Tuesday, 29 July 2014


. . . and here we are for five days at Center Parcs, Elveden.  I has been many, many years since I was last here, too long, maybe, but never mind. 

We've never stayed in the hotel before.  It's really nice and comfortable and, if I can, I will post some photos soon.  If I can't (laptop connection issues) I will do so when I get home.

Yesterday we arrived, had a swim (just as good as we remembered it and Alex's face was a delight) and went to Bella Italia for dinner. 

Today we will have lunch at the pancake house, walk around and have an evening swim.  I'm here for a rest and a rest is what I will have!

Alex has very kindly let me use his laptop so now I will finish and let him have it back!

Monday, 28 July 2014


Found it.  It was behind the bed!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Monday (Sunday evening really)

I'm doing this now because I doubt I will have time tomorrow.  My house sitters are arriving and I am departing for a few days away.  I ought to be able to continue blogging, but if there are connection problems, please don't worry if there's no blog.

It's been an extremely busy day today but I'm just about all set now.  I just need to pop everything in the case, locate my Kindle (where * did * I put it?) and make the picnic lunch: the first and last will be done tomorrow morning and I have no idea whether I will find the K or not.  Most annoying.

So what did I do?  Well, I made shortbread, ginger nuts and lemon courgette muffins (with orange oil instead of lemon zest).  I made a new dish for lunch and have blogged about it.  Please do go and look, it really is a very scrummy recipe - thank you, Joan and your American friend.

I did more washing and more ironing.  I made up beds for my lovely house sitters.  I picked runner beans, sliced them and froze them.  I tidied up the kitchen (several times).  I sorted out the garden and sprayed the tomatoes against blight, just in case.  I went shopping.  I got my things together.

I surely will sleep well tonight!


Phew.  It was a real scorcher yesterday afternoon and still uncomfortable by bedtime.  I've heard it is supposed to be cooling down but I have to say I have seen, or maybe I mean felt, no sign of any cooling down, not yet.
It is pleasant now, of course.  The windows are open, the coolness is filling the house, it is all really rather pleasant and peaceful.

However, I glance to my right and there's a great long list of Things To Do.  I guess none of them will take all that long but it does look daunting.  What it doesn't say is 'ironing'.  That's because I have an empty ironing basket.  Really.  First time since forever.  OK, so there's things on the drying rack so I suppose it ought to say ironing . . .  there, just added it to the list.  How sad!

I've just gone out to survey my estate (!) and I notice that there's a large plum tomato starting to ripen.  Yesss!  Another week or so and I will be swamped with the things and then I can make passata, etc, for the freezer.  Ditto with the runner beans.  I don't think my house sitter is a runner bean type of girl so I shall offer them to Dave and Anna.

The beans look really nice now, growing up and over the archway.  In fact, given that it is a little garden and I'm certainly no gardener, the whole place looks good.  I don't have the time for a fully blown 'garden' at the moment but maybe, after retirement, I shall think of maybe having some of the slabs up to create a more 'sensible' growing bed.  We shall see - plenty of time to think about that.

I had a bit of a chuckle the other day.  A letter arrived from the council or whatever it is that does these things regarding the fact that I am now of 'pensionable' age.  It use to be 60, of course, but I got caught up in this increase of working life thing which has angered people so very much.  I think I'd be angry too, if I didn't love my job so very much.

What really made me smile though was that I can get a bus pass.  I think I will, you never know, do you, and if they do phase it out, I may as well get in before then.  I must put it on my list of Things To Do - but not the one next to me right now!!!

And talking of the one next to me, I ought to get started.

Saturday, 26 July 2014


Good morning to the weekend, gentle readers.  It looks as if it is going to be another lovely day.  I can see the sun chasing away the remaining shadows on the sides of the houses and the sky looks clear.

Yesterday was, of course, another hot day.  It was lovely in the morning and then clouded over.  There were some rumbles of thunder and one very sharp shower followed by a few drops now and again and after than it did feel fresher for a time.  Thank goodness too, because I'd left my bedroom curtains open by mistake.  Normally I close them as it is almost south facing so gets the full sun for much of the day.  As it was, it wasn't too bad and I slept quite well again.

I managed to do some serious sorting out of paperwork.  That wasn't because I wanted to, it was because I couldn't find my mobile top up card.  I now have a much tidier desk but no card.  It should have been in my bag but wasn't, so goodness knows where it could be!  I had to go online to the site and register my phone, something I never got round to doing when I first got the phone a very long time ago now.  It's all topped up and ready for the holiday now and I daresay that wretched card will turn up at some point.

I popped round to school to pick up my laptop (I'd left it there for some updating, etc) and then decided I would go to Wyvale and see what bargains they might have.  I had a good look at their tomatoes and was sorely tempted to pick all the ripe tomatoes which seemed to have just been left, before they just went off.  In the end I succumbed to the charms of a titchy little miniature yellow/orange cherry.  I'd been looking at them on line when I bought my plants and nearly bought one then.  It's a bit of a novelty really but if all the tomatoes already there ripen, it will have paid for itself.  I have six inside which are already ripe (cheese and tomato sarnies for lunch, anyone?) and you can see on the photo how many more there are.  I will give it a good feed this weekend and then we will see - I haven't lost much if it gives up and dies on me.
It's called 'Venus' and is intended for small container gardens.

I also bought six fuchsias for a pound which will fill in the gaps in the middle bed and, at around 16p each, is great value.  I'll get them in today.

I was looking thoughtfully at my cherry tomato plant this morning.  It was large when I got it, it threatened to take over the living room at one point and I had to move it out of the grow house because it was taking over.  It just grew and grew.  Just now I moved it over to the other side of the garden to the supporting wires along the fence and, given that it is already producing ripe fruit, I will let it grow more and trail it along the fence.  I've pinched out many of the side shoots but it really is a very tall plant.  It's hard to describe so here's a photo.  You can see how long the trusses are.  It's not the handsomest looking plant in the garden, that's for sure, and it was fairly munched by the caterpillars at first so it looks bedraggled, but it seems to be a fighter and I think it will be happier (and possibly more attractive) there where it has room to stretch.  What do you think?

Well, sitting here won't buy the baby a new bonnet.  I need to get going and do stuff.  All sorts of stuff, in fact, preferably before it gets hot and sweaty.  But first, a second mug of coffee.  After all, it IS holiday!

Friday, 25 July 2014


Friday!  Nearly a week of the holiday over.  What have I achieved this week?  What have I done?

Well - I've slept a lot. An awful lot.  That can't be a bad thing really.  Even yesterday I slept twice round at Beth's while waiting for my car to be serviced and MOTed.  I think (hope) I am just catching up although I do wish I didn't wake quite so early each morning.

I've done some cooking.  Recipes are on my other blog.

The car is now MOTed and road taxed but the bill was a bit ouch.  Something to do with emissions and a catalytic converter.  Funnily enough, I transferred an amount that was with a tenner of the final bill from my savings yesterday so that's taken off some of the stress.

What else have I done?  Not a lot really, but I'm enjoying the holiday and surely that's what it is all about?

Today?  Well, who knows.  I'm making no promises!  It was jolly hot again yesterday and I thought I wouldn't sleep all that well overnight, but I did.  I'm always up early but it was, for me, OK early, not stupid o'clock.

The middle bed is looking quite odd since I had out a lot of the crocosmia.  It was the stuff I sprayed (mostly) and hadn't flowered, so it wasn't looking amazing anyway but the tall green and brown speckled leaf-spires took up some room and what with the lupin also not being there, it's all a bit bare.  I like it better though, despite the emptiness.  It was getting a bit overcrowded.  Very overcrowded, in fact.

The Japanese anemone is budding up now, which is great.  They do tend to take up a fair amount of space so that's some filling in (or is it in-filling?) done.  I need to look out for things I would like in that bed - trouble free perennials that don't spread too much.  But just at the moment it looks as if it is taking time to just breathe properly and that's OK with me!

Actually, thinking about it, I have a heuchera in the leafy aromatic bed that is seriously crowded out.  It is beautiful but can't really be seen.  Maybe I could move that to the middle bed.  I'll think on that one.

The surprise tomatoes are definitely here to stay and yesterday I noticed some flowers which means fruit cannot be far behind.  Amazing!  Ditto with the one dwarf bean.  I have no idea why the others didn't survive really but I shall have another go next year and I guess I'd not have had the surprise of the tomatoes if the beans had all come up!   Silver linings.

Talking of tomatoes, I took six over to Beth yesterday and there's another several ripening too.  They may be ready on Sunday but if not my house sitter can enjoy them next week.  Ditto with the runner beans which look as if they are just about to glut - there's loads and loads of them coming on now plus so many flowers.  The two red pepper plants have about eight peppers developing nicely with, again, loads of flowers.  The chili is also flourishing.  They obviously like this very hot weather a lot more than I do.

And talking of weather (because I always do), it looks as if we might get some light, thundery rain today, early and middle afternoon, just when it is at its hottest.  Not nice!  For now the windows are open, the air is cool and I'm glad I wake early.

Have a lovely day and stay cool as much as you can!

Thursday, 24 July 2014


Good morning.  I woke at very stupid o'clock this morning and came downstairs as I just couldn't nod off again.  Having had a slice of lemon courgette cake (very, very nice, see other blog for details, highly recommended) and a decaf, I can feel the waves of sleep coming closer and closer so I reckon I'll pop back to bed after I've finished this.

Alex is not home after spending two days and one night with his ageing Nan.  He's been an absolute delight and I'm missing him already so it is fortunate that I will be round at Beth's today while my car is being serviced and MOTd

I had a lovely surprise yesterday evening.  Dave and Anna came round and stayed for a while sharing a bottle of red with me.  They scooped up lots of crocosmia too - I've had to thin out the crocosmia as it's just too much and has overshadowed other planting - and taken it away to be used elsewhere.  Perhaps the cerinthe and the Japanese anemone stand a chance now.  It's looking quite bare but that's partly because of the lack of lupin and I'm very much hoping that will come back next year.  We shall see.

So today the car is being MOTd and then I can road tax it and that's off my mind for another year.  I always do it online now.  It's so very easy and you have ten days grace from the start of the new disc to allow time for it to arrive.  My experience is that it takes one or two working days.  If I tax it later today, it should arrive on Monday.

The car is so old now, I am always expecting it to be very, very expensive at MOT time but, apart from when the cam belt needed replacing, it's been very moderate.  However, fingers are always crossed.

Right, well, I am back off to bed now so fingers crossed for a bit more sleep.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Last week, when it was warm, muggy and wet and the caterpillars were flourishing, I had a bit of a panic with the tomatoes, if you remember, and ended up pulling off some leaves, one tomato and then spraying with Bordeaux Mixture.

Nothing wrong with that, is there.

Well, no, except that today I noticed some more tomatoes going black and realised that they are from the black tomato plant, it's absolutely nothing to do with blight at all, they are just ripening.  Doh.

Ah well . . . at least the caterpillars seem to have done a runner for now.


Good morning, all.  It looks like another fine day here today.  Yesterday was mostly lovely with some humidity building up in the afternoon.  I still kept falling asleep though: a reaction, I guess, to last term which was dreadfully stressful at times.  It's lovely to be able to look ahead to rest and relaxation for several weeks.

On the food front I made some shortbread biscuits (which have now gone), some lemon, apple and carrot drink and a pizza base.

The biscuits were mostly for Alex but I have to admit that I had a fair few myself.  I love them.  The lemon, apple and carrot drink is very nice indeed although it looks as if it ought to have an orange flavour to it too.  Next time I will also add an orange and see how that goes.  It's very refreshing and has that citrus tang to it.

The pizza was intended to use up the rest of the chicken meat from Sunday, which it did.  The sauce was a sauce I made last year with the garden tomatoes and it was very scrummy.  I was a bit short on veg but added onion and red and yellow peppers and it all went really well together with finely grated cheddar on top (that's all I had).  It made a large pizza but there's just one bit left this morning and, as Alex has gone into the kitchen, it might not be around now!

Today I want to make a spread with the lemon, apple and carrot pulp.  I don't know how that will work but if it doesn't all I have lost is a bit of sugar so no problems!  Beth tried the lemon spread yesterday and agreed that it is absolutely delicious!

As for today - I don't know.  I'm still feeling rather weary and I have Alex here, so we shall see.  Breakfast is probably toast, not sure about lunch, and for dinner I shall do sausages with oven chips and some sort of veg.  I have some shop tomatoes that need using up so maybe I could roast them.  Oh, and as I didn't pick the runners on Monday, they definitely need picking today.  Just one portion, shared between two, just a taste!

I have a correction to make to yesterday's entry.  It's not two accidental tomato plants that are growing, it is three.  There's a small one right underneath the larger one so today I shall move it to where there is more space.  It tickles me pink as I forked out a mini-fortune form the plantlets last year (which were well worth the cash, I hasten to add) and this year I might get some for 'free'.  We shall see.  I will feed and encourage and nature will do whatever she fancies doing with them as she always does!

Here they are - three tomatoes and a bean!  We shall see . . .

I really do need to do some ironing!!!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Good morning!  It is lovely and cool this morning.  Dry too, so all the windows are open.  It's dull but the clouds look high so maybe the sun will emerge later on.

I tend to crash a bit at the start of a school holiday and yesterday was no exception.  After a reasonably active morning I felt sleepy.  I slept on my bed, I came downstairs and did a bit more stuff before sleeping in my recliner and so it went on.  In fact, I was thoroughly lazy, which is fine.  I didn't do any ironing, I didn't go to Wyvale, but never mind, I have nearly six weeks of not very much school.

Today Alex comes to stay for a few days, which should be fun.  I'm not sure what we will have for lunch, probably something bready and chickeny, but for dinner I shall make pizza.  I love home made pizza, I have the chicken bits to put on it and plenty of appropriate vegetables to use too.  I have no idea about tomorrow.  I will face that when I get there.

I have to get baking again (I have another lemon courgette cake in the oven as I type) as Alex loves my baking.  I need to have a rootle through my recipes and see what I can find.  Oh, the hardship!

Out in the garden, interesting things are happening in the planter I wanted the dwarf beans to go.  I seem to have one plant up out of all the seeds I sowed, just one.  Maybe one will be OK for just me.  However, what is fun is that I appear to have two tomato plants growing that look suspiciously like the hundreds and thousands tomatoes I grew there last year.  Anyway, I shall encourage them as well as the bean and just see what happens.  Anything will be a bonus.  I'll let you know!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Monday - the first day of the holiday

. . . and doesn't it feel great.

Of course, I was up early.  I didn't mind, I love these early mornings when all is still and silent.  You can get loads done in the early mornings.

I used the time to make some lemon fruit spread from the pulp leftover from making lemon drink yesterday.  Both recipes are now on my other blog, here and here.  Lemon is so refreshing on these hot and humid days.

Yesterday was another hot and humid day - in part, anyway.  I got the hot stuff done early morning, including roasting the chicken and preparing the vegetables.  I made some lemon drink according to Diane's instructions and then, as I discovered, as it states in the Thermomix book, Fast and Easy Cooking.  Thanks for the info, Diane, and apologies for bothering you with it when it was right under my nose.  I think I need to re-read that book.  It's a while since I did so and I have forgotten a lot of what's inside.

Beth and I wolfed down the drink and Alex joined us in finishing it off over dinner.  Later on I made some more which is now chilling in the fridge and I used the pulp to make the lemon fruit spread early this morning.  It is cooling in jars now and I think I will have some on toast when I get round to breakfast.

As the afternoon progressed it got blacker and blacker, and the humidity was horrendous.  At times it was almost hard to breathe, if you see what I mean.  Then the thunder started rumbling and the rain fell.  Nothing too dramatic but it certainly cleared the air and the rest of the day was a lot more comfortable.  I was even able to snuggle under the quilt when I went to bed.

Now for today.  Well, I want to wander over to Wyvale at some point, I want to make some gingernuts at some point and I have, HAVE to do some ironing and some tidying up.
There was quite a lot of dinner left over yesterday as Al was a bit overcome by the heat and didn't eat much at all (most unusual - normally I have very little left over).  I have peas, courgettes, new potatoes and chicken and I think I will make a sort of potato topped pie with it.  I plan to saute some onions in chicken fat, then layer the veg in an oven dish - courgettes, onions, peas, chicken, more courgettes, pour over the gravy and then top with slices of potato with some grated cheese to top it all.  It was mostly already seasoned so I won't have to worry about that but I might add some mixed herbs.  That would be a whole meal in itself, but I have three or four runners that are ready for picking so I will have them on the side.  It won't be much but it will be a nice taste.
Borrowed from Google Images.
Beth left a huge courgette with me so I can make lemon courgette cake.  It's a bit of an experiment but it sounds OK and uses up more courgette than the bog standard recipes you find with ask for half a small courgette or five slices or whatever.  As usual, Beth is over-blessed with them and I'm always on the lookout for ways of using them.  I really must see if I can find a good churney recipe.  If it works out, I will blog about it on my Teacher's Recipes blog.

Well, off I go.  Shall I make the ginger nuts first or the lemon courgette cake?  Decisions, decisions.  And to think that usually I would be on my way to school by now.  It feels wonderful!

Sunday, 20 July 2014


It's not quite the holiday yet.  That will be tomorrow and at the moment I have this quietly nagging voice inside me telling me I should be planning, preparing, making, evaluating, marking  and generally getting ready for a new week's teaching.

Tomorrow it will hit home.  Tomorrow when I won't be rushing around getting ready, when I won't have a stack of print outs to remember to take, when I pootle off to Wyvale at some point in the morning before it gets too hot!  Bliss . . .

Yesterday was another uncomfortably warm day, especially in the afternoon.  Mind you, the bread dough rose quickly enough!!  The humidity kept coming in waves, it all clouded over and I thought there would be a storm for sure.  Nothing actually broke though. not even, I think, overnight.  There's no sign of it anyway!

This is not a good photo, but you can see the beginnings of a flower on the sweet corn.  I've never tried to grow sweet corn before so have no background experience but Beth says they're behaving really weirdly this year.  By now they should be much taller, hers and mine, but they're not, they are really titchy.  I don't know what's going on but as they were freebie plantlets, no complaints.  What will be, will be and if I only get one ear of corn I'm the better off..

Speaking of garden stuff brings me neatly to my next paragraph.  On Friday, as is the Newlands Spring tradition, the parents presented me with a gift towards which they had all donated - me and the rest of the team - TA, LSAs and regular covers.  My share was a wooden box.  Yes, a lovely green wooden box with my name, the class name and the year on the side.  Within it was a plastic liner so that it could be converted to a planter as well as various other goodies relating to gardening in some way.  Pretty gardening gloves, hand cream, a book of garden wit, etc, etc.  A lovely, thoughtful and very appropriate gift and I need to go a-shopping to see if I can get something for the box fairly soon - bedding plants of some kind, I think.  It will need to go under shelter come the bad weather.

As I am trying to cut down on freezer content, today I am roasting a chicken.  With it I shall have new potatoes and courgettes from Beth's allotment with, probably, some peas.  I think I will get out some of the 'chilli' from last week for Beth and either make a pie or a savoury crumble as a topping.  She likes that.

I'm going to Morrison's as soon as it opens today and have decided to treat myself to a selection of summer fruits.  I've not had much fruit lately and feel like feasting.  So dessert will be fresh fruit.  I'm going to make lemonade in Thermione, as recommended by Diane.  A fairly simple, easy lunch - after all, what is easier than a roast chicken?

Probably by the afternoon we will all be ready to crash out and rest as the heat rises, thinking enviously of those lucky souls with air conditioning.

Have a great day and stay as cool as you can!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A few garden photos

You can tell I'm on holiday.  Three entries in one morning is a bit much, sorry.

No tomato photos this time but the caterpillars do seem to have left.  Maybe it was the bordeaux mixture, maybe it was the bug spray, who knows.  I'm keeping an ongoing look out anyway.

Here's a few photos.

This is what the rain was like on Friday morning.  I suspect it was the same this morning too but I didn't look.

The best of the redloves.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed this year.

The second chilli, twice the size of the first one.  Now, what to use it for?  Any ideas?

I sowed the cerinthe seeds this spring and they are just starting to flower.  They're rather crowded by the crocosmia so I shall have quite a lot of it out today or tomorrow (the crocosmia, I mean).

There will be a meal to pick soon - give it three or four days, I reckon.

And finally, the hosta patch is looking very pretty at the moment.


. . . and here I am at stupid o'clock having slept badly.  Heat, alcohol (not an awful lot but I guess it's not sensible when it is so hot) and a good old storm have contrived to keep me restless and often awake.

However, I can feel the sleep catching up again and, for once, I have nothing to get up for.  No George, no school, no visitors.  If I want (which I don't and won't) I can stay in bed all morning.

Yesterday was, as are all last days, bitter sweet.  The children were tired after their broken night and they were hot.  They could have gone the irritable, angry way but they didn't.  I've never known them so quiet when watching a dvd - they just say there, passively taking it in.

I received some lovely gifts and cards with kind messages.  More about that later but just to say a couple of them will be going into my memory box.

And now, having made and not drunk a pot of coffee, I am going up to bed again.  Never mind, the coffee will keep for later and sleep is more important right now.

I hope you have all slept better than I.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday evening

As the 'Super, Soaraway Sun' used to say and might still do for all I know), what a scorcher.  It has rarely been so hot and so humid and I can't help hoping it cools down again soon.  Its all a bit too much really.

None the less, I managed to take some photos of tomatoes that are going to form the basis of my breakfast tonorrow.

Sleep well . . . I am sure I will.


Phew.  What a scorcher it was yesterday.  Baking hot and variable humidity through the day.  It was made all the more intense by the fact that we were moving stuff around all day.  Books, boxes of things, more books.  it was very busy, very sweaty and we couldn't have done it without a small army of lovely helpers including TAS and year sixes.  I am VERY thankful that, although I'm changing year groups, I am not changing my base.

I think most of the moving was done.  Of course, there's days of work still to go because everything was shoved behinds cupboard doors willy nilly to make it all look neat and tidy so it will all have to come out again for a proper tidy up during the holidays.  I have to say the same for my own in-class cupboards too which are in a bit of a state and need a good clear-out.  However, it really doesn't look all that bad: well, it does, but it could be so, so much worse.

By afternoon play I was whacked and the knee was protesting vigorously.  I was also on duty but that was nice.  I sat in one of the shady places, keeping my eye on the field and the adventure playground and children came to me.  By the end I had quite a collection of children wanting to stay cool and we had a grand old chatter about all sorts of things including how tired they all felt because the heat had woken them in the night and they couldn't get back to sleep again.

I have to say, mine are all looking very weary and wan right now.  It doesn't take much to start them off in whichever way their temperament dictates - tears, tempers, sulks or whatevers.  I'm keeping a careful eye on them right now.

Earlier this morning we had a tremendous storm.  It was the lightning that woke me (deafness can be a wonderful thing) and I opened the curtains to watch the dramatic display.  I can't see many of the children sleeping through it so I guess they will be even more worn out today after such an early awakening.  Looking out, it is still clouded over so I wonder if there's more to come.  One good thing though - no need to water the garden this morning although I must check the plants in the growhouse.
[fifteen minutes later after watering them (yes, they needed it) the skies are clearing]

And so we move into the last day.  Not long before my class is mine no longer.  I always find this a very hard time.  Being with them for most of the day for nine months or so means I get to know them pretty well and I get very fond of them too.  You have to have a relationship with the littlies - after all, their teacher is one of their significant adults - and to have it suddenly changed is always hard.  I'm still not really used to it after all these decades of teaching and it doesn't help when the children and parents start in too.

Better go and find a selection of DVDs, I suppose!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Things were so much better by the end of the day, even without any anti-ouch meds.  I wish I could say the same for my lovely friend, S, who is supposed to be here but who has damaged her back so she isn't able to drive, either because of the back or because of the extra strong meds which work but make her too dopey to drive safely.  Get well soon, S.

The classroom swapovers are progressing.  We're found a few short cuts (always good) and are fairly ahead of ourselves really.  The children are being noisy but angelic and have been very helpful too, bless them.

By the time I got home, Sharon (lovely hairdresser) was here and had started in on Beth's hair.  I went up to dampen my hair, using cold water which was very refreshing, and now I feel neat, tidy and clean again.  My hair had come to the end of what the style would bear and remain a good shape and it was nagging at my neck, making it all hot.  Now I have ventilation again.  It feels so very good.

Today is a special assembly (thank goodness for air con in the hall) and then more sorting, tidying and generally making ready for the new year.  I need to think of something interesting and yet accessible for my children to get on with.  I daresay inspiration will strike at some point.

And it's going to be hot, hot, hot.

Two more days to go!

(and apologies for anyone who tried to access this earlier.  I wrote it on Wednesday evening and accidentally published so I had to unpublish!  Ooops!)


Ouch, oooh, ouch.  Yesterday was a day of increasing aches and pains as more and more ouchiness came out, presumably an added result of the tumble down the stairs.  I suppose it is inevitable really and I am thankful for ibuprofen, paracetomol and the like.

Last night was Open Evening.  No consultation interviews, just lots of happy children showing off their work to their mums and dads, nice comments from aforementioned mums and dads, next year's class' mums and dads giving me the once over and so on.

It was a lovely evening, capped by a lovely gift from a mum who I guess I have helped quite a bit this year.  A lovely clock with the words
LOVE [child's name]
I was a bit overcome and will treasure it always.

I'm not sure how I am going to cope with the furniture moves at school today.  The aches will make it difficult and more than a little painful.  Here's hoping it will go smoothly and quickly, fingers crossed.

Have a good day.

Three more days.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Good morning.  I don't have an awful lot to say because I said most of it yesterday evening.  I can reveal that it is a dull, gloomy morning, quite cool, no sun emerging and it looks as if it might rain.  I can also reveal that I see no caterpillars on the tomatoes so maybe the anti-blight measures have driven them away.

Thankfully, I slept well overnight, although I had a brief wakey spell in the middle of the night.  Not a problem though.  The knee is still stiff, still sore when I move the joint, but it doesn't hurt at all between times.  I think a few more days should get rid of the worst.

I am very lucky it wasn't worse though.  If I'd broken something or knocked myself out, I'd have been stuck unless I could get to the phone.  Mind you, alarm bells would have gone off if I hadn't turned up for school.  I still remember how worried we were when a colleague didn't turn up one day.  She had just overslept but we phoned around her contacts and someone with a key went round to check she was OK.  Much embarrassment, of course, but if she had been hurt or whatever, it would have been discovered fairly soon.

Today is a no-day for me.  First of all it is the summer concert and two of my children are performing.  That will go on until playtime.  After that it's coordinator time and then PPA, a real blessing because this evening is Open Evening so I need to get everything spick and span and shiny.

I was expecting a dear friend to come to stay yesterday but, sadly, she has hurt her back and isn't able to drive for a few days.  Get well soon, Sonja, and I hope you wake feeling a whole lot better today.

I suppose I ought to think about having a bath, atc, although I don't need to be in school particularly early this morning.  There's no preparation to do, nothing to get ready.  Tomorrow will be a different story - all the displays wil need to come down and new backing paper put up ready for the new year, new theme lettering to make, new resources to find . . . it will be all go!

Four more days to go.  Just four.

Monday, 14 July 2014


. .  and apologies for the lateness of this.  It's been a right day and a half and I was a bit to shaken up this morning to settle to it.

It started in the night when I woke at about one thirt/two-ish and couldn't get back to sleep.  I gave up in the end and read until I got up.

After my bath I wandered downstairs, still reading (BIG mistake), missed the last three stairs and landed at the botton all shook up and sore, having twisted my knee a little bit.  What a wally.

As a result I've been shaky all day, on and off.  After school we had a teaparty to 'celebrate' three members of staff who are leaving.  I mean celebrate them, not that they are leaving!  My tum was playing up by then but I did have a cuppa which was a mistake.

Ah well, I am feeling a bit better now it's all out (sorry if that's TMI) and I am sure I will sleep very well tonight.  And I won't be walking downstairs and reading at the same time again - not for a few weeks anyway.

Apart from that it was a nice day.  The first hour was spent with our new classes, then it was assembly, then a bit of time in class and then violins which had been changed from first thing.  Then a playtime because they'd missed the proper one due to violins and then a short time in the classroom before lunch.  After lunch it was swimming!

I guess you would call it a typical Last-Week-Of-The-School-Year day!  Apart from the stairs and the tum, I mean.

But *FST*D didn't phone!

And I wonder if Bordeaux Mixture kills caterpillars . . .

Sunday, 13 July 2014


Good morning and welcome to a very wet, rainy Chelmsford.  Nothing sunny about today, I'm afraid!  Yesterday's weather was odd - it started off very dull, the sun came out in the afternoon and for a short time it was lovely.  The humidity hit and by the evening we had heavy rain and a storm - just after I finished watering, wouldn't you know?  I don't know if it has rained all night but it wouldn't surprise me in the least because everything is so very wet.  I think it has put the clappers on Beth's plans to work on her allotment for a while this morning.

Yesterday was good.  I found a useful recipe site (based on potatoes), made a potato gratin for lunch, some gingernuts to keep Alex going in the ten minutes or so between coming home from karate and lunch being served and spent the day on and off making a most unauthentic chilli!

The recipe site is Love Potatoes so, obviously, the recipes are all based around potatoes, one way or another.  The potato gratin I made was simple, few ingredients and absolutely delicious.  I can see myself motoring my way through the site as there were lots of recipes/ideas that caught my eye.

I made the vegetable chilli because my chilli plant has produced its first fruit.  A very little fruit so I wasn't sure of the heat and a chilli dish is useful that way because you can always add more if needed.  I rootled through the veg drawer and dug out onion, potato, yellow pepper, mushroom and carrot and I also added some frozen mixed veg and some of last year's frozen passata from the garden tomatoes.  Through the day I soaked and then boiled some red kidney beans (being careful to give them some hard boiling to neutralise those toxins).  It has actually come out very well and you can definitely taste the chilli, just as a bit of a bite.  I will think about adding more once I am reheating it.

I've posted a link to the gingernut recipe on my recipe blog.  They are very nice so please do go and take a look.

Some sad news though.  My tomatoes have got caterpillars.  Well, a couple of them have anyway which means that from now on I will have to check twice a day and pick them off as I see them - yuck.  I've lost some fruit that has been nibbled.  I have sprayed and removed the two most affected plants from the shelter of the growhouse in hopes that it won't spread to the others in there and I have been advised to look out for pupae and remove them.  I've never been bothered with caterpillars on tomato plants before so it's all a bit of a pain.  What with the warmth and the rain and the threat of blight too, I feel I'm fighting a bit of a battle.  I guess gardening is like that a lot of the time.

Better news is that I have picked my first runner bean.  Just the one so I've sliced it and popped it in with the chilli!  So what with garlic from Beth and chilli, runner bean and tomato from my garden, it's quite a home grown dish!

That's about it really.  Beth and Alex are here for lunch and I have to think of a dessert, probably something with the frozen cherries as I really am trying to use up what's in the freezer.  I might just heat them in a syrup and make some custard.  Goodness knows, it is damp enough for comfort food!

However - the garden has been thoroughly soaked which is great!

Saturday, 12 July 2014


Yay - Saturday.  It may be dull, damp, cloudy. misty-moisty but it is Saturday.  Lazy, restful day.  No need to water the garden either.  Three cheers.

The last-important-meeting-of-the-year went well, the paperwork has gone off and my mind is at rest on that score.  The reports went out yesterday.  Too late to do anything about them now.  I did the observation that should have been done weeks ago - all was well, everyone was happy.  I'm just waiting to hear about the Healthy Schools re-accreditation now so fingers crossed.  Best of all, we didn't hear from *FST*D this week.  They couldn't be so mean as to come next week, could they?
No, surely not.
Oh, dear.
Anyway, I shall assume that they won't.
It's going to be nice to wake up for six weeks without that fear that they might just possibly descend in the next few days.  And isn't it ridiculous that there's such a culture of  - let's call it apprehension - in schools.

Last week of the school year = minimal planning.  Yes, there is some stuff to do, I can't let them play non-stop, but with specials all week the windows for planned lessons is quite small.  There's the hour with my new class, the concert, the special assembly, the leavers assembly, the fun swim, the  . . . - oh, you get the idea.  And between times, we will do stuff around 'Little Ted Goes On Holiday'.  Packing his bag, deciding his transport, working out his activities, choosing his meals, paying for them, etc, etc, etc!  All jolly good fun and the last time I can do anything teddy based as, I can now safely reveal without giving anything away, I shall be teaching in year 2 next year.  The first time I have taught Y2 so it will be a challenge, not to mention the SATs at the end of the year and the moderation, as there is a teacher new to Y2 (me!). I will miss year 1 very much indeed but I have been so lucky to have so long with my favourite year group and I have been expecting it for years.  There's been quite a swap around of teachers this year so I'm not the only one to be changing and, with the change in the whole curriculum, things will be new to everybody anyway.

One helpful thing is that I won't need to make that huge mental shift back in September.  You get your children on, they make super progress, you hand them on and, somehow, you are always shocked at the difference between them and the new children you take on.  This year I won't have that.

Another helpful thing is that all the bases are changing.  By that I mean that the two Foundation Stage classes are moving out to the new build, the year one classes are moving into where FS used to be, the Year 2 classes are moving to the old year 1 class bases and so on.  As I'm moving from year 1 to year 2, I won't have to move base.  That's a huge relief.

I got a nice surprise yesterday.  I went to the office to ask how much I owed for the school dinners I have had this term and was told I am in credit.  I'm still not convinced and I queried it but it seems that I am.  I'm not sure how that happened but very nice it is too.  That means I can have two school dinners next week!  Excellent.

Apart from not planning for school, I intend to do some kitchen stuff.  For a start, my chilli plant has produced its first ripe chilli.  It's small so, I am guessing, quite hot, so I want to make some chilli with it.  I will have a rootle in the fridge to see what I have because if I can make a vegetable chilli, we can have it for lunch tomorrow with rice and some garlic bread, or maybe I could make some tortillas.  So must get some red kidney beans on to soak!

Also, after the success of the ginger cookies last weekend, I want to make some ginger nuts - the nice crunchy ones without that chew in the middle.  When we go away for our four days to Center Parcs, we will be staying in the hotel (bliss) and I want to take a selection of biccies with me for snacks, etc.  Al takes a lot of feeding and the shop prices are high!  Also, on Sunday he comes home from karate absolutely starving and it's a good idea to have crunchy stuff available or he heads for the fridge!!!  That's teenagers for you, isn't it?

I have rambled on for ages and it is nearly eight o'clock, so I'd better stop now and get going.  It may be Saturday but there are thing to do!

Friday, 11 July 2014


Six more days!

It's a busy day today.  I'm observing a lesson first thing, then taking Family assembly.  After that I have a bit of time before a meeting in the afternoon.  Ho hum, it is all go, isn't it?

Yesterday was all go too.  Hoodwinked was brilliant so they all made cards to say thanks.  After lunch we did a bit of work and then they finished off their cards.  I got wet at playtime as it was raining rather but never mind.  We didn't get our time in the hall as it was needed for a choir rehearsal.

And now I need to get ready for today.  have a lovely day and I hope it doesn't rain too much for you.

Thursday, 10 July 2014


. . . and without a doubt the highlight of yesterday was the juniors' show, Hoodwinked, a Robin Hood story.  I enjoyed myself from beginning to end and, as a member of staff, had a super front row seat.  A big WELL DONE to all involved - it was the best yet.

It's very dull and very cloudy and there's quite a strong breeze a-blowing at the moment.  Not cold though: the back door is open to freshen the house and it feels mild.

Today the infants have a treat.  We will all be piling into the hall so that the juniors can do their show again for the infants.  It's always a tricky one as it means various classes coming and going and generally a lot of stopping and starting as there's no way everyone can fit into the hall AND have stage space too.  The littlies love it though.

After playtime I shall be taking my class into the hall to play some PE type games so that ought to be fun.

Then, this afternoon, it is maths.  Aaaarrrggghhh.  Poor children.

Seven more days, that is all.  Just seven!  So close!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Good morning to everyone.  After a lovely sunny day yesterday, in the evening the clouds descended and it poured with rain, absolutely poured.  I'm glad the children got their games lesson in the morning though.

I didn't have much to do with the children really, it being Tuesday and out-of-class time.  It looked as if they were having a great time with R and, as the juniors were at their dress rehearsal pm, my children had a smimming lesson to make up for the one they missed on Monday.  Plenty of exercise there and I hope they slept well!

Today, being Wednesday, I have them all day, which is lovely.  There's a full day of activities planned so things should go with a real swing!  Then, in the evening, I will go to the Junior Show, 'Hoodwinked', which promises to be very, very good indeed.  Looking forward to it.  No staff meeting, of course!

It is dull and gloomy this morning and it smells like rain.  A shame, but good for the soil which is very dry under the surface, despite my watering.  And I reckon I need to get the Bordeaux mixture ready - it's just the right conditions for blight to thrive.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


Yesterday turned out to be much livelier than I had anticipated, in a good way, that is.  It was gorgeously warm and sunny with a bit of a breeze.  I had a nice slow start, washed and dried my hair, made some ginger cookies and started off a load of dough in Thermione.

Once dressed, I meandered out the back to see that people were already starting to collect along the side of the road and were claiming their place with garden chairs, etc.  I had a chat to a few folks and then went inside.  A little while later I stepped out the front to find that next door neighbours (whose side garden runs along the main road but raised up so the view was great) had a wee party going with drinks, crisps and a barbecue, to which I was generously invited.  Of course, I accepted promptly and had a really good time for the next three hours, chatting, joking, waving to people I knew along the road and so on.  I saw lots of my class - in fact, two were at the party.

It was quite an event.  In my innocent ignorance, I thought it would be a bunch of extremely fit people pedalling very quickly on bikes with maybe an escort vehicle in front and behind.  Dear me, no!  It all started about two hours earlier with a van warning people to stay on the pavement and not pick things up off the road.   ????, thought I.  And then along came the carnival.  It was all advertising, of course, presumably by companies that were sponsoring the Tour, but it was fun, bright, colourful and most enjoyable.  And for the next few hours, in dribs and drabs, along came a wide mix of cars, vans, lorries and so on, nearly all left hand drive, with drivers and passengers who were obviously having a whale of a time, some chucking samples out of the windows - boxes of tea bags, sweets, all sorts of bits and bobs..  Then came all the support services including gendarmerie, police, ambulances, etc.  Then cars with spare wheels, tyres, bike frameworks, etc, etc, etc.
 Before - people gathering by the route.

 One of the more unusual floats.  The children loved it.

And finally the excitement rose, along came seven helicopters, one of which was flying extremely low, and whoosh - the cyclists were past and gone.  All in a clump, all doggedly determined and paying absolutely no attention to anything else but the race.  And that was it!  Blink and you'd miss it!  Going for a 'comfort break' was right out of court!

And then I remembered the dough!!!  Luckily it had reached the top of Thermione and no further and I was thankful that I had done a 500g amount and not a 750g.  Waste not, want not, so I carried on and it has actually made jolly nice bread.

Dave and Anna had turned up and were also invited to watch from the royal box, so once it was over I invited them in for a cuppa and a nice chat and they made inroads into the ginger cookies I had made earlier and posted about on t'other blog.  That also made the day very pleasant and special.  It felt odd to remember that while in our own very little area of the world all was festivity and celebration while half a mile away people were going to work as usual and getting on with their daily routines.

And I caught the sun!!!

Monday, 7 July 2014


Oh, it feels so very Bank-Holiday-ish right now.  It requires a fair old mental effort to remember that it really isn't.  How lovely to be idling happily around instead of feeling the 'gotta prepare' pressure.  I reckon we should have a Tour de France this way every Monday.  It helps that it is fresh, bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky but we've had rain so no need to water, apart from the tomatoes in the growhouse!

Yesterday was a day of two halves.  I was quite busy in the morning with things culinary and delicious and in the afternoon I had a lovely long sleep.

As I expected, Thermione really earned her space (yet again) and the dinner I finally produced for me, Beth and Alex was really very tasty, thought I say it myself.  I've posted the three recipes on my other blog, Teacher's Recipes so if you'd like to take a look, here they are.  No need for a recipe for basmati rice!!

Sadly, there was no lentil and potato dhal left, but there was some chick pea and veg curry left and some rice, so it's all packed away in pots now, two meals in the freezer and two in the fridge for today and lunch at school on Tuesday.  After the curries, neither Beth nor I had much room left for the crumble although Alex had his usual hearty portion, so I have four wee portions to mix with my home made yogurt for desserts.  Very nice too.

In the evening there was quite a  - I was going to say 'dramatic' but that's not the right word - striking sunset with rain heading towards us.  I grabbed the camera and took a few photos over the fields, some with the sunset setting and some without.

With (far more dramatic than it really was)

Without and you can see the rain coming too.  Within five minutes it was almost as dark as night and the rain was lashing down.

As for today, the race is due to hit us around two o'clock so I will keep an eye on the live cover vie the internet or the telly and, hopefully, will be able to have a look as they all whizz past.

Apart from that, I intend to have a nice, gentle, lazy, restful time with maybe some fun cooking (yes, cooking can be fun, Cider Girl) to pass the hours.

Sunday, 6 July 2014


Good morning, gentle readers.  I wonder what the weather is like your way.  It's been so very varied recently with some folk (on Facebook) complaining about the rain and some complaining about the sun and the heat!  I know I do my share of grumbling at times, but really the situation is like this, isn't it:

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

. . . because, after all, what choice do we really have?

Anyway, here it is dull and cool and damp and I'm lovin' it!

Yesterday was a good day.  I spent some time making a chickpea and vegetable curry out of old veg that needed using up and some of the chickpeas I made last week and froze.  It took as while as I like to cook curries long and slow but by the end it was rather tasty.  Perhaps a bit too hot in the culinary sense, I thought, so I got my yogurt maker out and now have a nice big pot of natural yogurt cooling.  That should sort that one out.

As it is for lunch today with Beth and Alex (some of it, anyway, because it made quite a lot), this morning I decided to use up some lentils and some of the tinned potatoes I opened for yesterday's curry (tinned potatoes are brilliant for curries and the value ones are fantastic value) and make a potato and lentil dhal which is softly simmering away now and smelling wonderful.  I used ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, garam masala and cardamom with a bay leaf from the bush in the garden with onion, potato, red lentils, veg stock, a splash of leftover wine and water.  Oh, and salt and pepper.  It's smelling good so fingers crossed.  It sounds an awful lot of ingredients but when they're all in the store cupboard it is no hassle to get the tubs out and pop them back afterwards.  It would be jolly expensive to have to buy everything.

Today, Thermione will be coming into her own.  I have some stale bread that I want to breadcrumb in preparation for making Beth some more chickpea burgers, I have planned a rhubarb and strawberry crumble for dessert so will make the topping in her, also the custard, if I decide for custard rather than cream, I must make some bread for Beth, and finally I want to make some easy naan breads for the curry.  It sounds like a busy morning but it won't be, not really, because Thermione takes it all in her stride and makes things very, very easy.

More garden photos alert . . .

I managed to get a few shots of the emerging lupins.  Given that the first one is the size of a 20p piece, you can tell how titchy they are, but they are growing again and that's what matters!

Runners coming along nicely and should look lovely once the archway is covered . . .

. . . and the crocosmia flowers don't look as garish now that the runner bean flowers are offering them some competition!

The carrots - although they haven't germinated all that well.  I guess that's what happens when you get a freebie packet of seeds.

The hosta is the best it has ever been, largely, I think, because I got the slug pellet act going rather more quickly than I usually do.

And the tomatoes I grew from seed myself (for the very first time ever) are coming on well now they're in the soil.  At this rate I should get something from them, even if it's not until September.  They were from a free packet too.

And tomorrow's 'big event' (no, I didn't mean the school being closed) . . .

If you look carefully, you can just see that the road turns off to the left at the top right hand bit of the photo.  Well, all those internationally acclaimed cyclists will come along that road, turn left into the road you can see and . . .

. . . disappear along Chignal Road towards the traffic lights at the bottom about half a mile or so away and then it's country cycling again.

See what a grandstand view I will have, assuming the whole estate doesn't congregate along by our garages!!!  Maybe I should charge!

That little green roofed chapel (it's a much bigger church now which used to worship there in days gone by) has a field beside and behind it and there's going to be an 'event' - barbecue, live music, etc, all day.  It has to be all day because once they are there (before 7:00, I think it has to be), they will be stuck there until the evening, unless they walk.  A great view of the Tour de France as well as a good opportunity to socialise and have fun!  Fingers crossed for the weather for them.

And in the time it has taken to write this (with breaks for kitchen stuff) it's rained and continues to rain, the dhal is almost done, the crumble is made and ready to go in the oven in due time, the stale bread is now crumbs and the bread dough is rising.  I've also put on some butter beans to soak.  And this is my window for having a bath and getting dressed!

It's going to be a good day!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Saturday: in the midst of death . . .

. . . there is life.

Regular readers of this blog will remember that a number of weeks ago I made the classic error of spraying my lupins with weed killer instead of bug spray with several other nearby plants catching it too.  I replanted the runners and they are now growing well.  I cut the lupin right back to almost ground level in hopes.

While watering yesterday evening my eye caught a flash of green and, lo and behold, there were three new little lupin shoots emerging from the disaster.  I don't know if they will grow completely this season now, but I have hopes for next year.  I am happy.
(I did try to get a few photos but they're all unfocused)

Here's * the * runner bean (yes, still just the one, although there are plenty of flowers now) which is now around 12cms long.  Not ready to pick yet although one bean doth not a portion make, doth it?

I finally succumbed to the lure of the ripe tomatoes and picked and scoffed three yesterday - and my goodness, they were scrummy, sweet and warm from the sunshine.  I did leave another two on the vine as I gather they send out 'time to ripen, guys' signals to the other tomatoes.  Here's the two that were reprieved - for now.

It was another scorcher yesterday and I certainly felt hot as I drove from Chelmsford to Harlow Study Centre for some NQT mentoring training.  I was a bit worried about the journey as I am not good with driving to 'new' places and Harlow isn't somewhere I frequent anyway.  As it was, it turned out to be a lovely journey, country all the way and mostly clear roads.  Even coming back I was a bit before the traffic build up so made good speed.

The venue was dead easy to find, well signposted (much to me relief) and was a lovely old barn next to a delightful little church.  I walked through the graveyard to get to the centre.  No air con, not even a fan, but the high vaulted ceiling helped.  It would make a lovely house!

This morning, what a change.  It is dull, cool and raining.  Not pouring it down, just a steady light rain.  A good downpour would be better, the ground needs a thorough soaking, but I'm not complaining.  At the moment the back door is wide open and downstairs is gradually cooling off.  Like my blogging friend, Diane, on these hot days I pull across the blinds and the curtains on the sunny side of the house which helps but it does still get quite hot inside and takes longer to freshen up again.

It was a hot night and, while I slept well when I was asleep, it wasn't continuous.  As a result I'm feeling a bit wet raggish this morning but the thought of three days in which to rest and catch up is a delight.  Today I shall take it easy and enjoy the freshness in the air.

As I finish this entry I've had to shut the back door as it is now raining rather harder and there's a wind that is driving the rain indoors.  Don't want a soaking carpet.  The garden looks happy though!  I know it sounds selfish but I hope it continues all morning!

Friday, 4 July 2014


The countdown has begun.  Ten (working) days to go.  It's another lovely, sunny morning after a good night's rest.  It's Friday.  All reasons to rejoice.

I wasn't feeling so well yesterday evening.  All wobbly and giddy and a bit sick.  I'd expected to go to the Hare with friends but I chickened out.  I hope they all had a good time though.

Today is SEN in the morning and then I am off to Harlow for a course in the afternoon.  I hope it's not too difficult to find the place, fingers crossed.

And now I must go and get myself sorted.

Thursday, 3 July 2014


Good morning.  The sun is shining, it's lovely and cool and fresh and it is so peaceful right now.    I really love the early mornings, before most people are up and about.  I do hope that when I retire I stll keep up the habit.  Hopefulkly I will as even in the long holiday I don't revert to sleeping beyond about 6:00.  It does help that I'm not any sort of party person.

Lovely family and neighbours are a blessing.  My car battery went at the beginning of the week.  Beth went to get another one for me and yesterday evening a neighbour fitted it for me.  I know I ought to be able to do batteries myself but . . .  It really needed to be done because tomorrow I am on a course at Harlow so the car is essential.

Yesterday was, as usual, good.  The children did their performance of Jack and the Beanstalk and they were brilliant.  I was so proud of them.  It's a delightful little musical with songs, acting, percussion, narration and plenty of opportunity to do our own thing.  The other children enjoyed watching it, remembering when they did it, joining in with the actions and even with some of the songs.  And that's another tick on the list.

Today I have my class all day again.  Excellent!  I'm sure it is better for them too to have the same person more consistently.  It's certainly better for me.

And now I must finish my breakfast (toast from home made bread with home made yellow plum jam, absolutely delicious) and then go and get ready.  There's plenty to do!

Have a lovely day.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Middle of the week and family assembly day so the knot in my tum has returned and I shall be glad when it is all over.  Yesterday's rehearsal in the hall was a bit of a disaster so it seems my tum has joined my fingers in crossing firmly!

Apart from that yesterday was OK.  I did check when the reports were due out as everyone was faffing around getting them into envelopes, etc, but I had remembered correctly, it's not until Friday next week, so that is OK, I'm not missing the boat.

Today I have my class all day, a rare treat.  At least I HOPE it will be a treat.  We shall see.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


A pinch and a punch
For the first of the month.

Can you really believe it is July?  I'm finding it hard, I have to say.  The longest day is past and gone and the nights start closing in again.  Half way to Christmas.  Life is spinning away rapidly.  Mind you, the next two and a half weeks can spin away all they like but then it has to slow down for six weeks.  Teacher's orders.

Well, out came the 'pass mark' for the phonic screen and, would you believe, it was exactly the same as the previous year.  32.  After all that waffling about there being blips in the scoring at the 'pass' mark point (OK, the 'required standard' mark, pass mark is quicker to type), they still kept it the same.  And the test seemed a little bit easier.  More adjacent consonant words and fewer vowel digraph words, I think.  Mind you, to be fair, I haven't actually counted, what a waste of time that would be, and I could just be getting used to the test, couldn't I?

I managed to get two bits of important paperwork sent off.  Phew, a great weight off my mind.  There's more (does it ever end) but I am feeling relieved.  So relieved that I went to bed at eight, fell asleep over a book and woke at my usual time, having slept soundly all night.  It's a wonderful feeling.  More wonderful, I don't have a tight knot of tension in my stomach this morning which is something I have been living with for several weeks.  I daresay it will be back again before the end of term, but for now I feel more relaxed.

Today, being Tuesday, is coordinator/PPA day.  Thank goodness for that as there is such loads to do still.  I need to work on our stock order for next year as a matter or urgency and I've managed to grab the hall for a rehearsal this afternoon, no easy matter with the Junior Department's show next week.  It is our Family Assembly tomorrow and we are going out with a bang, presenting our version of Jack and the Beanstalk just as we do every year.  It is sad that, with the curriculum changes, it won't be a part of Y1 from now on, I think, although we may possibly be able to wangle it in somehow.

The bad news is that I have found two caterpillars on my tomatoes - the growhouse plants too!.  How very dare they!!!!  The are now gone-caterpillars and I shall be keeping a beady eye open over the next weeks, spray gun in hand (no, not that one, the bug one!), defending my wonderful tomato plants to the end of the season.

And now it is time to sort out the mess in my kitchen and think about lunch.  I might go for a school lunch today as it is lasagne.  The sun is smoothing away the shadows and I have to get moving.  Have a good day.