Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I do feel a daft prune.

Now and again some of the staff who live locally meet for a meal at the local pub. All very informal with lots of giggling. Tonight was such a night and I'd put myself down to go. I was so tired that I totally forgot and also I kept nodding off. I missed them calling for me and it wasn't until Alison phoned me that I realised what I'd forgotten. It's too late to go now and anyway I need to go to bed before I fall asleep again, but I do feel a wally, all the more so because everyone was worried that I wasn't OK. And it's always such fun too.

Here's to the next one - hopefully I won't miss that!


. . . and it's nearly half way through the week. Where does the time go?
This afternoon is - er - exciting. Food technology and the children are making some fruit salad, having chosen their three ingredients (from a choice of six) yesterday. You will be glad to know that I have some parents coming in to help! Sweet and sticky will be the order of the day - hands, fingers, chairs tables . . . but it should be fun!
Shame about staff meeting though - it's yet more Espresso training (yawn).

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Tuesday evening

. . . and I'm just so tired (yet again). For once it was a 'normal' SEN day (which probably makes it un-normal actually) as there was no important paperwork to do in a rush, no urgent meetings, no sudden crises. I was able to continue with the phonological assessments of year 1 children and observe some Foundation Stage children. Nice. So why am I tired?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Monday evening

Sorry, I didn't have time to post this morning, time just ran away.

It was a lovely weekend. On Saturday I met someone who I have only known in virtuality, via FirstClass and she was as lovely as I thought she would be - she and her fiance. She wasn't fazed when I threw my bowl of soup all over the carpet (accident, honest) or when DG gave an impromptu performance of a play/story he had written just that morning, with songs, raps and actions included. It was a very moral story and I think we will all be very careful how we hold our spoons from now on (big grin)

And then on Sunday, dearest Mum and Dad (bless them) were half way between Letchworth and Chelmsford when they realised that the famous plum and apple crumble was still in the freezer - their freezer! Just as well there was plenty without it and they did make amends by producing some delicious runner beans and carrots from their garden! I enjoyed another roast dinner this evening and the boiled up carcass has produced some delicious stock, as well as all the other bits of meat for a pie of some kind! Chicken is wonderful value, even when it's an organic, free range, fed on smoked salmon and caviar, double the price type.

And tomorrow is SEN day again. Dare I hope for a comparative lie in??

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sunday morning

. . . and I'm up early, as usual. That's good because it gives me the opportunity to get everything ready for dinner good and early so I can read the paper later on. The planning is all done - lovely - and the house isn't too messy. The only other thing I need to do is some washing. Should be a restful day!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Like mother, like daughter

Tomorrow my parents are coming to Sunday dinner. As it's one of the easiest meals to cook, I decided on roast chicken with roast potatoes and onions, and they are bringing runner beans (yum yum) and carrots from their garden. I usually then just provide cheese and biscuits but I though that as the bits of the house that show are relatively clean and tidy because of today's guests, I'd have time to do a pud as well. Looking in the fridge, there are plums and Bramley apples so I thought a plum and apple crumble would be just the ticket, as well as being easy and fool proof (and freezable).

Got a phone call from Mum this evening:
'Hello dear. I have most of a plum and apple crumble left over from today. Would you like me to bring it over tomorrow?'

Talk about coincidence! Yes, please, Mum.

It all sounds rather nice, doesn't it?
Lemon roast chicken with roasted potatoes and onions, runner beans, carrots, gravy and home made stuffing (and maybe cranberry sauce, if I remember to make it).
Plum and apple crumble with either cream or custard (haven't decided which yet)
A selection of cheeses with various crackers.

And, of course, the chicken will provide at least two more meals, probably more, plus some for Ava! Economy gastronomy rules!

And Ava seems to have settled, she's started eating and she's curled up at my feet as I type. How pleasant life can be at times.

Saturday morning

. . . and Ava is settled here, fast asleep at the moment. Yesterday evening she was crying for the kittens (so very sad) and she started again this morning, but she is letting me pat her and generally comfort her. I gather the kittens have also been feeling a little lost and lonely but Indie is stepping in and trying her best.

As for today, I have a busy morning as the downstairs needs to be tidied and cleaned a bit. I have a FirstClass (OU) friend coming for lunch. It's killing two birds with one stone because tomorrow my parents are coming for lunch and the place will be nice and tidy. :0))

Better get cracking then!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Friday morning

. . . and such sad news. Ava (Lyra and Will's mum) has a form of cancer on her mouth. She is being treated and may be fine once the treatment has finished, but she has to stop feeding Will and Lyra immediately as her medication will harm them, via the milk.

It will be so cruel (and well nigh impossible) to keep them all in the same house so she's coming to live with me for a few weeks, while she is being treated. Will and Lyra have started on kitten food now, so they will be OK, food wise, and Indie has started 'mothering' them when Ava is not with them, so they will be cared for, but poor, poor little Ava. She's such a tender and loving mother to her babies and will miss them.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Thursday morning

. . . and I was awake ridiculously early after being so tired last night I fell asleep just after 8. I've used the time well though, getting next week's planning done and more or less dusted. As Liz did the maths a few days ago, it means we can look ahead a bit, maybe even get a bit of the next week planned: it's Book Week, so we won't have last year's planning to base it on.

Today is games day - unless it rains. Hope it doesn't - they love their games and I enjoy it with this year's class. There are some potentially good little sportspersons in the class and they have such fun. And in the morning they have their time in the ICT suite and that's usually good fun, albeit somewhat exhausting! I like Thursdays at school!

DD has heard that the Housing Association is going to completely do out her bathroom, new everything - suite, tiles, flooring, paint - the lot. I gather they're even replastering the walls and she will have a shower and an extractor fan at long, long last. She's so pleased, and so am I - it will be well worth a bit of disruption. And best of all - they're doing it next week! Amazing!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


How on earth did we get to Wednesday so quickly? At the end of this week we will almost be half way through the half term, a sixth of the way through the school year. That sounds obscene. Better start on those school reports, quick!

Today is writing simple rhyming couplets, each one starting with 'This is the bear'. Last year I got some fairly ordinary returns. 'This is the bear who cut his hair', was fairly typical of the type of response but I remember one in particular. 'This is the bear who did not care'. My dear, I know the feeling, I really do!!

And then, in the afternoon, we meet Mr Healthy, a cartoon character who, despite his name, needs help with sorting what kinds of food he ought to eat more of and what he ought to eat less of. Cutting, sorting and sticking amid cries of 'Mrs Clark, I've got two cheeses and no tomatoes'. Well, lucky you!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Tuesday morning

. . . and I've been busy creating PowerPoint presentations for my little dears to help them understand about how to use rhyming words (and, in a few cases. what rhyming words are). How did we manage before computers and interactive whiteboards, I ask myself? It's all just so incredibly useful and the simple visual effects hold the children's attention marvellously. I wonder when they will start bringing out some of these lovely books on disk, with effects - surely it can't be that far away?

The one we're using this week is 'This is the bear' which would be ideal for some simple animation. And with big books at the price they are, it couldn't be all that much more expensive.

Today is my SEN day again and we have our lovely Educational Psychologist in for an hour, to discuss the year ahead. She's a delightful lady, very grounded, sensible and extremely helpful. She also says what she thinks, but in a way that rarely gives offence. After that it's back into Foundation Stage after play, to do some observing and note taking for one of my colleagues who is concerned about a child. And after school there's a review meeting and a new IEP to discuss with a parent. So a busy day but a very interesting and worthwhile one, I expect.

Photo: Will with one of his favourite toys.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Monday morning

. . . and I have a poem in front of me.

When DG comes to stay, he loves to help me with my school work. He wasn't too impressed with my plans for rhyming couplets based on 'This is the Bear' so I challenged him to make his own rhyming story. It took him about five minutes to produce the following, of which he was most proud! I've changed nothing.

Among this place there's a creep
While everyone is still asleep

Aliens lurk above the street
Looking for something nice to eat

People wake up and run away
Aliens are here today

People get scared and call the poliuce
Without stopping to get their fleece

People run away and hide in place
They just run, it's not a race

Aliens attack their prey
Looking for something to eat today

People is the answer so they get scared
They try to defeat the aliens but they wouldn't dare

Who shall the aliens eat today?
An alien spots someone - his name is Ray

The aliens attack him but Ray is too quick
After all that running, Ray is sick

Ray calls the ambulance, but the aliens attack it
So therefore Ray doesn't know where to sit

Makes my 'This is the dog who sat on a log' look pretty tame in comparison, doesn't it? When one considers that he was non-verbal until he was about five years old and the 'experts' thought he would never develop 'useful' speech, it's pretty amazing, I think. DG continues to surprise us all, in many ways, on a daily basis and I suspect he does the same thing at school.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sunday evening

. . . and there's no message, just a few cute photos! All together now - aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

Lyra looking very cute.

And again . . .

Eating with Mum!

Sunday . . .

. . . and it's late. I don't know whether the problem was with Google or with my internet connection but I haven't been able to get in before now. There's been plenty to keep me going though - the knowledge that I might have the head and deputy meandering into my classroom for an observation tomorrow is more than enough to keep my nose to the grindstone through the weekend! In a way, the uncertainty is worse than knowing - there's an underlying feeling of stress most of the time. Well, there is for me anyway! Others are probably a lot more sensible about it! I keep telling myself the worst that can happen is that I do a naff lesson but it doesn't seem to help very much.

One of the things I've been doing is refining a little song (for want of a better word) for year 1 to sing at the school's Harvest festival. Naff it may be, but I think the children will like it and it's easy!

Anyway - it's been a nice weekend despite the above, with DG staying Friday night and DD coming to pick him up and staying for a chat. Just for a change, I'm going round to hers for tea tonight - they usually come to me - so I'm looking forward to that very much.

Photo: guess who!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

An addition

I didn't half feel smugly organised yesterday! It doesn't happen very often (if ever) so I'm making the most of it.

Because of Liz being off until next Thursday, she very kindly got the planning more or less done for me on Thursday and I tweaked it on Friday early morning. I decided to print it off so it was done and I printed two copies of each, one for me and one for K, my TA.
Half way through the afternoon, Debbie (supply for Liz) sent a message round the corner to my bay asking if I had any idea of the planning for next week, even just notes, so she could be a bit prepared.
This is where the smug comes in as I was able to send her a full version of both theme and maths planning, plus a message telling her that all the word sheets, resources, etc were ready and made!
As I said - smugly organised! That's me!

Saturday morning . . .

. . . and my spare bedroom has been taken over. DG, being an autist, can be (almost always is) very precise. When I informed him that I'd be ready for bed at about 9:00 so he'd need to come upstairs with me, but he could watch DVDs (all my DVDs are harmless) on the old DVD telly in the spare room, he started making the room fit for purpose. Up went a selection of DVDs, up went a comfortable fold up garden chair, up went the fold up garden table (and down it went again when I said no), up went the fold up TV food table, up went the little circular stool that I use as a coffee table, up went an old cutlery box stuffed with paper, pens, sellotape and other necessities of bed sit life . . . oh, and up went one of his new Mister Men water bottles, washed out and filled with water. His reason for the extra furniture? 'I hate being bored, Nan!' Fair enough!

Then he phoned his mum to say goodnight and let her know he was OK - that's a new one, he's not wanted to do that before.

I shudder to think how long it's going to take to tidy up, but at 9:00 (he counted it down for me to avoid any mistakes) off went the computer, on went the door chain and up we both went! Bliss!

Photo: Another of the charming and so-cuddly Will

Friday, 18 September 2009

Friday evening . . .

. . . and another weekend has started, this time very pleasantly as I have DG here for a sleepover, pizza is in the oven and I've been round to DD's for a cuddle with the kittens - well, kitten really as Lyra was asleep under the sofa and stayed resolutely asleep all through (sensible kitten).

It's becoming a tradition that when DG stays here I teach him to cook something involving meat. DD is a vegetarian and so was DG until he decided he would rather be an omnivore. To her great credit, DD gave him 'permission' - or maybe I mean she respected his personal decision - yes, that's a much better way of describing it. Anyway, she asked if I would teach him to cook meat stuff, as she doesn't.

I was kind of hoping for fish pie, as DG wolfed a whole one down last Friday when my parents were over and we all went out for dinner, but no - he wants to learn how to cook bacon and eggs for breakfast! That's men for you!

So here we are, me blogging, Alex watching TV and both of us waiting for the pizza to heat up. I love Alex's sleepovers.

Photo: Will looking beautiful!

Friday (again - where does the time go?)

. . . and the end of the second week.

Poor Liz. She's my co-year 1-colleague and she's been signed off for a time with a damaged knee. As she said, it's not as if she's ill and daytime TV is so-o-o-o boring!

Anyway, bless her, she used yesterday to get the planning for next week done and sent over. I've tweaked it and sent it back. That's all done - great feeling. I can use PPA time this morning for gathering resources and generally getting everything ready for next week which is lovely. Also, we're now reaping the benefits of some previous vary careful planning. A bit needs tweaking in response to outcomes but most of it is fine and dandy! A super way to start the weekend!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Thursday evening . . .

. . . and many apologies for the non-blog this morning. Things were a bit busy. I heard that my co year 1 teacher has been signed off for a week so I needed to get stuff sorted for her supply. All a bit hectic and I had to cancel the recorder lesson I usually give on Thursday mornings. After a busy start it was a very nice day at school with lots of smiles and happy stuff in class.

However, there was one very sad thing. For years now a delightful gentleman - lets call him D - has come into school once a week, every Thursday, without fail, to doreading with year 1 children. He attached himself to my class when I was in year 1 before, stayed with year 1 when I went off to year 4, and was still reliably there when I moved back to year 1 last year. He's just a fantastic gentleman, retired now, so kind and the children just love him - and we adults are also very, very fond of him. Anyway, he didn't turn up today and we got a phone call to say that his daughter had passed away.
We're all gutted by this news and may I ask that as you read this, you say a prayer for, or think of, D and his wife and all others so sadly affected by this. One never expects to outlive ones children . . .

Bless you, D, we are all thinking of you at Newlands Spring.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Wednesday morning and . . .

. . . it looks fine and windy outside. Just as long as it's not raining, I don't mind. Our poor children were stuck inside for most of the day yesterday and, inevitably, they were fed up and restless by the end of the day. Today looks much more promising. Wind does unsettle them, but it's not strong enough for that kind of disruption at the moment.

Yesterday got some very useful paperwork done including an Appendix B and some IEPs. It's nice to have them off my mind. Now I have to write one more IEP and hold some meetings with the parents, one of which is already sorted. There's an awful lot of paperwork involved in Special Needs, so I do try to make it all worth while, which can take time. Fuzzy writing is a whole lot easier, isn't it? However, the thought of our lovely EP looking at what I write and saying 'now, Joy, what exactly do you mean by this?' is more than enouygh to keep me on the straight and narrow. SMART targets are now second nature!
An exciting bit of news - we are starting up a gym trail for some of the children and one of the pieces of apparatur we ordered has come. S and I had a think and we reckon we can now set up three or four stations, which is enough to get started. One will be balance, two will be gross motor control and one will develop fine motor control. Well, I think it's exciting anyway!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Computer problem - end of . . .

I knew it was a setting. Tools>Options>View>uncheck the picture placeholder box.
I have no idea how it got checked in the first place - probably some naff typing on my part!

This is where it gets a bit Oscar like because I would like to thank Lindy for giving the problem so much of her attention and time, John Campbell, the great digital artist, also for trying to find a solution - and see his fantastic photo art on - the lovely folks in OUSA Hot Tips for their advice and, most of all, thank you to the great Al for finding the solution.

Phew . . .

A little addition

I had some ham left over from the little gammon joint last week. What I did just now was cut it into chunks and bung it into my mini chopper. Then I zizzed it and added to it a little butter and enough mayo that when I carried on zizzing it all combined into a pate. That was it! No salt needed, of course, and it tasted very nice just as it was. I could have added some grain mustard, or some chutney and maybe I will next time. It was just a little chunk of ham, barely enough for one for a main portion and it made three little pots of ham pate to spread on ryvita, perfect for my school lunches. Three minutes in total and that included washing the chopper afterwards.
That little joint has been marvellous - five meal sized portions, some chopped in a mixed salad for another meal, three pots of pate (now in the freezer) and four good sized portions of ham and lentil soup!

Tuesday morning and . . .

. . . it's my day out of class for my SEN work. On the cards today is a visit from a specialist support teacher (maybe two, in fact), an appendix B to write with the head and more Y1 assessments to do. Should keep me out of trouble most of the time. And perhaps today I will find the time to have my lunch. Yesterday I finished it after school while I marked their work.

Autumn has definitely arrived, despite the calendar telling me it's still summer. Dry, dead leaves were swirling around in the breeze yesterday and it was cold overnight - snuggle down under the quilt cold with a dash of shiver as I go to the loo cold thrown into the mixture. I wonder when the first frost will be!

I made a nice pastry-less 'quiche' last night. It's healthier because it uses yogurt instead of cream, although the load of grated cheddar kind of compensates for the lack of pastry.
Basically it's three eggs and 1.5 cups of natural yogurt, 8oz grated cheese, herbs and seasonings, a splash of water and fillings. The recipe says steamed broccoli but I used onion, spring onion, yellow pepper and mushroom, all softened in a little bit of oil. Oh, and I added a tsp Dijon mustard for flavour. I mixed all this up together, poured it into a buttered dish and baked it for about 35 mins at 170C. It was nice but the mushroom and the pepper gave out some liquid which tasted lovely but marred the appearance a little. It had fluffed up very nicely when straight out of the oven but settled as it cooled.
I made half amounts and it gave me four servings, two of which I ate then (ooops) and two left over for packed lunches today and tomorrow with salad. Economy is Good - I've just checked my bank statement and ouch. September is always a heavy month. I moved into this house decades ago in September and many of the annual bills come in now. Also, of course, it's feeling the after effects of two summer holidays. So there was a quick shuffle over of some funds from my savings to keep things on the straight and narrow and a resolution to be Very Economical for a month or so - before Christmas comes to knock it all off its perch again!

Back to the recipe - next time I will try adding chopped feta rather than the cheddar and the broccoli (or maybe cauliflower) that the recipe asks for. I think it's one worth experimenting with.

To my disgust, Morrisons has started putting Christmas things on the shelves - definitely a step too early! I know I'm not the only one who is mildly irritated by this habit of starting winter in the middle of summer, Easter comes with the January sales and as for Christmas . . .

Photo: A photo I took of the old pier in Brighton. I edited it to grayscale and then used the 'cutout' function. Also it was a bit wonky so I straightened it. Amazing what you can do, isn't it?

Monday, 14 September 2009

Monday evening . . .

. . . and it was not such a bad day after all. No other mini-disasters and I couldn't taste the residual pepper in the porridge, which was good.

And now to bed - I'm very tired.

Monday morning and I have a feeling . . .

. . . it's going to be one of those days. I measured out the oats into the saucepan, added my one part milk to three of water and reached for the salt grinder to add a little salt before cooking my breakfast. Only what I grabbed wasn't the salt, it was the pepper and my porridge got a good grinding of the stuff before I realised. While fishing the pepper out with the tea strainer, I reflected on whether I'd got it all over and done with early or whether it was a sign of Worse To Come and it would be sensible to go back to bed and ride the day out there.
Unfortunately, the latter isn't a realistic option, so watch out school - here I come!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sunday morning, early, and a puzzle

I have a relatively minor but most annoying problem with my PC. When I try to import a graphic from the web into a Word document by copying and pasting, it doesn't show in my document. It's there, I can see the box outline, but there are no sizing handles and no access to formatting tools. Nor can I move it anywhere.

If I look in print preview I can see the picture. If I right click and copy (or cut) over the 'ghost-image', paste it into something like Paint Shop Pro, (where it shows fine, by the way) and then immediately copy/cut and paste back into Word, it's there, showing properly, editable and visible.

OK, I can right click from the web and save as - it then comes up fine in my documents, but yesterday a friend sent me a work sheet she had made, with some graphics, and they wouldn't show properly when I downloaded it, either by opening straight away or by saving and then opening.

It's weird and very, very annoying, as teachers tend to use graphics quite a lot, one way or another. I'm asking around, but no-one seems to know what it is . . .

Photo: Is a screen shot of what the work sheet looks like. :0(((

Saturday, 12 September 2009

An afterthought . . .

I know some won't agree, but I do think it is so very pleasant to be able to go for a pub meal without needing to take a bath and wash ones hair afterwards to get rid of the stale tobacco smoke (or go to bed stinky and need to change the sheets the next morning as well).

Much better!

Saturday morning (early) and . . .

. . . I didn't sleep all that well last night. It might have been the food (too much) or the wine (nearly too much) or just One Of Those Things but, whatever the reason, here I am at the PC before 5:00, downloading resources from the ever wonderful SparkleBox site. Walt and Wilf posters are spread over the floor, as are a set of number words relating to estimation, some counting in twos posters and a set of 'I can write my numbers' certificates. However did we manage before SparkleBox, I wonder?

The meal last night was great fun - DG caused muffled hysteria round the table when he talked about the potential effects of the baked beans he had eaten for tea (yes, he had tea and then tucked away a huge fish pie followed by an apple pie and cream dessert at the pub) and informed the waitress that he would like 'Fish pie with cheesy topping, please, and Mummy says I have got to have the vegetables too'. That's mums for you - spoilsports!!!

Mum and Dad go home today. It's been lovely having them here this week and I will miss them very much. I know I'm lucky to have a home that's big enough to have guests and I appreciate the considerable freedom it gives me. And next Friday, DG is coming round for his monthly 'sleepover at Nan's house'. I wonder what he wants to learn to cook this time . . .

Friday, 11 September 2009

Friday evening and . . .

. . . it's the end of the first full week of the new school year. It's a week I have very much enjoyed.
Mum and Dad are taking us (me, DD, DG, DS and P) out for dinner tonight so not only is there no cooking, there's also no clearing up afterwards. Wonderful!

I was too busy this morning to post a blog - things don't half mount up at times . . .

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Thursday morning and . . .

. . . it's been a bit of a rush this morning. I boiled a small gammon joint last night and this morning the stock was looking at me so very reproachfully I felt I had to do something with it. So I threw in some carrots left over from dinner last night, a jacket potato peeled and chopped (to cut the saltiness), some chopped onion, a bit of leek and loadsa red lentils. When it was all cooked and soft, I zizzed it. That's it really: no extra salt, of course and no herbs or spices either - yet. It tastes very OK and I'm now hoping that it will cool enough in the next 75 minutes for me to pop it into single portion pots. They can then go in the fridge where they will be safe and sound and chilling. Then, when I come home from school, I will label and freeze them.

So, a very profitable start to the day, somewhat marred by having to throw away some yogurts because they were well past their date. Oh, dear!

May we all have a good and trouble free day!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wednesday evening and . . .

. . . oh, I am so very tired. The big question is will I manage to stay awake all through Economy Gastronomy? Hope so!
School is still going well. I was called upon to find my stern Key Stage 1 Co-ordinator's hat this afternoon and - er - 'speak' to a child who had been kicking. How I manage to keep a straight face sometimes, I will never know. And my class, bless them, stayed as still and quiet as little mice and glowed when I praised them for their good behaviour. I think this year is going to be very nice, I really do.
I hope all my readers sleep as well as I know I will. :0)

Wednesday morning and . . .

. . . we reckon the Chinese meal last night was a triumph over severe adversity.

Dad went off to the Chinese I usually use, only to come back later on reporting that it was 'closed for holiday'. So we popped into my car and I drove to the one in town which I consider the best one around, only much further away! Closed on Tuesdays. At that point Dad suggested a meal round the local pub!! So we tried one more Chinese and lo and behold, that one was open. AND they now put all their meals in those nice plastic containers that are so very useful for freezing single portions, putting packed lunches in, using for activities in school, etc! I was well pleased!

And to cap it all, there was just enough left over to make one more meal, which is now sitting snugly in the freezer! That's probably Saturday's main meal sorted out! Here's to economy!

Photo: Raindrops on leaves

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Tuesday evening and . . .

. . . all's right with my world. I have a flushing upstairs loo again, the school SEN situation is not too hassling at the present, Mum and Dad had a lovely time on the coast and I am full of take-away Chinese and a Merlot rose that tasted horrible on its own but complimented the Chinese food wonderfully well.

And it's a perfect late summer evening.

Tuesday morning and . . .

. . . hopefully the plumber will catch me today. :0(

In other news, I could really get used to being greeted from school with a cup of tea and the injunction to 'sit down while I cook the dinner'. Thanks, Mum, it was lovely.

Yesterday they went to Hyde Hall, which they enjoyed very much. Today it's a trip to the coast, so I do hope the weather is good for them. They should get back to a house that smells wonderfully savoury, as I've just popped a beef casserole in the slow cooker. I love my slow cooker - it must be practically antique by now, about 30 years old, but it's wonderful!

As for me, it's SEN day and, with some new arrivals in Foundation Stage, I think I will be in there a fair bit. There's also some Important Letters to write. Then, after school, it's the termly 'Meet the Teacher' meeting. Dad has suggested take away Chinese tonight, which I think is a Very Good Idea Indeed.

So all in all, quite a busy day, but, hopefully, a good one. I hope yours is as good!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Monday morning and . . .

. . . my Little Dears are getting a shock today. They are all expected to Do Their Diary - at the same time! Some of them will also have to do it On Their Own.
I will save the nervous breakdown until playtime!

Apart from that, nothing particularly special is anticipated - although, thinking about it, I got an email from my plumber, sent yesterday, to say that he can stop by to look at my upstairs loo on his way home this afternoon. The loo has stopped flushing and as I have my parents round for the week, it's a bit awkward! If Matt can get it sorted, I'll be well pleased!

Photo: Streele Farm (again)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sunday evening and . . .

. . . dinner was jolly nice.

I chopped up a small white onion and gently fried it in butter in a large pan with a fitting lid. When it was soft, I removed it from the large pan and fried five lamb leg steaks until browned on both sides, I then added the onion, a good sloosh or several of full bodied red wine, a tsp of Dijon mustard, a squirt of garlic puree, a lamb stock cube, two sprigs of fresh rosemary and some ground black pepper. After bringing back to the boil, I covered it and let it simmer for about an hour, turning the steaks now and again, until they were tender and had lost their 'chewiness' and adding boiling water if the sauce became too reduced.
I placed the steaks in a warmed dish and covered. I boiled the sauce until it was reduced a bit, removed the rosemary sprigs and added a tsp of redcurrant jelly. I poured the sauce over the steaks, garnished it with fresh rosemary sprigs and it served with boiled new potatoes and runner beans and carrots from my parents' garden. It was very yum so I thought I'd share it.

Sunday and . . .

. . . it's very dull outside, but at the same time it feels quite humid. I've got the front and back door open to try to catch some breeze - what a change from a few days ago when it was very windy and blustery!

I'm expecting my parents to arrive at about three, complete with nice recliner for me. They've recently bought a new suite with two reclining chairs, one each, and offered me the 'old' one. There's just a little problem with casters so Dad and I will be whizzing off to B&Q to see if we can find some replacements. I've felt it would be nice to have a recliner for ages, so this is great: also, when they come and visit in the future, there will be a comfortable chair for Dad. While my chairs are fine for me and for Mum, I did have them made 'my' depth and narrower than the conventionally sized chairs (because they originally had to go in a small room) and I've never felt that Dad was too comfortable in them.

Well, better go and get on with stuff . . . plenty of time but there won't be if I stay here!

Photo: a view at Streele Farm.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Saturday morning and . . .

. . . it's going to be a busy day. Mum and Dad are arriving tomorrow for a 'holiday from home' so today will be devoted to getting stuff in, cooking, cleaning and bed making, etc. I've spent since about 5:00 this morning getting the planning tweaked, resources made, etc. I *think* all I have to do now is make the Powerpoint presentation for 'Ten Green Bottles' and then all is ready for Monday.

Maybe Iwill have time to make that plum jam. Thinking about it, let's assume I will. I'll get the pulp out of the freezer before I go shopping - I ought to do it while I still feel energetic!

Photo: Taken in the gardens at Hever Castle.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Friday evening and . . .

. . . my goodness, I'm tired. However, I've had a lovely two days and I think I have a lovely class this year. I'm so pleased. What was really nice though was that one of last year's class brought in Birthday Sweets and insisted on me having one of them - aaaahhhhh.

Also New Little Boy didn't cry and so earned his special 'smelly sticker' (much prized) from me this morning. He looked well pleased. . .
Lovely whole class maths session, lovely Golden Time, lovely PE lesson . . . and next week's planning is done.

I am content. :0)

Friday morning

Well, the last day in a very short week. Oh, I was so tired yesterday evening, my throat was dry and it felt as if I hadn't stopped talking all day (which I possibly hadn't). It was a delightful day though - the new class seems lovely and we all got on, New Little Boy settled in well after a bit of crying and made some friends and Talk Without Thinking Little Boy actually remembered to put his hand up on the afternoon.

I spoke with New Little Boy at the end of the day.
NLB: Bye, Mrs Clark
Me: Bye! How about no crying tomorrow morning?
NLB: (looking thoughtful) I think I might cry just a little bit.
Me: Sticker for no crying?? (it's NOT bribery, it's positive encouragement/reward, OK?)
NLB: Ooooh . . . .

We will see!

It's a bit of an unbalanced class - nine girls and twenty boys, and weighted towards the younger end. We will have to see what, if any, difference that makes to my delivery of the curriculum.

And, joy of joys, it's PPA first thing this morning - could life hold more, I ask myself?

The economical eating is going OK too. Lest night was a freezer meal - but home made. Very nice, it was. Chicken korma (my version) and rice with a yogurt to follow. I can't be the only person who was pleased to see that Mullerlight have started selling their yogurts in smaller pots as well as the big ones.
Note to self: make another batch of korma as that was the last one.
Today's lunch is more of that tuna pate with ryvita and a simple salad, followed by plums and probably a yogurt.

Photo: Flowers (at Streele Farm) with a label cloned out - an early attempt at this. I hope it's not too obvious.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Thursday morning

. . . and only three hours and 1 minute (roughly) before the hoardes descend that the peaceful times are past and over. It's always a bit of an edgy time, wondering how it will all go, what they will be like, whether any will cry and what one has forgotten to do before they arrive.

Made a nice tuna pate/dip thingy for lunch today. I put a roughly chopped spring onion, half a green chili, deseeded, a can of trained tuna (the tune, not the can, I mean) a dollop of home made (what else?) mayo and a dollop of low fat creme fraiche, plus some salt, pepper and a bit of garlic puree into my mini chopper and zizzed it all round till it was smooth. What I also should have done was add some lemon juice, but I forgot - silly me! It's made enough for three single portions, so there they are in three little lidded pots (regular readers will remember those pots I bought in Crowborough); one for today's lunch, one for tomorrow's lunch and one as a snack. Excellent!!
One of my new year's resolutions (what do you mean, it's not new year - it is for teachers) is to carry on the good and economical work from last term, when Somerfield had closed so one couldn't just pop over to buy some lunch, so I brought it from home. Here's to the healthy eating and maybe this year is the year I get to grips with the old weight issue! I can hope anyway.

Photo: I finally got the holiday photos moved from the school laptop to my own PC, so here's another sunrise one from Streele Farm!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Back to work . . .

. . . albeit a breaking-in-gently-with-an-INSET day.

I was quite chuffed with my bay when I had finished yesterday. The cupboards over the sink are pretty tidy - well, very tidy, in fact - all the display boards are covered and waiting to be decorated with works of art, the house point charts are looking good, the planning, assessment, SEN and resource files are are all ready and the art cupboard has been given a good tidy up. There's newspaper in the appropriate box (for covering tables, papier mache, etc. Even the art folders are ready and labelled. In fact, the only thing that still needs a good tidy up is my table, especially the drawers under the table. I'll get that done at some point today.

So - all ready and prepared. It's a good feeling!

Photo: Another kitty one.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tuesday and the very last day

Well, the damsons have been de-stoned and sort pulped and the resulting richly coloured gloop is awaiting my decision on its fate. Will it be jam, will it be fruity gin, will it be syrup for ice cream or yogurt, will it be cordial? Will it be dealt with this afternoon or will it be frozen for a later date? No idea at present, but I have the whole day to think about it while I beaver away in my classroom getting everything completely shipshape and ready f0r the new class and the new school year.

The flapjacks worked out OK, although I was a bit concerned about one of the recipes. It had pumpkin seeds and apricots and I got it off the Internet. I think the cooking time is way out - should have been much longer - and I should have left them in the tin until completely cold. There's enough salvaged to take in though and I will apply the 'cook's share' rule to the bits that dropped off - they will be absolutely delicious in yogurt or over stewed fruit or ice cream.

And the cold quiche for lunch was absolutely delicious!

Photo: As I did some more kitty worshipping, here's Will, looking fluffy. Their eyes and ears are now beginning to open and they're very friendly, sociable kittens. Ava is very good at letting us hold them and stroke them.