to find that, after a week since the completion of my Gas Mains renewal, the hole was still at the top of the drive. Mike can’t get his big car over the flimsy plates they put down to cover the hole and I’ve had to ask children to stop messing in the hole, which has exposed pipes.
I phoned the number on the letter I had and politely told them I thought a week was long enough and we had been told, by the hole diggers, it should have been filled in last Saturday. So why wasn’t it?
Within an hour two lorries arrived with a team of men and equipment and the hole was filled.
There's a hole at the top of my drive and the Gas Board are looking into it. Boom , Boom!
The next morning I saw the hole diggers walking up and down outside my house and one of them said “ Yes, it looks like it’s here”, pointing to my newly filled hole. When I returnedfrom school there were red paint marks either side of my nice new tarmac. This is a bad sign and I have a feeling I’m about to be dug up again! Does anyone remember that old song by Flanders and Swan called The Gas Man Cometh? Hmmmmm!
Going back to quirky dancing, the thing that has amused me most this week is a video clip a friend sent to me. It’s of the Swedish Band, OK GO, dancing to their song ‘Here It Goes Again’. If you’ve never seen it do have a look. I just adore the two skinny guys doing the skating movements and the little bald guy, well, who dressed him? Follow the link and just click on the play button, bottom left. Treadmill at my gym was never this much fun!
PS. I forgot, I lost a pound. Must try harder, could do better, sounds like one of my school reprts!