Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Wednesday morning.

I do feel an awful lot better after a great night's sleep. After a downpour yesterday morning, the humidity was horrendous, but come the evening it all seemed to settle and cool down to the extent that it was actually comfortable sleeping under the quilt. Utter bliss! It still feels coolish: I have both french doors open and am enjoying the freshness as I type.

This afternoon I am out of class to observe a geography lesson in year 6. Given that while I might know a bit about teaching generally, I know less about year 6 and their geography curriculum, it should be an interesting experience all round. It's all part of my geography coordinator's management role!
It should actually be an interesting lesson. Year 6 is off on their residential visit next week and this will include an awful lot of geographical field work. It will also get them out of our hair for a week, which will be a relief. They've 'moved on' now, all but in body, they see no point in doing much work (fair enough - I feel the same), they've had their school inductions, their minds are on secondary education now (when it's on education at all).

I'm hoping Mick will finish the fence today. He'd done all the tricky bits - taking the panels off around the shed and doing the hard to get at bits. It looks plain sailing now and I'm looking forward to seeing it finished, even if I'm not looking forward to receiving the bill afterwards! I'm hoping that, with the new colour, the shed will sink into the background a bit more. When I chose that particular shed (pre-extension), the garden was longer and the shed further away. It's now rather 'in-yer-face' so anything that reduces its impact is going to be good.

Food today:
B: Muesli, grapes, yogurt
L: smoked salmon pate, ryvita, plums
D: turkey escalopes with chestnut mushrooms and sherry, broccoli and new potatoes; mango and grapes
Sn: apple, almonds, cashews
And lots and lots of water.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tuesday evening

It's been a funny old day. There seems to be a tummy bug doing the rounds in my class and I reckon I've picked it up. I've managed, just not been right all day. I'm going to get a very early night, I think, and, hopefully, will feel a lot brighter in the morning.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Monday evening again

Photos of the new fence and shed colour. It really does look good, I think! Apart from the compost one, they are views from outside the garden! The second one shows the original colour as well! It's going to look so good!
Message to DD - our instincts were very definitely right!

Monday evening (OK, late afternoon)

Don't children have a way of innocently putting you in your place? Today Cheeky Little Boy came bouncing up to me . . .

C L B: Mrs Clark, Mrs Clark, it was my grandad's birthday yesterday and we had a barbecue!
Me: That sounds great, I love barbecues. Did you have a good time.
C L B: Yes . . .[followed by detailed description of every bit of food eaten}. . . and my grandad did too. Guess what, Mrs Clark, he's ever so old.
Me: (thoughtlessly) Is he? How old is he? (I really should've known better after all these years of teaching)
C L B: He's SIXTY ONE, Mrs Clark!!!
Me: Ah - my goodness!

I did NOT tell him that I'm only three years off that venerable age myself!

To go with the school reports, we get every child to write something about their year. The older ones can do it excellently, sometimes producing thoughtful and perceptive comments. With the little ones it's a bit hit and miss at times, but they can also hit the nail on the head at times. The first part of the sentence is provided and they have to finish it off themselves.
Here's H's effort:
This year I have got better at . . . writing stories. (true, he has)
Next year I want to get better at . . . not talking! (how very true!!)
The thing I have liked best this year is . . . my teacher.

I found out what the hullabaloo outside the pub was - several different versions, in fact, but they all include three things.
Someone hitting someone else on the head with a hammer.
A verbal row outside that involved 'words I didn't know the meaning of'!!' (info from someone who lives just over the road so heard every glorious phrase)
So the heavy police presence complete with cars, vans and hovering helicopter was understandable. I bet they were hot in their protective armour!

Mick has started the fence and it's looking really good. It's going over the previous colour better than we thought and is not likely to need another coat. Just as well as it's eating up the paint! It might be finished tomorrow, maybe Wednesday. It will make quite a difference to the way it looks and I'm quite excited about it - I know, sad me.

Monday morning

I had an unexpected visitor last night - well, two, in fact. DD and DG came over for tea as usual. After tea they left to go home. I started watering the garden. A few minutes later DG popped his head round the back door and announced that they'd got to the end of the road and had to come back because mummy wasn't feeling very well. Poor DD, she suddenly felt very sick and, while I don't think she was actually physically sick, she was obviously unwell enough not to want to drive (or be driven anywhere). No idea what it was because DG and I were fine and we all ate the same tea, more or less.
Eventually, I drove DG over to their place, we fed and de-pooped the cats, gathered up some bed things and DGs school uniform, and came back here. Hopefully DD will have slept well and be feeling a lot better this morning!

DD helped me make up my mind - she looked carefully at my painted patches and selected the one I thought I'd go for. Great minds and all that! So it's Somerset Green fence and shed - the second from the left in yesterday's picture

There was a right kerfuffle around this way yesterday evening. Originally, I only noticed it because DD had parked outside the garage which is on a road at the back of our house. We noticed there were a number of police officers, cars, vans, etc gathering on the main road that goes alongside the road with the garage (if you see what I mean), plus a helicopter hovering above. They didn't seem to be doing anything, the road wasn't blocked, they weren't stopping traffic or anything like that . . . weird. Then, when I drove out to get DD and DG's stuff, they'd moved up the road and were all around our local, inoffensive, peaceful pub. By the time I came back, they'd all gone.
I daresay I will hear what went on - school is more or less opposite the pub and someone will know - they always do.

Food today:
B: yogurt, fruit compote, water melon and orange juice (just right for hot weather!)
L: Hummus, oatcakes, fresh fruit salad
D: sweet potato mash, turkey meat loaf, broccoli, oaty apple crumble
Snacks: Apple, pear, almonds

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sunday morning

First of all, before I forget, Diane, I have left an answer to your query about the recipe at the foot of my last post!

They say it's going to be very hot today. It was hot yesterday but there was a considerable breeze which made a big difference. With all the windows open and the fans going full pelt it was very pleasant indoors, not uncomfortable at all. It looks a lot stiller today, which, I think, is going to make a big difference to how it feels.

Well, I've been busy already. A loaf of seeded bread is cooling on the rack and the strawberry puree is in the fridge, in portions, ready to meet the freezer when next I go down to the shed. The kitchen is more or less clear - well, it isn't, but all the stuff that needed washing and putting away has been; that's clear enough for me. There's an awfully tempting shout coming from all those left over crisps, and I'm not going to have any trouble finding food for tea today, when DD and DG come over, but I'm pleased that so far I haven't nibbled, despite some severe temptation! Long may it continue.

One of yesterday's jobs was to get some matchpots and decide what colour I want Mick to use when he paints my garden fence and shed this coming week. I've decided to move away from the brown and go for green, but there's so much to choose from - see photo. At first I was inclined to the lighter colours, but I now think that will be too startling; something darker will be better. I'm very torn between the three shades on the left so I think I will have to ask DD for advice this afternoon - she's got a great eye for colour. Whichever I finally decide on, I'm quite excited about the change of colour, although I will have to see what it looks like when it's on - it may need two coats. If so, Mick will do the first coat which involves taking fence panels off to get at two sides of the shed, and then I could do a cosmetic second coat myself just on the bits that show. Of course, there's going to be a pretty pattern on the outside of the fence, where I did the trial patches, but who cares, eh? No-one will see it much!

I also managed to get some plants for the ex-barbecue, which is what the other photo is about. The two at the front should trail and the coleus (which I think is probably going to be too startling a colour, but never mind) will grow up and out at the back. I do like my garden at the moment!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Saturday morning

Last night, for the baby shower, I made some scones. After they cooled I split each one, spread butter, then topped each half with thick whipped cream, a spoonful of strawberry curd and half a strawberry. They were absolutely delicious but I've now used up my last pot of strawberry curd, which is a shame. I think I'll invest in some more strawberries while they are so tasty and not outrageously expensive, prepare the puree and then freeze it in portions. That way I could have strawberry curd all year round! There's also some whipped cream left so it's lucky the stuff freezes.

I haven't had any alcohol for quite a time now so, after yesterday evening with all its self indulgence - not only wine but also the sort of carbs that one should rarely indulge in, I'm afraid I woke up with quite a headache. It's going now, with copious amounts of water and the occasional coffee but I shudder to think what standing on the scales would show, should I be so stupid as to try!

The Wii arrived earlier, as I said before. I unpacked it all, took one look at the array of boxes, cables, wires, connectors, etc, and took it straight upstairs to the spare room. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. I have to go to B&Q this morning but this afternoon I will get it all down and see what I can do. The instructions look very clear and so many people manage to get theirs working, it can't be as difficult as it looks, surely. Fingers crossed.

I ought not to eat anything today after last night's little indulgence, but I know that's the best way to cause a right binge this evening, especially with all the sweet or crispy stuff that's left around and that's to be taken to school on Monday and put on the staffroom table. So it's back on Bodychef straight away! I'll forgo the porridge for breakfast (the oats can be used to make some more oat biccies for DD and DG tomorrow) and stick to fresh fruit, as that will NOT last until Monday.
B: Fresh fruit salad
L: crudites, ryvita and shredded chicken spread.
D. Salmon steak, sweet and sour red cabbage, new potatoes, fresh fruit platter
Snacks: pineapple and mango, apple

The dinner is actually last night's dinner, but tonight's scheduled main is something that will freeze well.

I do like this Superfoods plan. There's a lot more fruit that the Low Carb plan (well, there would be) but a wider variety than the Premier plan with its focus on meat. I've ordered another fortnight's supply, but must think carefully about the summer holiday and what I intend to do then.

Photo: early morning view across the garden

Friday, 25 June 2010

Friday evening - after the baby shower

What a simply lovely evening. Loads of friends here, loads of laughing and talking, masses of food, quite a lot of which, unfortunately, now resides in my fridge in the hopes that it will last until Monday when I can take it into school for the staff to demolish! You know, one of the things teachers complain about is that children nowadays don't listen to and follow through on instructions.
On the invite letter it said 'finger food only - just a very small amount'. Somehow, those bits of info didn't quite filter through. Never mind, it's a minor problem and the only impact is possibly to be on my weight loss!

Hannah had loads of pressies, so many cute and 'aaaaah-factor' things, t0 the extend that she probably won't need to wash anything for the first three months. I made an absolute fool of myself because I thought she'd opened all the pressies so made my little speech, only to find that there was another pile she hadn't got to!
Never mind, par for the course really!

A number of people said that it was good of me to offer my house for the shower party. I don't agree. I only have the wonderful space because of the fantastic generosity of my parents. There's no way I could have afforded any kind of extension, let alone the amazing one I now have, without their kindness and unselfishness. I would be failing them badly if I didn't use it in a way that involves sharing with others at times.

On one of the OUSA forums there has been a pretty heated debate about second homes and whether they are 'right' or not. The view was expressed that those with more than one home should hand that 'second' home over to the homeless - whether voluntarily or compulsorily was not made clear and the debate continues! My personal and not so specific feeling is that generous loving-kindness almost always begats a similar feeling in the recipient, however it shows itself. It's not compulsion or legalism, it's an emotion that flows straight from the 'heart'. It may be more blessed to give than receive - my own experience is that receivers often then turn into givers - and so it goes on like an ever flowing stream.

And I must remember to turn the alarm clock off when I go to bed! After all, tomorrow is Saturday! Yay!

Friday morning

The living room is tidy and clean. The tables are ready to receive the food and drinks. The garden looks as nice as it's ever going to look. The mess in the kitchen is superficial and easily sorted. The downstairs loo is clean. I think I'm more or less ready for the baby shower this evening. Not that I think many would mind if it was a bit of a mess, but I would.

Today is the last performance of Jack and the Beanstalk, with Liz's class taking the leading roles this time. I think we'll be glad when it's all over - it's all wearing a bit thin now. Then Liz can tick off one more Last Thing on her list.

I got an email last night to say the wallflowers are on their way. With any luck they will arrive today - they ought to, considering the cost of the postage. If they do, I'll get the leggy one out and put them in before everyone arrives this evening. The more I look at it, the more out of place it now looks and I'll be glad when it's replaced. I might get it out anyway, thinking about it. Perhaps the gap is preferable!

The rest of the day is pretty predictable really. I've told the little dears they're writing a story. No formal planning, no story prompts, no imposed structure, just writing a story. The look on their collective faces was very funny. Some looked utterly shocked with a how-could-you-do-this-to-me expression. Some looked really excited. Some looked resigned in a so-that's-what-you're-throwing-at-us-now way. A very few looked baffled. And Sociable Little Boy came up to me afterwards to express his pleasure and to take the next five minutes excitedly outlining his plot in great detail. Can't remember what maths is, but I have vague memory of arrays and multilink cubes. Better check, I suppose.

Food today: well, this evening will be completely over the top, of course. Everyone's bringing finger food. I asked for just a little, but I know there will be far too much! Bodychef will have to take a back seat; I will rearrange the main meals and freeze one that is freezable. I think it will be either the vegetable curry or the spicy beef.
B: Bran flakes, pear
L: cannellini spread (whatever that is); ryvita; cherry tomatoes; apple
D: Goodness only knows. I'm baking some scones and serving them with thick cream, strawberry curd and a fresh strawberry on top. Should look and taste nice.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Thursday morning

Today is going to be one of those non-days that occur every now and again, I suspect. We'll be busy but not a lot will get done.

First of all we (Liz and I) are taking both classes out for athletics (aka sports day practice). That will take us up to assembly. After assembly its getting changed and fruit. After playtime most will be finishing off their literacy and those who have finished will be permitted to go along to the ICT room where Petrina will rule! After dinner it's another rehearsal for tomorrow's show, with Liz's class taking the lead roles and mine being backing singers. And that's the day gone, more or less!!

As you can see in the photo, my last remaining perennial wallflower has reached the end of its life, being now way too long, lanky and woody for any claim to beauty. They've been wonderful, so I've done a search and ordered two replacement plants at what seems to be a horrific cost. I'm hoping they will arrive fairly soon so I can get them in and started off, in the same place. I've had four or five years of beauty from the three that were originally planted; the other two came out earlier this year as they weren't sending up any flowers worth speaking of. I looked up pruning and so on and the advice seems to be that you really can't and it's best to replace. so I am.

The food stuff today is:
B: fresh fruit platter. It should also be pumpkin seeds but I'm not all that fond of them so won't bother with them.
L: oatcakes; hummus; beetroot; grapes
D: rich, red chicken with rosemary and cherry tomatoes; new potatoes; broccoli; rhubarb and strawberry compote with yogurt (probably frozen into an ice cream)
I seem to have lost two stone now, so that's encouraging.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Wednesday late afternoon.

No, I have no idea how England has done . . .

It's been a really good day.This morning it was the Jack and the Beanstalk assembly and the children were absolutely brilliant! It was one of those memorable assemblies that people talk about for ages afterwards. 'Do you remember when . . . ?' - that sort of thing.

And then, this afternoon, I had a science lesson observed and it went really well too. I'm sure it will be graded good, maybe, if I'm very. very lucky, it will be graded higher than that. We will see!

After my early start I am very, very tired, but must stay awake until a reasonable time or I will just have the same problem all over again!

Rather early on Wednesday morning.

I'm having a science lesson observed today as part of the monitoring cycle for subject coordinators. The teacher concerned is glad/grateful (if that's the right word) that someone was happy(ish - I put on a good act) to be observed for a one off lesson; most of us have finished our science themes for the year now so this is planned in specially. It's not going to be a problem and for once I am not worried about it. My class are responsive and cooperative, I know the subject matter, I've taught it before . . .
So why, oh why, have I spent a good part of the night awake and thinking through it all? I always do this before an observation and it's perfectly ridiculous! One of several daft habits I wish I could eliminate, but how do you get to sleep when your mind is racing and your body is raring to be up and doing? I suppose it's that fight or flight reaction. It may have saved a few lives back in dinosaur times, but right now it's a pain in the bum!

As a slight compensation, it gives me some time this morning to get the living room tidied and ready for the baby shower do here on Friday evening. It's not a real mess for once, but it could do with some - er - household management! Thanks to George, the garden is ready and waiting (so it had better not rain)!
This one should be easy. I've bought plastic cups and paper plates, it's strictly finger food only, everyone's bringing a little something-to-eat, something to drink and, not compulsory, a gift for the mum to be. It's timed for 7 to 8:30 as not only she, but also most of us, are very tired at the moment.

Thankfully, staff meeting has been cancelled this evening. The head is away on a three day course so that's the reason; nothing to do with any football match that might be played at the same time - dear me, no, what a thought, the very idea, as if we would, etc, etc, etc. Well, here's someone who won't be watching! I will be able to come home early and do a wee bit more housework so I won't be too ashamed on Friday evening. Excellent!

As well as getting the observation over and done, today is the day my class puts on our performance of Jack and the Beanstalk. Regular readers may just possibly remember me talking about it last year when we just did the songs and let the backing CD tell the story.
as the Foundation stage class walked out at the end, one or two were overheard to say that they wanted to sing those songs too. Well, now they are!
This time we're just using the accompaniment tracks (no vocal lead) and the children are singing, acting and playing percussion. A much more complicated thing altogether and something they're doing really very well indeed.

I've ordered a Wii!!
I know it's hardly breaking news in the wider scheme of things but, for a techno-twit like me, this is mega-stuff! It's on its way and I just hope I can sort out what to do with it when it arrives. With the long holiday coming up, I will have time to play with it and really get to grips with it - that's the idea anyway. Hopefully it won't end up as a Christmas present for DG!!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Tuesday evening

. . . and it's been a good day.

I had a meeting that was extremely useful.
Had a great Infant singing session.
Got a referral done, to the school paediatric services.
Finished an appendix B which can probably be sent off tomorrow.
Finished some Annual Review paperwork with an associated lucky mistake.
Had a successful final rehearsal for our Jack and the Beanstalk performance tomorrow.
AND stuck to the menu!

The lucky mistake was that we'd originally set the annual review date for today but changed it because someone crucial couldn't come. It was re-set to next Tuesday instead. I wrote to one of the specialist support teachers advising her of the change but she didn't get the letter (it could be stuck in someone else's cubby hole somewhere). However, we'd got bogged down in a bit of a rut with the target setting and R was able to lift us out of it and give us great advice in several key areas.

And when I got home, there was George, doing his bit towards keeping the garden looking lovely.

So definitely a good day.

Tuesday morning

It looks as if it's going to be a very fine day today. The sun is showing and, while it's cold, it should warm up quickly. Here's hoping!

Yesterday was one of those days where nothing seemed to happen, despite lots of work. After reading revelry and phonics, we only had time to have a quick run through of our assembly for Wednesday before it was Infant Assembly. Then they started on their literacy but didn't have time to do much. After play, we did maths, but they were so interested in the first bit, we didn't get to the individual stuff, so that's carried over until today.
The afternoon was better, I guess, but all together the day was a bit frustrating! It doesn't help that everyone is slowing down considerable, a number of the children are suffering from pollen and are tending to grump and grouch and there's just so much to do that seems somewhat irrelevant.

After school we had a key stage meeting and that was better - we managed to get the stock order done for next year - always a bit of a job - and also to go through sports day. We fixed the date of the summer barbecue, briefly discussed reports and generally got a lot done.

And it's SEN day today, so someone else will have to pick up the pieces! Sorry, Faith!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Monday morning

. . . and off to work we go again. Less than five weeks now as the last day is a Thursday. What with one thing and another, the timetable is rapidly disintegrating and things like hall sessions have been wiped off the map in order to make space for KS2 rehearsals. Liz and I need time to rehearse for our own mini-show, to be performed this week (which we have -Mandy has been fantastic at giving us the hall time we need), which is more time out of class. Going over my planning this morning, I really do have doubts that we will get much of it done at all, to be honest!

Those oat and raisin cookies made yesterday - well, I can thoroughly recommend them! They were gorgeous, the only disadvantage being that they are 150 calories (if you get twelve out of the mixture); I checked using the incomparable Weight Loss Resources site. Ooops and double ooops. They do spread a lot while baking, so maybe they could be smaller - I'll have to try.
They really do have that 'expensive biscuit' taste about them so I have decided that they will be my gift to all the lovely parents who have helped this year, one way or another. This means over the next few Sundays I will have to investigate variations. Half or even quarter amounts and things like maybe cranberries or choc chips instead of raisins, adding some chopped almonds - that sort of thing. I'm sure DD and DG will be more than happy to help out with the tasting thereof!

Apart from all those culinary frolics yesterday, I also managed to get the shed properly sorted at last! As a result, the garden is also more spick and span. In the shed I found an old, manky, rusty barbecue. I put the small parts in the bin, then looked thoughtfully at the main part. It's a very small, simple, spherical one, with wheels at the front so you can push it round like a wheelbarrow. Inspiration struck - I filled the body with potting soil and, lo and behold, a planter! I will now have to get some trailing stuff to go in, so it's back to the garden centre at some point - such hardship.
I managed to bung some carrot seeds and salad leaf seeds in a couple of other pots too. Hopefully they will grow, although with my history maybe they will peep out, take a look round and decide to stay in bed! Couldn't blame them if they did!

Photo: The barbec . . . I mean new planter! (and yes, the shed is being re-done in the next month. Why do these things always look so much worse in a photo?)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Oat and raisin cookies

One of the few problems with Bodychef is that when you have visitors, you don't have much to offer in the way of tea-like stuff. So each Sunday I have a minor wibble about what I can provide when DD and DG come over. It's really inspired me to look further afield to find simple stuff that can be cooked within some very specific limits. For example, I don't have eggs in at the moment so cakes, etc, are challenging. I have to find something acceptable for both DG, a nearly-teenager with a very healthy appetite, and DD, who is vegetarian. And I have my Bodychef meal. I'd eat the same as them, but my tea has been paid for already!

Today I had some leftover grated cheese from the pizzas, so I zizzed it down to very fine bits, then added some butter, mayo, chives and smoked paprika to make a rather nice cheese spread that ought to be robust enough to go well on the seeded rolls made this morning. Then I googled and came up with a very simple recipe for cookies that takes next to no time at all, really easy and the results taste delicious. The recipe is here and I made it without the egg that is not in the written instructions but can be seen in the accompanying video. With the oats and the raisins, one can fool oneself that it's a bit healthy and good for you. DD will have to take the remains with her, plus the rolls and the cheese spread. DG can have some in his packed dinners this week.

So, another busy day, but a most creative and satisfying one.

Photo: the cookies. Don't they look scrummy?

Yummy seeded rolls

A photo entry, more or less this time.

The risen dough. An ordinary wholemeal, mixed and kneaded in the processor, with added seeds - linseeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

A close up of the risen dough, just before I gleefully knocked it back - one of my favourite bits!

The rolls, shaped and seeded, ready to cover with a damp cloth to prove before baking.

The rolls just put in the oven

And finally, the rolls just out of the oven! They smell good too.

Sunday morning

What a wash-out it was yesterday. I turned up at the school just before the fair was due to open and it was spitting with rain then. During the ninety minutes I was on duty at the ping pong stall, we had three very heavy, short showers which sent everyone hot-foot to shelter under the trees, some clutching their cash boxes to them like lost-and-just-found teddies! As I left, it had just started again. It was so damp and chilly that my toes had started cramping, as they do sometimes. I should have worn tights and warm shoes, but this is flaming June, for goodness sakes!

It was a very great shame because lots of people work very, very hard to get these occasions off the ground and running smoothly, and I doubt we'd have raised even half of what we raised last year. Usually people are queueing to get in at the start; yesterday they were coming in dribs and drabs.
Most disappointing.

When I got home, I had lunch and then sat down in front of the telly to watch that old film 'Murder on the Orient Express' . . . the heating clicked in at some point (yes, it was that cold) and I went to sleep, waking just in time for the climax of the film. It's lucky I've seen it rather a large number of times already!

Before the fair, I'd managed to get into town. I go in so rarely that every time I do get in, I find something has changed. This time I found the interior of Wilkinsons was completely different. I had popped in there to get some paper plates and plastic cups for Friday and stayed to have a good wander round. It's a good place for bits and bobs, in this case a dustpan and brush and a long handled stiff bristled brush for outdoor sweeping! The best buy was some seeds. Remember a short while ago I said about being given some cut-and-come-again salad leaves? I read up about it and it said that they last for three or four pickings. Right, thought I, better sow some more seeds. Wilco had three packets of mixed salad leaves for £1.50 - a single bag of leaves from Morrisons can cost nearly that! I know I'm not the most green fingered person in the world, but even I can try this, I reckon!

And yes, in Lakeland I succumbed and bought the tea cosy owl. He is so cute and has such a worried look on his face. Fair enough - I would too, if I knew that every now and again someone was going to shove a boiling hot teapot up my bum!
The other thing I was majorly looking for was a little something for the baby shower round here next Friday evening. I looked and looked but there was very little that I thought appropriate. Lots of girly or boy stuff (don't know what the baby's sex is, don't know whether the mother knows either), lots of useful sleep suits, etc with horrid cartoon characters in plastic that melts when it is ironed and anyway strikes hot on the skin, plenty of overpriced soft toys . . . I struggled to find anything but ended up with three beige 'wrap and dry' towels which will always be useful (and can be used as cleaning cloths in years to come).
So, that was yesterday - I said it was a busy day but didn't count on falling asleep for much of the afternoon! Today I am determined to get the shed sorted. DD helped me move all the necessary stuff from the shed to the garage (thanks, much appreciated) so now there's room to swing a cat in the shed (although why one should want to so mistreat an innocent cat I have no idea!) and I shouldn't have too much hassle getting things straight. Then there's the housework I didn't do yesterday. I'm going to make some bread rolls rather than a loaf for tea - I will cheat and use the processor for the dough - and add various seeds as we all like seeded rolls.
Food today is:
B: Cheese on toast; blueberries. I might add some strawberries, use some of the daily milk allowance and make a smoothie.
D: chicken and wine casserole; cabbage; melon and grape medley
T: salad with feta and tuna
At some point I have to start weaning myself off Bodychef and try to manage myself. Not right now though: I come in from school so tired that it's a real blessing to have everything there and ready. But with the summer holiday coming up, I really could start working out my own menus in the style of . . .
And I'm looking forward to doing some cooking for myself.
I seem to have gone on rather today . . . better go and get started; dough first, then bath and dressed, then brekkie, then out to the shed!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Saturday morning

. . . and not really a day for resting!
This morning I need to go into town to get a number of bits and bobs including a gift and card for a baby shower and to look at a tea cosy I rather covet, being a bit of an owl collector.

After then it's in to school at about 11:30, firstly to send the planning to myself (I forgot yesterday) and then to help out with the June Fair. I will be having groovy fun on the 'throw a ping pong ball into a jar' competition stall - mutter, mutter!
After that it's hope for the usual housework, washing, ironing, etc.
No reports though - yay!!

Yesterday was just another day really. We had a fierce rehearsal for Jack and the Beanstalk after play. It's going well and should be ready by Wednesday. That'll be the last family assembly of the year, thank goodness. These assemblies are seen as a Good Thing but, for the little ones, it takes a lot of preparation. This time it's the results of our music lessons and links nicely to our theme, but the organisation of it seems to take for ever sometimes.

Today's food looks yum, but I'm not sure when I will have time for reasonable meals; it's all going to be a bit sixes and sevens.
B: Vanilla yogurt with strawberries (I'm going to freeze this and make a soft ice); water melon (an extra to Bodychef, because it was on special at Morrisons)
L: chicken, coleslaw and salad
D: African chicken stew, broccoli; pineapple and lemon cheesecake
Now all I need to do is resist the tempting aromas of the hot dog and burger stall and the candy floss machine! All three 'foods' smell a lot better than they taste, don't they?

Friday, 18 June 2010

Friday morning

. . . and it's PPA time again this morning. The timetable is gradually getting more and more chaotic as the end of year stuff swings into action. Before then, year 1 has its performance of Jack and the Beanstalk to give, next Wednesday and Friday in our respective family assemblies. At the moment, getting the hall to practice is more than a little bit hairy, as the juniors have more or less taken it over for their show rehearsals. As a result of all the other stuff already impacting, a lot of what was planned this week hasn't happened and I suspect that today's planning will more or less be a case of slotting the unfinished work from this week into next week's template. Just five weeks to go now!

I got the reports back yesterday, all nicely read, commented and signed by Susannah. I now just have to sign them myself. Only one mistake too. This really is the year of firsts. First in, first back and the first time there's only been one mistake - and that was a double hit - a comma and a full stop next to each other. DD did a magnificent job of proof reading this year. Yay!! Another thing to plan in for next week - the pupil comments. That's a right palaver one way and another too!

Going back to the dried mint, I just wonder whether I left the leaves in the dehydrator for too long and 'burnt' it. As I seem to have plenty of mint to play with right now, I might have another go when I have an hour or so and keep a closer eye on it.

FS and KS1 was collectively a bit naughty in assembly yesterday, so much so that we (the teacher in charge of the assembly and I) had them all back in the hall at playtime to -er - discuss it. It's very difficult not to laugh when one is looking at six rows of little children, each with a 'wasn't-me-see-my-halo' look on their faces, legs perfectly crossed, one hand in lap, the other with index finger perfectly poised on lips to emphasise the point.
We will see next week, won't we?

Photo of nice rosemary in back garden. Nothing special, I just like the photo for some reason! The other leaves on the left come from one solitary carrot which comes from goodness knows where. I certainly didn't plant it! Must get round to planting some though - the pots are all ready.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Thursday morning

Yesterday was just one of those lovely days when nothing particularly remarkably happened but everything just went so beautifully. The weather helped, of course. Sunny, breezy, not too hot but no chill whatsoever - just perfect. Long may it continue!

Some readers may remember that a while ago I wittered on about dehydrating some mint as my pot has an over abundance of the stuff at the moment. Well, I tried (it made the house smell very minty) but, sad to report, it wasn't a success. What I ended up with was a pile of not terribly nice smelling leaf bits which have just been placed on the compost heap. So plan 2 is that I will freeze them instead. That's easy - you just freeze the leaves whole and they crush into bits when they are frozen. No chopping, no losing some of the oil in the process, no mess. In fact, I think I will do the same with the parsley and thyme too, not to mention the chives. Maybe also the sage as the leaves do seem tougher and more 'ragged' in the winter, but no need to freeze the bay leaves or the rosemary as they produce all year round.
I was delighted to notice the other day that in the walk-through behind my garden, clustered around one of the gate pillars, there is a very healthy looking clump of mint. I have no idea how it got there, it wasn't there last year, but who's complaining? Not me! I need shed loads of the stuff when I make apple mint jelly and this way I can make sure there's enough stored away beforehand. There's another clump in the path at the side of the garden, but that seems to have migrated from next-door's garden so I'm not sure about harvesting that!

Food today is yum:
B: fruit platter; strawberry yogurt
L: salad with flaked tuna
D: chicken fricassee; broccoli; carrots; cranberry oat cookie
All just right for an early summer day!
1. My birthday strawberries, sending forth a few each day at the moment and beginning to send out runners, so I have to find out what I do with them!
2. The unexpected mint!
And, having just gone out to snap them, the sneezing has started - drat!!!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Ooops, missed another blog. So sorry to anyone who looked yesterday expecting a new entry. It seems I'm busier now than I was before the reports were finished!!

Head told me I'd won the Race of the Reports. LOL - didn't realise there was a race, but it seems I handed mine in first. So that's a First Time Ever for me. I don't mind one way or another about that, but it's nice to have the pressure off and, from Susannah's point of view, it gives her more time to do her bit.
Apart from that, yesterday was SEN day and I thought I had a meeting first thing - turns out it's next week, not this, so I still have that to look forward to. Then I worked on some annual review paperwork and got as far as I could with that. Finally, Sheila and I broke the back of an appendix B for a statement, a piece of paperwork I always hate writing as usually, by the time we get to that point we've tried everything, got to the end of our own resources and really don't know what we can try next, so asking us for long term targets and strategies is a bit daft! Several times we felt like typing, in capital letters, 'WE DON'T KNOW!!'

The only other thing of note was a visit from two bods from the DfE (or whatever it calls itself now - I can't keep up with all the name changes). The were here to look at our provision for able, gifted and talented children, not just the 'special' provision we offer, but also how they are taught from day to day, the systems we use for identification, targets we set in our planning and so on, blah, blah.
It turns out they are putting together a booklet with some 'vignettes' (horrid word) and case histories of a range of best practises in schools that have been identified as making good G&T provision. So there you are - I thought we were simply making sure our teaching matched the needs of each child in our class, using the strategies, resources and methods at our disposal. Don't most teachers try to do that as a matter of course, without making any song or dance about it? I reckon so!

Today's nosh:
B: Smoked salmon with soft cheese in a wholemeal roll
L: chicken strips with a chick pea, lime and coriander salad
D: Salmon steak on a warm puy lentil and tomato salad; brownie
Snacks will be fruit only

That's it really, apart from expressing a hope for good weather today as we are going on a bear hunt - er, I mean a plant hunt - today and could do without rain!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Monday evening and another busy day.

A good one though. One of those days where you feel you've really got somewhere.

To start with there was a Battle of the Printers - several of us all wanting to print out our reports which consequently got all muddled. Luckily K, our ICT technician, was on hand to sort out the print-outs. My reports were handed to the head who now has to read them, correct any remaining mistakes, sign them, make a comment on each and get them back to us - all 14 classes, 29 in each class.
Much as I dislike writing them, I'd hate her job even more!!

Then it was pizza morning. We had a great time making pizza dough which was fun, messy, rose very dramatically (children were impressed) and then they all made a mini-pizza for themselves. They looked and smelled wonderful and they disappeared in short order (the pizzas, not the children). We adults wished we'd made one for ourselves too. I was very lucky - I had Petrina, my TA, of course, but Debbie, a mum who changes the reading books on Monday, said she could stay behind and help, so those pizzas got made a lot faster than they would otherwise have.
Fresh pizza dough is absolutely delicious. Why I buy pizzas I will never know - they're not a patch on the fresh variety. One little girl, who declared that she hated pizzas, wolfed hers down and wanted more. It makes a difference when you make it yourself, doesn't it?

While the dough was rising, I had a mini maths lesson observed. Annelie had tried to find me on Friday after school to warn me, but I did an early runner to get on with reports. Actually, I'm glad she didn't find me - I always worry so much about observations and would have had a sleepless night last night.

So what did I go and do after school but offer - yes, offer - to do a one off science lesson for the science coordinator, who needs to observe a science lesson but finds that everyone, like us in year 1, has finished the science for the year. I must be totally NUTS!!!! Mind you, Mel HAS to be nice to me in her feedback, doesn't she? Anything else would be sheer ingratitude! Wouldn't it?

And one more Good Thing - Liz, my year 1 colleague, offered to enter my levelling into Target Tracker for me tonight. What a sweetie!! Thanks, Liz!

So, you see, a busy day but a very nice one!

Monday morning

Well, the reports are all ready to go in, having been read through and corrected by DD and then reprinted (those that needed it). It's so easy to miss the extra or unnecessary comma, the word space that was put in one letter too early, the sentences that is too much jargon or simply doesn't quite make sense.
It's a huge relief.

I finally gave in yesterday. The ears, eyes and throat started tickling madly, I was all bunged up and my skin was starting to itch too. So down went a swig of piriton which solved the problem. I'd love to be able to say I must be allergic to report writing and so must never, ever do any again because of the danger of anaphylactic shock, but the truth is it's common or garden hay fever, no more, no less.
I try not to succumb to piriton. It does make me feel sleepy which is not a Good Idea when one is responsible for a class of five and six year olds. I'll have to save it for straight after school and than my lucky stars I don't have to do morning play this week!

I had a go at making strawberry curd and it came out really rather nicely. It made a very soft curd which would be delicious on ice cream, scones and the like. The better the strawberries, the nicer the curd will be - the ones I used were OK but not the best I've ever tasted. The problem is, really scrummy strawberries would all be eaten fresh!

When DD and DG came round yesterday, they brought me a pot of cut-and-come-again salad leaves. The idea is that I can pick from the pot all summer and fresh leaves will grow. Wonderful idea - what a fantastic little gift! Thanks very much.

Food today:
B: fruit salad; yogurt
L: coronation chicken; cherry toms; salad
D: Salmon steak; salad; grapefruit and orange salad
It's all gone a bit doolally during this week so MUST get back on track!

Photo: The salad leaves.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sunday morning and those reports . . .

. . . are . . .

Phew, thank goodness, life can start again!
I had just six to finish today and they seemed to take for ever. I started feeling trapped, tense, frustrated - horrible feeling, but never mind, all done now. Now life can continue.

For the rest of the day I have some planning to sort out, quite a lot of housework/tidying, etc, a garden shed to finish tidying and some washing to get done. I've just released a lovely wholemeal seeded loaf from the breadmaker for DD and DG's tea this afternoon so the house is smelling wonderful right now. Later on I fancy having a go and some strawberry curd: I found the recipe in a magazine, so I guess it will be a F M C!

Photos: A few shots from in the garden, which is still looking nice, thanks to George's ministrations, bless him.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Reports, reports, reports!


This week has been a really lovely one. The children have loved the work on Italy and the football based stuff. It'll be a long time before I forget the sight of the little year ones from Liz's class in the lower school football semi-final, valiantly battling a very good year 3 team and getting thoroughly thrashed in the process. They didn't give up, they didn't stop running, they were there, they were fantastic. I think the year threes were a bit embarrassed at times, but not the wonderful Ash Ones! No way! Liz and I cheered them on all we could (yes, we made fools of ourselves, but who cares) and afterwards they were treated as heroes with house points and smelly stickers all round! I hope they remember that more than their defeat.

I wish we could have weeks like this more often, but the 'need' to plan, to produce medium term and long term stuff tends to fight against such spontaneity. Such a shame.

Never mind - Monday is still going to be part of it - we're going to make REAL pizzas (well, real pizza dough, anyway - the sauce will still be out of a jar) AND each child will make their own mini pizza with their choice of topping from a selection. Fun, fun, fun! And the school won't half smell delicious too!

Apart from reports, this weekend is herb dehydration weekend. I've just snipped back my indoor mint which was threatening to take over the whole kitchen and the leaves are now in the dehydrator, making the whole house smell minty. Tomorrow it's the turn of the sage bush! DD tells me she will help by taking some of the results off my hands! How truly kind.

Oh well, back to the old reports! They're a bit like TMAs - they produce the urge to go and do far more interesting stuff like washing the kitchen floor and ironing the socks but I must not give way to temptation, I really must not!

See you later!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Friday morning

Apologies for the non-appearance of the blog yesterday. At the moment the pressing and overwhelming need is to get those perishing end of year reports done and other stuff is taking second place (most of the time).
I'm well on the way with then, know what to say, it's just getting it all typed in that takes the time. They have to be in by next Friday, and they will be done before then - so must get back to them now . . .

Have a good day, one and all!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Wednesday evening

Operation Clampdown started this morning - and met with some conspicuous success. Mind you, I'm not kidding myself that we're out of the wood yet - strict is the order of the day for several days to come, until certain little individuals realise that the boundaries are pretty close right now!

It was just as well because today had great potential for rumpus, being Pizza Day. Ordering instructions, a pizza maths investigation and a cheese preference tasting activity all caused great satisfaction - especially the pizza tasting at the end of the day. Mind you, they all preferred red Leicester on their pizzas and I guess that was mostly down to the nice colour!
There was a wonderful smell wafting around the school from the cookery room as the pizzas cooked and, as we're all open plan, folk started to feel pretty hungry - and that just the teachers!

And now they want to go one step further and make their pizza dough from scratch - flour, yeast, oil - the lot. Maybe next week!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Tuesday evening

And oh, my goodness, they were noisy again today, and rather naughty. I wasn't teaching them today, it's my SEN day, but I was working just outside the bay (which is open on one side) and it took all the self control I had not to jump up and get stuck in! However, that would have been very undermining, so I didn't, but they're going to know ALL about it tomorrow, and some! Little toads!!

I had a bit of a panic this morning. Admittedly, I was up very early (around 3:00) but I checked under the box for the new food hamper and IT WASN'T THERE!!! Sulks and whines all round, including an email to the lady who runs the company! So I concocted a not terribly ideal breakfast from stuff left over in the fridge and some lunch ditto, then went up to have my bath. When I got back down again, lo and behold, it had been delivered. So I have some stuff left over (or I will) but it's all back on track now. So no info about food today!
It's nice to know others start their day as idiotically early as I do!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Monday evening

I was right - it's been a grand day! Interesting how terribly LOUD the children seemed to be. I reckon my in-the-ear hearing aid had been going kaput for quite a while now and I've been struggling on, not actually realising. Thank goodness for that hoarding instinct - I'd be stuck without my old, behind the ear one at the moment.

This afternoon we pretended the Italian Football Team manager had contacted me to ask if we could design a new football shirt using the Italian flag colours. Once we'd got past the inevitable 'what do we do about the white, Mrs Clark?' type questions, they worked really hard and the end results were amazing! So amazing that after school and a senior management meeting I laminated them all.

This morning we collected some data within KS1 on 'favourite Italian meals'. Little Boy who lives Next Door But One got extremely red in the face trying to get over to me what he meant.
L B N D B O: Something-unintelligible
Me: Sorry? (Looking puzzled)
L B N D B O: Piss-something-equally-unintelligible
Me: Er . . . (realising he really wasn't being rude)
L B N D B O: Piss . . . piss . . . pisskhetti!
Me: Ah. Gotcha. (trying very hard not to laugh). You mean spaghetti!
L B N D B O: Yes, that's right. Pisskhetti!!

At least he was right (sort of), unlike another Little Boy who tried to persuade me that croissants was a yummy Italian breakfast!

Most of them haven't knowingly tasted olives, so this evening I popped over to Morrisons and bought a jar! It should be interesting!

At lunchtime, my two eight a side football teams had their first matches in the Newlands Spring World Cup. Lime 1 got knocked out, Lime 2 progressed to the next round. J, the teacher organising, said it was 'interesting'. I think I know what he meant!!!

Monday morning and back to school.

It's World Cup Week!

No, not that World Cup: I intend to ignore that one as much as possible. It's World Cup Week at school and we have abandoned the normal planning for a week to focus on something different. Each year group has a country - year 1's is Italy - and the week's work will revolve around that country. It's going to be fun as well as interesting. Wednesday, for example, is Pizza Day! We're going to learn how to make Pizzas, do a maths investigation about pizza prices, test different cheese toppings for pizzas (involving a bit of cooking and eating, of course) . . . great fun indeed!
Today is marginally less interesting - an introduction and comprehension, some data work on favourite Italian food and designing and painting a football shirt for the Italian team. They might even have the chance to make their own flag of Italy.

It's all go, innit?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The very last day of the half term break, aka Sunday morning

Yesterday ended up quite a busy day, one way and another, which was nice. I started off using some berry compote and some extra strawberries to make a sorbet which went into the freezer pretty quick! Then I went into school and did the necessary, which took longer than I expected (doesn't it always) because I found that the spare clothes boxes had been left in an awful mess by someone. This is something I started off about a year ago and involves boxes of spare PE kit , knickers, pants and uniform, donated by parents as their child outgrows them (NOT snaffled from lost property, I hasten to add).

After that, I came home and had some lunch, then sat down and started knitting. One of our LSAs is going on maternity leave at the end of this month and we're having a baby shower for her. I'm knitting a little jumper which will/should be the right size as the days start getting cooler. It's tiny, so tiny I got the back and half the front done yesterday . . .
Anyway, then I decided to go out and cut back some ivy that is stopping the back gate from opening properly. It was worse than I thought and took for ever, especially the clearing up. My brown bin is full and won't be collected until a week on Monday, so I chopped all the trimmings into small bits to fit into a green bin bag until there's room in the brown bin. As I sat, methodically snip, snip, snipping (thankful that I'd bought some new secateurs), it got darker and darker and windier and windier and literally just as I tied the last bag, having swept up the remnants of leaves, twigs, etc, the heavens opened and it poured. How's that for luck, eh?
So I came back in and got on with some more knitting, then did some ironing . . . and that was it really. The sort of day I will generally spend when retired, I suspect - not the going into school stuff, the pottering around doing normal, everyday, household stuff.

As a result of the joint ministration of George and me, the garden is now looking rather nice. It'll never be a super garden, not like Mum and Dad's, but it's now the sort of place in which I like to sit and enjoy. One of my bushes is an independent free spirit though. I think it believes it's a tree and, much as I admire its ambitious nature, I'm afraid that come the autumn (I think it's autumn) it's gonna get chopped right back. Shame, but there you go! That's bush life for you.

Bodychef today is:
B: Cheese on toast; blueberries
D: Chicken and wine casserole, cabbage, carrots; melon and grape medley
T: tuna and cucumber mix; chopped mixed salad; mixed salad leaves; feta cheese; caesar dressing
Snacks: sunflower seeds and almonds
That's that I should be having. In reality, I'm swapping today's tea for tomorrow's lunch, because it makes more sense, which means I will be having hummus, oatcakes and carrot sticks today and the tuna/feta/etc tomorrow. Also I'm sharing out today's and tomorrow's vegetables so instead of a huge portion of cabbage today and a huge portions of broccoli tomorrow, I'm having a smaller amount of each, each day.
Also, I had some fruit fool and some cherry yogurt left over from last week so I've churned that into ice cream and DD, DG and I will have a small helping each for tea, with the breakfast blueberries sprinkled over.
Creativity rules!! Or maybe it is just plain common sense.

Photos: A view of the garden and the bush that thinks it's a tree!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Look what I've got!

For my birthday, over a month ago, DD gave me a tub containing four strawberry plants. It's been sitting in my garden, through the late frosts, rain and sun. And look!!! A strawberry! LOL - well, actually, a number of them but one ripe one which I will ceremoniously pick and eat at some point.

Interestingly, the snails haven't found the pot yet. Is it because they are presently too busy gorging themselves on the hostas the other side of the garden or, maybe, is it because the strawberry pot is close to a good sized sage bush and they don't like sage? I've noticed that they keep away from the other flowerbed with sage in too. Must Google and see if I can find out. They obviously don't worry too much about rosemary, thyme or chives, because that's where the hostas are and they get nibbled to death!

One of the sage bushes.

Anyway - that's my first ever strawberry, I think, so worth celebrating with an extra blog and some pictures.
Edit: I've googled and it appears that not only does sage repel slugs (so I'd have thought also snails) but also it is beneficial to grow strawberries near sage! Seems I've hit on a bit of gardening wisdom without realising.
I was going to move the pot elsewhere in the garden but I don't think I will now!
And I must cut the sage back - anyone want some dried sage?

Saturday morning

. . . but, for some reason, I keep thinking that it's Sunday morning. I'm very glad it isn't, because I need to get into school this morning and I will have to go through the library to get in. We're very fortunate in that the local library is under the same roof as the school with a shared kitchen and staffroom, so as long as the library is open we can get in.
I won't be in for very long now that I have decided to keep the same display background up, but I do have to get a bit of tidying up and general paperwork done. Then it's over the road to Morrisons to get a cheap blank ink cartridge for the printer and home again. After that it's reports, planning, preparation and so on! back on the work bandwagon, but only half a term until the summer break, yay!!

It's a glorious day outside, so I'm hoping there will be some time to sit in the shade and relax with one of the new foodie magazines I bought a few days ago. Maybe if it gets very hot this afternoon - that would be nice.

When it gets hot I'm thankful that, at the moment, I don't have to stew over a hot stove for all that long. The food today is:
B: Vanilla yogurt with strawberries
L: Chicken; coleslaw; mixed salad (and I will add some of my own salad dressing because I like it!)
D: Something called Flat Belly African Chicken Stew (no, I have no idea what is is either but I bet it won;t work magic on mine!!!); a large portion of broccoli; pineapple and lemon cheesecake (looks rather nice)
Snacks: cheese; cashew nuts

Friday, 4 June 2010


What a simply beautiful day it has been here. Warm but not baking hot and with a breeze that kept everything fresh. Sitting out in the shade this afternoon was fantastic.

The flowers at the front are starting to look nice. Here's a few photos.

Friday morning

. . . and it looks like another lovely day. George is due at ten so I must make sure I have his money and some biccies or the like.
The garden is starting to look good! In one bed there's a bush that is aiming to become a tree. I will have to prune it back severely, but will enjoy the flowers first. It looks gorgeous at this time of year, as the photos show.

After that, this afternoon, DG and DD are coming over to chill outside and I'm hoping they will help me carry some heavier things into the garage from the shed. Apart from that it's reports and other work!! So near the end of the half term break now and so much to do. Ho hum!

Bc food today is:
B: Bodychef muesli; apple (which I will eat as an elevenses snack)
L: Hummus and ryvita; carrot sticks
D: Salmon with mangetout and carrots; blueberry and raspberry fool
Snacks: pumpkin seeds

Thursday, 3 June 2010

How nice

I was trawling around the plants at B&Q when I saw this on the front of a whole stack of trellising (is that a real word?). I thought it was rather lovely that a big business like B&Q should put nature before profits so I took a photo with the mobile. Here it is.

Thursday morning

A bit of a photo blog today. Three photos of the shawl for Diane and two of a clematis. The clematis is weird. It's in a pot and has been sadly neglected over the years. It never sends out much in the way of foliage, but always sends one glorious flower out. I'm glad I've photo-ed it because I reckon it's going in the brown bin this year.

Here are the photos - more blog below.

The shawl, artistically (cough) draped over a chair

The stitch - bog-standard basic crochet.

The edging, again nothing particularly clever.

And here's the clematis!

I will be off to the garden centre later. We have a huge B&Q and a Wyvale next to each other in one of the retail parks so I should get some stuff there, for sure. Then I have to crash on with the reports and get more of them done. At some point I will move some stuff from the shed to the garage and then from my bedroom to the garage. I've taken a long, hard look at all my rubbish and decided that probably my best bet is to feed the garage for a while and then hire a skip to get rid of it all. It's not cheap, I know, but . . .

Bodychef today is:
B: it was berry compote with natural yogurt, so I added a peach that needed eating and some milk and made a smoothie. If it had been hotter I would have iced it but as it is cool at the moment, not necessary. Something to remember for another time though.
L: Tuna and sweetcorn with a mixed salad.
D: Meatloaf with tomato sauce; broccoli; cauliflower; apple, celery and cheese.
Snacks: Fruit, almonds

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Wednesday evening

. . . and I was wrong about the weather. It's been warm and sunny all day, really very pleasant indeed. This morning was fun apart from a minor cat-astrophe when Theo got out. Theo is one of DD's cats, a big, fluffy, placid birman who loves being taken out for walks. Yes, I mean that - you can get cat harnesses for just that purrpose! All DD's cats are indoor cats, mainly because where they live is bang in the centre of town, close to a railway line and really not that moggy-friendly. Also, Theo and Indie are rather more valuable cats.
DG took Theo out for his walk this morning after surviving a minor fuss about not being able to find the harness (which was in the kitchen). Back they came and DG settled down in front of the PC. Ten minutes later I went into the kitchen to find the back door open, Indie just meandering back in (thank goodness she wasn't on heat!) and no sign of Theo in the house.
We located him very quickly, sauntering around the route he takes when he's having his walks, obviously checking his boundaries. We grabbed the cat treats and DG went up to Theo slowly and carefully, following my rather abruptly spoken instructions beautifully, bless him. He (DG) was quite upset and could have had a good old autistic flap, but he didn't, not when it would have been awkward. Theo came near enough for me to pick him up and take him back in and only after that did DG collapse into a quiver of remorse and self recrimination before deciding that maybe one of the other cats opened the back door (yeah, sure).
Anyway all was well and hopefully DG's recovered by now. He actually did really well to hold it all together, bless him.

This afternoon I spent some time doing a bit more gardening and then finished off that shawl. Crochet really doesn't take so very long and it looks quite pretty in an old fashioned 60s type of way. I will be prepared for the next trip to Braintree Museum now.

Hope your day was good too.

Wednesday morning

It started off quite bright but now looks to be clouding over which is a shame. This week (May half term) is usually bright and sunny but not this year. Not that it matters to me this morning as I am over at DD's home, looking after DG while she goes out. I will take my crochet with me as I have been making a simple shawl in the old fashioned sixties poncho stitch. The main part is done, I just need to sew in the ends and then do the fringing.
The reason for this creativity is that once a year we take the year ones to Braintree Museum for a 'Victorian School' experience and we all have to dress up. Not being one for much of that sort of think, my idea of dressing up is a long black skirts, T shirt and a shawl over the top of it all. This year my shawl got caught on something and tore rather badly so I chucked it (it was so old anyway) so decided I'd make another well before the next time I will need it. It's one way of using up all those odds and ends of yarn that take up so much room.
Being made with acrylic yarn mostly, it has come out rather stiff and I'm wondering whether to iron it, which will certainly flatten it and take much of the stiffness out . . . I'll think about that one!

Apart from that, I will try to get the Humanities section of the reports done today - that's History, Geography and RE. Annoyingly, even thought the subjects are amalgamated, we still have to comment on them separately, which tends to be quite restrictive and somewhat ridiculous when one remembers we are talking about five and six year olds here. One of the more time consuming bits of pencil pushing we have to do!

So that's the day taken up today. Not terribly exciting, but this morning should be fun!

Bodychef today is:
B: Bodychef cereal and natural yogurt
L: smoked salmon pate with oatcakes and crudites
D: chili, grated cheese, broccoli; fruit jelly
Shacks: cheese; cashews
Last time I had this particular chili it was extremely hot, so I'm going to save some of the natural yogurt - just in case!

Better go and get washed and dressed, I suppose. There's work to be done!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tuesday afternoon

Well - George came, George saw and George conquered - in the rain too. I told him to stop if it started raining, put the coke and the kit-kat out for him, then left him to it and got stuck into the reports. An hour or so later I came to, looked out and saw a dripping wet lad who was quite obviously enjoying himself and an almost weed free paved area. I have to say it does look a whole lot better - and he actually WANTS to come back to continue on Friday. That's my sort of teenager! :0) Well done to George - well worth the dosh.

I am pleased to say that the weekend off Bodychef doesn't appear to have done any harm to the weight loss drive. I'm back on again now and will be for a number of weeks to come. Today's food is as follows:
B: Bodychef muesli; apple
L: hummus and ryvitas; salad
D: Chicken and veg stir fry (I'm adding extra veg); mocha brownie (scrummy)
Snacks: Brazil nuts and walnuts.

I felt pretty down for a while yesterday. Suddenly, for no discernible reason,. my right hearing aid just packed up. Funny, thought I, it usually bleeps at me for several minutes when the battery is going. So I changed the battery - nothing. Tried with another battery and still nothing. Bit of a blow, that was, one way and another.
So I scrabbled around in my cupboards and found a really old one, a behind-the- ear analogue aid with a volume control. I tried the mould and it fitted really well still. The plastic tubing was still flexible - good! Ah - no batteries, drat! So I had to wait until this morning and shell out for a new battery as they're a different size to the ones I now use. Much to my relief, when I finally got it powered up and in, it worked. Loud enough but much poorer sound quality.
So now I have a number of options and time to make decisions. Obviously the broken one will have to go off for repair (I'm really hoping it can be repaired). When that comes back, I think I might send the other one off for a service, long overdue. While that's away, I can use the same old aid with the old mould for the left ear. Then I have to decide whether I ought to get new aids. The digi ones I have are, admittedly, pretty old now and I do have enough money saved up, providing I don't have to spend too much. Decisions, decisions! But at least I am not in the position of having to hold down a teaching job while half deaf . . . thank goodness.