Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A very Happy New Year to you all

I'm posting this now because there's not a chance in a million that I will be awake at midnight to post then.
I just wanted to say a big thank you to my readers for sticking with this 'doesn't really go anywhere' blog over this year and for the kind and encouraging comments posted.

May the coming year be a good one for us all.

 Click on this link for your card.

Wednesday: New Year's Eve.

Borrowed from Google.
Good morning, everyone!  It's still pretty cold and white out there but the frost isn't nearly as hard as it has been and it looks as if the warm might be on its way according to the weather forecast.
Not for long, probably; after all, it is winter.

Yesterday was another mostly lazy day.  I did pop out in the morning to look in a few shops but it was so jolly cold I decided to pop back home again after a short time.  It couldn't have risen much above freezing as there were pockets of frost that stayed around all day.

Because it is a weekday and on weekdays I have the thermostat set quite low because I'm at work, the house was a bit chilly when I got home so I decided to snuggle under my fleece and watch some rubbish telly rather than turn up the heating.  The next thing I knew it was over an hour later.  Yup - I'd had my snooze again!  That fleece is so cosy and so comfortable!

Today is, of course, New Year's Eve.  I was hoping to spend it with Beth and Alex or, rather, them spending it with me, but Beth's not well and it's best that she stays home and looks after herself.  So I have a bottle of sparkly stuff all to myself, oh, dear, what a shame, how will I cope, etc, etc!  We were going to pool Christmas leftover resources for a buffet but I have enough to produce a nice spread for one.
Get well soon, lovely daughter.  ((((hugs))))

If you are planning a celebration this evening, I hope you have a wonderful time.  Cheers!!!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Waking up to another heavy frost makes me grateful (yet again) for a secure home and plenty of things to keep me warm because it is really bitterly cold out there this morning.
I gather it is likely to warm up a bit tomorrow and into the New Year before perhaps getting colder again.  We shall see but one thing's for certain and that is I won't be able to change what is due to happen one iota!

Yesterday was interesting.  I didn't mention this in my last blog because it is not sensible to announce that ones home will be empty for most of the day.  The thing is, my car has been causing me some concerns recently.  She's sluggish and unresponsive and doesn't give me quick speed when I need it any more which has been annoying and, on occasion, a bit scary.  Now, she is old - fifteen plus years old, in fact - and has done me very good service over the years but things move on and things wear out.

Yesterday I took her to the Peugeot specialist garage in town.  It has a very, very good name and Beth has always been satisfied with their work.  The brief was to give her a thorough going over to see what does or doesn't need doing to bring her back up to a decent performance, if possible, and, more importantly, whether it is actually worth having any necessary work done.

The answer to the latter part was no, it's not worth it, something I expected but I thought I really ought to investigate as I don't like to ditch things too readily.  I've been very fortunate with my car.  She's given me very little trouble and very little expense for many years but everything seems to be going at the same time and the time has come to replace her.

She's drivable although they recommended no long journeys (I rarely do long journeys anyway) and they checked I had AA or RAC membership (I do).  So I have time.  Also, fortunately, I have access to funding without taking out a loan, which is a very Good Thing.

So that was yesterday's excitement.  Test drives, here I come.

While the car was in, Beth came to pick me up and I spent the day with her, kitty adoring and - surprise, surprise - snoozing!  Yes, I got my snoozes in, of course I did.  I slept restlessly the previous night because the whole car thing was on my mind and kept buzzing round and round my dreams.  It's worry/uncertainty more than anything else that makes for bad nights for me and the night before last was no exception.

After Beth had picked me up we popped into her local Tesco for a few bits and bobs.  To my delight, they had gammon hams at half price which was great value so I grabbed a couple to freeze.  They also had some roasting beef so I got a good piece which I will cut into four smaller lengths, two for Beth and two for me.

Also, over Christmas, I was mortified with the condition of my glasses.  They are always washed in the dishwasher and it was showing big time!  Mind you, they were cheaper than cheap (because I knew I'd use the dishwasher) and have actually lasted for years without looking tatty, so they've done jolly well.  It might sound a bit cheapskate of me but I haven't the time to faff around with hand washing too much and want classes that will stack for reasons of space and those plain and cheapos from the likes of Tesco are just the ticket so I bought four boxes of four at £1.50 for four which should see me OK for many years to come.

I was pleased with all those purchases.

Today will be, I hope, a gentle day.  I have some info about cars to read through and I need to pick up some work from school, getting in via the library.  I didn't manage to do the fridge yesterday so I will get that done today too.  Looking at the car folder, I seem to have kept just about every single piece of paper since I got here, including, would you believe, the outside bit of the car tax thingy that had to be displayed in the car.  Another thing that needs sorting out.  After all, I really don't think I need to keep the letter notifying me that my insurance is up for renewal in 2003 any more, do you?

But first - yes, you got it - another coffee!

Monday, 29 December 2014


Brrr - another extremely chilly morning here with a heavy frost.  Still no snow and it doesn't look as if we will get any either, not this time.

Seven more days before school starts again sounds absolutely wonderful, doesn't it?  In those seven days I have various bits and bobs to do but generally it's going to be unstressed and easy going, I hope.  Can't complain about that!

Yesterday I slept in the morning, I slept in the afternoon and I had areasonable night's sleep too.  Something else not to complain about.  In between snoozing I watched back-to-back Doctor Whos and made some delicious chunky turkey soup and some equally delicious turkey curry, all nicely embedded in the freezer in single portions now.  I also managed to keep the kitchen fairly tidy which is amazing.

Today - well, this and that really.  Perhaps more snoozing later on, depending on how much the lack of caffeine impacts.  I do need to sort out the fridge a bit so that's top of the list, I think.  Hopefully there will be no wastage.  I have tried to be more careful this year.  Once I have done that I will know what I can make.  It will involve ham, that's for sure.  Ham, eggs and wedges sounds quite nice, doesn't it?  We will see.

And now the not-caffeine calleth!

Sunday, 28 December 2014


Borrowed from Google
Brrr - it's a jolly chilly early morning today.  I've thrown frugal caution to the wind and turned up the heating.  I intend to stay warm today as I have planned quite an idle day so won't be moving around too much and keeping myself warm that way.

More or less back to normal now apart from some washing, drying and ironing and rather a lot of bits and bobs of food to finish off.  Fortunately, Beth and Alex always come over here for New Year's Eve so that will be a good opportunity to put out a selection of frivolous foods I really shouldn't have spent good money on in the first place.

I am also back on decaf coffee.  While mum and dad were here I made a nice big pot of the full fat type each day and indulged but I have a feeling it has contributed to my restless nights.  Not bad nights exactly but I have been waking several times each night since Christmas Eve.  It may not be linked but it seems likely.  So, from today, the caffeine goes.  You can get decaf for a coffee maker and, judging by the aroma filtering through from the kitchen, it will taste wonderful.

It's another quiet day today.  I expect no visitors so I think it will be a PJ day unless I feel like getting properly dressed.  Yesterday I slept through the afternoon and today might very well follow a similar pattern.  If it does, no problems!  I gather there's a lot of Doctor Who on one of the channels today so guess what I will be doing!  between snoozles, that is.

I need to make some bread.  The loaves I made just before Christmas have lasted wonderfully well but are now only fit for toast, croutons and breadcrumbs.  Another sign of normality, to make bread at the weekend.

And now for that coffee . . .

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Saturday again

That moment when you have just waved your last guests goodbye, come inside and everything is still and silent and empty . . .

Never mind, off to Morrisons and then I shall have a lazy day and wine with my lunch!

That'll do nicely, thank you.


Saturday: that's it for another year.

All that work, all the planning, preparation, expectation.  All over now for another year.  Was it worth it?  Well, of course it was.  If we didn't have Christmas we would have something else.  It is part of being human, this 'need' to celebrate the passing of time one way and another and this is a goodie, a huge promise of hope and deliverence, perched on the end of the year when nature is at her darkest with one week before the change of the year and its shift of focus from the past to the future.  It's a bit of a no-man's- land, these coming days before New Year's Day and another opportunity to make merry, an opportunity to take breath and take stock.

I was extremely energetic yesterday and 'dealt' with the turkey, blessing my pressure cooker as I did so.  I had a pressure cooker as a young wife and mother but was always a bit nervous of it and didn't use it as much as I should.  It was only this year that I took a deep breath and shelled out on one and I have used it so much since then.

It made an easy and speedy task of boiling up all the remains after I had stripped off the easiest bits.  I had a whole side of breast that came off in a chunk to be sliced the Paul Kelly way plus oodles of brown meat, the tastiest meat and yet the most ignored.  I also have a lot of stock and today I shall be boiling most of that down into a thick jelly for freezing.

Dinner yesterday was, of course, easy.  I did cook more sprouts as I had some peeled and prepared (but not cooked) on The Day itself so the broccoli had to wait.  Everything else was simply heated up and it was absolutely delicious!
There's still a few vegetable leftovers so today I am definitely mushing them together to make patties (I didn't yesterday after all) and that, with some more turkey and gravy, will make a jolly good dinner just for me.  Or I might include the turkey in the mushing and just have some nice, crunchy patties with gravy.  After all, I can't honestly say I'm hungry, even first thing in the morning, so that will be more than enough.

My visitors will be going home today.  Sad, but true.  It's been a lovely four days but there you go.  Part of me is looking forward to a day doing very little and I shall make the most of that.  I do have to pop down to the shops to get some fresh veg for the turkey hotpot - not a traditional hotpot, more a chunky soup/stew, but we have always called it 'hotpot' and it is part of our post-Christmas tradition.

The last thing I intend to make with the leftovers of meat is a curry.  Just a curry, nothing special, just warm and spicy and flavoursome.  That, I think, will feed me next week, so the freezer will come into play once again.

Now - any ideas what I can make with left over custard?

Friday, 26 December 2014

Friday: Boxing Day

Yesterday was such a lovely day.  Really pleasant from start to finish.  The morning was quite hectic once the dinner work started but before then we had time to sit, chat and read.  After dinner I was able to relax (and snooze) while others cleared up the mess.  Wonderful.

The turkey cooked fast but wasn't dry - Kelly bronzes never are, I have found.  When I go back to 'ordinary' turkeys again (and I will have to at some point because of the cost), I will have to remember it's a whole different cooking approach.

There's loads left over too, which is splendid.  I love Christmas leftovers and I won't have to cook today at all (or shop for more than fresh veg for a good week).  Suits me - I might be even fit for a game of Scrabble this afternoon.  So it's almost a repeat of yesterday's dinner - turkey and ham with trimmings, roasties and I shall mush the leftover vegs into a sort of bubble and squeak.  I'm glad I bought a head of broccoli which will ring the changes a bit.

Without the presence of little children to keep the excitement levels soaring we were able to defer present opening until late afternoon.  It amazes me every year that such a huge pile of wrapped things reduces to a much smaller stack of unwrapped and unboxed goodies.  I was well pleased with mine and I hope people liked what I bought them too.

Well, I must go and sort out some goodies for my brother to take home with him.  Ham, turkey, cake, mince pies, etc, etc, etc.
And - maybe another coffee . . . after all, it is jolly chilly outside and there might even be a bit of wet snow this afternoon.  Definitely reason for another coffee . . .

Happy Boxing Day to you all.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Thursday: Christmas Day

So here it is at last.  The so-called Big Day.  As always I am up early after a reasonable night's sleep and am raring to go.  The turkey is out of the fridge to go into the oven at 8:30.  That will give me plenty of time at the other end.  Everything else is more or less prepared now so it will just be cooking and assembling.  It's just a traditional dinner, nothing fancy or complicated so, really, timing is the key.

We had a pleasant family evening yesterday.  Dave and Anna's pizzas were, as always, absolutely delicious and there was very little left over, thank goodness, because I have no idea where I could have put it.  We have some left over garlic bread and I think I might zizz it to make garlic infused breadcrumbs for the freezer or maybe to coat any vegetable patties I might make for lunch tomorrow (depending on leftovers).

Anyway, I doubt you want to read my early morning waffle today.  I will shut up now.  Thank you for reading and I wish you all a very, very happy and peaceful Christmas Day.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas eve, later in the morning

Well, with help from my visitors I seem to have worked through my list quite nicely.
We now have celery and a paper to read.
The turkey is ready - and I was right, it's a lot heavier than I ordered.  Good oh!
The giblets have been boiled up in some turkey stock and the resulting liquid smells fantastic.  Good gravy tomorrow.
Beth's bottom is simmering away nicely.
The ironing is being done as I type.
The sprouts are ready
The pigs in blankets, potatoes, carrots , parsnips and baby onions are in the freezer - I put them into the hot fat from frozen.
The bread sauce is in the freezer.
The mince pies, Christmas pud, etc, are all ready for reheating.

And for this evening:
Dave and Anna are making pizza
I have to make a very simple salad.
The coleslaw is made
The garlic bread is bought (cheat)
There's a cake, mince pies and fruit for dessert.
There's alcohol galore.

As I said - we won't starve.  Far from it!


I did another stupid wake-up last night but but it was early enough  not to sound too stupid - half eleven is before the bedtime of some people but when you've gone to bed at just after eight it's rather the middle of the night.  Luckily a quick read managed to sort that out and I woke at six this morning which is almost late for me!

The thing is, there's so many things a-buzzin' around in my head.  I glance at my list and I wonder what others will make of it.  Prepare Beth's bottom sounds very - ah -interesting but it just means the bottom of her vegetarian crumble for tomorrow!

I was resigned to managing without celery but Dave came round and said he will be going shopping today and will get some.  Excellent.  It is a family favourite and is part of the starter for most casseroles, pies, etc.

The turkey is HUGE.  I haven't weighed it yet but will be most surprised if it comes anywhere near the 7g I ordered.  I have a feeling this might involve chopping off the drumsticks to get it into the pan but we will see.  It's on the list of things to prepare anyway.

Sweffling - I'm loving the annotated Pioneer Girl.  It's a very substantial book (now I understand why it was so expensive) but the annotations are interesting by themselves.  One would need to have read the Little House books at the very least to get the most out of the book but, given that I've been a fan for decades, I'm so glad I bought it.  I can't see anyone buying it who didn't already have an interest in Laura's books anyway!
I've taken off the cover to avoid it getting damaged!!

Well, I'd better get going.  I'd like to get the long list of things for today prepared and ready so I can have a sit down this afternoon.  Here's hoping.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tuesday (later on)

Well, the shopping is done (and we will have to live without celery because I forgot it), the flowers have arrived, several parcels have been delivered including the annotated Pioneer Girl which looks fantastic (and has lots and lots of reading) and the turkey has just been delivered.  It looks HUGE - I'm sure it is more than I ordered.  There might be an oven dish issue here so fingers crossed.  I will face that one tomorrow though!

Back to my book . . .


Yesterday Christmas started.

After being surprised by an early knock on the door from the cleaners, two hours later I had a shiny house.  I then set to and got the Christmas tree out of the garage and set it up.  Beth and Al turned up and now the decorations are all out and apart from a bit of clearing, the house is ready.  Beth iced the cake (which was not without a few problems but she managed and it looks lovely now), Sharon came round to do our hair and then we had a take away and watched Miracle on 34th Street.

Very nice it was too.

I'm expecting various parcels and packages this week (apart from the obvious ones, I mean).  The first arrived yesterday.

The back story is that my wireless system, including the telly, is really old now.  I joined before Telewest became Virgin which is a while ago now.  As a result, the remote has become less and less usable as various buttons have failed and last week, when the 'OK' button started playing up, I snapped, went on Amazon and bought what I hoped would work.
It did!  It's rather nice to be able to press gently again and get the desired results.  I gather I can also set it to control a few things on the telly too, but it looks a bit complicated so I'm not worrying about that.

Also the DVD/Video player has started playing up and I noticed it was showing some sort of code.  I looked that up and it wasn't good news at all.  Everything I read indicated that it was a serious internal problem.  Eeeeek.  Then I came across a lone voice saying, in effect, 'All I did was switch the DVD player off, leave it for a minute and start it again (I think the term is 'reboot'?) and it's been fine ever since'.
So I did and it is!  Phew.

Today I go shopping early, the turkey arrives, some more parcels arrive (I hope), I do a bit of housework but not too much and then my Christmas visitors arrive.  Waking before three is, under the circumstances, a remarkably silly thing to do and I'm hoping I can get some more kip before I have to get up to be at Morrisons by seven.  I can feel the weariness washing over me again so fingers crossed.

I don't think I need another coffee right now!

Monday, 22 December 2014


So here we are on the first REAL day of the holiday as opposed to a weekend that doesn't lead anywhere!

Traditionally, I used to wander into town and gently meander around my favourite shops but that ain't going to happen today - or at any time in the next few weeks.  Not until the whole 'sale' thing dies down and life resumes normal proportions again.  Until then, any shopping of that kind will be conducted via the Internet.

It being the first day of the holiday, it seems rather a shame it has to be a busy day, doesn't it?  However, it will be nice-busy with Beth and Alex coming over to help.  Beth is icing the Christmas cake and Alex is helping me set up the Christmas tree.  I have to finish sorting out upstairs and then Al will help me move some stuff into the garage - temporarily, of course.  They should re-emerge at some point in the next ten years!

My bedroom is now looking remarkably welcoming.  I just have to pull out the bed, deal with the clutter that has fallen down behind and then do a hoover.  Yes, it's being cleaned again tomorrow but there's absolutely no way I am letting the ladies see the mess behind the bed.  It'll be cleaned properly tomorrow!

Dave took me out for a drive in his car yesterday - I mean I drove and he - er - sweated politely in the passenger seat.  It was bliss compared to my beloved old Peugeot.  Thanks, Dave.

I also had a temporary disaster.  I made another batch of marmalade, thick cut Seville this time.  I boiled and tested for set and poured into jars - and it didn't set.  I have no idea why not because the test was OK.  Fortunately, I know enough to know that a re-boil is the solution.  I did and it did.  Mind you, what's the betting it is way too firm now?  I'll find out when I have breakfast!

I now have a day and a half to finish sorting the house out.  Realistically there's less time than that but it's enough time.  Let's face it, I haven't exactly busted myself in the last few days and I got quite a lot done.  We will get there.

But for now, guess what?  Yes, another coffee!
Have a great day.

Edited later:
It's not too firm, it's just right.  And delicious!

Sunday, 21 December 2014


Second day in and, as I posted yesterday, I now have both ovens working properly again.  It's a great relief because, as already stated, although I could do the Christmas dinner in the one oven (millions do, after all), I'd rather have the convenience of both!

It seems that reinstating capcha has sorted out the spam attack, thank goodness.  Unfortunately, something has messed up the counter to the extent that it shows only one visitor yesterday, which I know to be inaccurate!  I think I will have to replace that and make an educated guess as to how many read over the last few days.

Getting the house ready for Christmas is going well.  I did the first of a two stage shop early yesterday morning when Morrisons was virtually empty and intend to get the fresh stuff and the dairy stuff early Tuesday morning.  Then that's that!  As I always say, there is no way we will starve!

I didn't make any bread yesterday as I wasn't sure when the oven man was coming and I didn't want him to be greeted by a very hot oven.  That's my first task, then, to get the dough made.  After that it's just dig in and keep working until things are done.

Mind you, what he was greeted with was a shocking mess under the oven when he pulled it out.  I really MUST make a habit of cleaning under a little more regularly!  Once a year would be a huge improvement.  At least I was able to sweep up the muck yesterday and also to give the sides of the oven a good wipe down and I guess he's seen worse.
And I MUST wash the floor of the oven too!  Eeeeeek!

Better get started then!

Edited later to add:  
There's no doubt - the fan oven bakes bread a lot better than the non fan oven!  Between that and the marmalade I have just made and the fresh coffee the house smells wonderful!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Saturday later on!

. . . and I now have a fully working oven again.  Phew.


Sunrise several days ago.
. . . and yes, it is absolutely ridiculous o'clock and I'm wide awake.  The yesterday evening snooze started even earlier - I missed much of Eggheads!  - so no wonder I'm wide awake now.  But you know what?  It doesn't matter.  I have a long list of things to do but I can do them in my time and in my way.  There's nothing fixed except the visit from the oven repain chap (yay) and I don't know when he is coming.  I'd like to get to Morrisons when it opens at seven to do the first stage of the Christmas Shop (the fruit, veg, etc comes later) but apart from that the day is mine.

So, by the end of the day I would like to have . . .
a tidy bedroom (and pigs might fly)
a tidy pair of guest rooms (much more likely as they're basically OK anyway)
a clear kitchen
Christmas tree and ornaments in from the garage
washing and ironing done (and put away)
bread made.

Apart from my bedroom, nothing is too much of a chore really.

Yesterday was absolutely lovely.  Despite the high levels of excitement, they were really as good as gold.  I love watching them at 'free activity'.  I learn so much about them.

I had intended to show them 'Babe' but when I looked for it, I couldn't find it anywhere.  I read 'The Sheep-Pig' to them earlier in the term and they really loved it so I promised they could watch Babe at some point. However, it wasn't to be yesterday.  As a result, I fell back on my old traditional favourites, The Snowman and Father Christmas.  These videos are actually old enough for some not to have seen them and they were entranced.

In the afternoon we had our now traditional Carols by Candlelight.  It was lovely.  Very simple and the singing was, as always, fantastic.  It was a perfect end to what has been quite a difficult term at times for me and it grounded me.  I've always loved singing those traditional carols.

And now the coffee is made (proper coffee on the first day of the holidays, caffeine laden and delicious!) and I have a shopping list to create.

Just one more thing - have you been able to access my blog over the past few days?  It's just that my blog counter showed no visitors for Thursday (that's NEVER happened before) and only a few for Friday.  Also, I've had a stupid amount of spammy stuff to deal with which was a right pain and I've had to reinstate capcha temporarily to get it under control.
If you have been able to read this blog as normal over the last few days (or haven't), I'd be very grateful if you could just leave a comment to let me know.
Many thanks.

Friday, 19 December 2014


I have to start today with an apology.  I've had to reinstate the capcha verification thingy, for a while at least, as suddenly, over the last few days, this blog has been inundated with spam.  The same incomprehensible message over and over again thousands of times.  It's taken me ages to clear it all and I hope I haven't deleted any of your messages by mistake.  Apologies if I have.

I hope you all understand.  I don't like capcha but I hope it will stop the spam and when it has all calmed down again maybe I can take it off once more.

OK, enough of that!  Last day today and I'm all ready.  All the work is prepared, all the resources made, all the assessment sheets available - and if you believe that . . .

Today is my last SEN day even as next term I will have officially handed over and stood down.  It's ironic therefore that I am taking my class all day because I want to!  A good way to finish, I reckon.  The end of an era for me although, in reality, I stopped doing the job months ago.  It'll take a bit of getting used to though, I reckon.

Yesterday went well.  The children were surprisingly calm and collected and we had a good time.  I expect today will be the same.  Since the events of a few days ago in India, I count my blessings every time I think about my lovely work place.  What an utterly shocking, disgusting, evil thing to do.

Well, better go and tidy the kitchen before the cleaners arrive!  Have a good 'un!

Thursday, 18 December 2014


At the moment the very first thing I do each morning is check my mailbox.  This is because I have sent the children a Jacqui Lawson card each day as an Advent thing and I need to send it on from my mailbox to theirs on our Learning Platform.

Once in there I had a lovely surprise.  Ages ago I ordered a book, 'Pioneer Girl: the annotated autobiography'.  I've always been a great fan of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and it's obvious that many events in the books have been watered down or amended to make them 'suitable' for the young readership at the time they were written.  There's also much that she left out, understandably.  However, her own private writings and what we know of her life tell a somewhat different story and this is what the book is all about.
Anyone interested could follow this link that takes one to a sort of book blog, describing how the book was put together, some of the research, the findings, oh, all sorts of things.  I find it fascinating and am so looking forward to the arrival of the book.

It has taken Amazon a long time to track a copy down.  It's a new publication and, I gather, very, very popular.  I had almost given up on receiving a copy at all.  Oh, me of little faith!  It's is due to arrive on Monday and, thank goodness, I asked for it to be sent to my home address, not to school as I usually do.  I now (as of about ten minutes ago) gather there will be a second print in the new year so I suppose I would have received it at some point.

Now the big question will be do I start reading it straight away or do I wait . . . maybe not such a big question after all?

As expected, yesterday was another enjoyable day.  It was violins in the morning and PPA in the afternoon, being Wednesday, and no staff meeting after school.  Some staff were off out in the evening for the end of term do but I knew I would never manage it so didn't sign up.  I'm glad I didn't because by seven I was snoozing happily under my double fleece and by eight I was tucked up in bed.  As I snoozed, I was vaguely aware of a programme I would have liked to watch with two Famous People (who are brothers in law, something I didn't know) on a hunt for Chrisrtmas wine so I'm crossing my fingers that it is on iPlayer.

Today we have a special drum assembly and quite a lot of finishing off.  I also have a meeting.  There's no let up yet!

And now coffee is calling so I must answer its call!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Two more sleeps, three more days.  That's all.  As I said in an email to someone yesterday, in September it seemed endless but now I think 'Where on earth has the time gone?'

Mind you, these last three days are far from a walkover, whatever people may say.  Apart from anything else, we have 29/30 children to keep occupied and 'usefully employed' and the best way to do that is to stick with the normal learning routines with a fair amount of 'strictness' to balance the natural excitement.  OK, so maybe Friday will be a little relaxed but children thrive on routine and firm boundaries and they will still be in place, come what may.

So - yesterday was the panto.  I expected it would be super and so it was - with bells on.  This team has the primary child 'psyche' down to a T and their performance for the infants was packed with laughs, songs and enough borderline 'rudeness' (to the child mind) to have them glancing anxiously at their adults before collapsing in peals of laughter in true panto tradition.

And then that after school meeting.  I don't want to go into details now but it was positive, helpful, encouraging and really opened things up for me in a way that will benefit me in the near future and also in the more distant future.  All good stuff and, in a way, an early Christmas present.  There were moments that weren't too comfortable for me in a 'ooops, am I going to cry' sense but I got through them OK.   Phew.

Today is more or less a normal day which is quite a relief.  I expect it will be fun!  I hope yours is too.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


(but started Monday evening)

I'm sitting here in front of Pointless feeling somewhat stunned.  A parent, whose children I have taught in past years and who still regularly comes to help, went to Cologne Christmas market over the weekend and came back with THE most beautiful blown glass Christmas tree decoration.  For me!
I think I have said before but I do like to get a special ornament for the tree each year.  This year I haven't seen anything that has called out to me.  Now I don't need to look any more.  I will take a photo at some point so you can see how utterly beautiful it is (and unique, being hand blown).  It's fragile which, to me, makes it all the more precious, and it is irridescent.  Absolutely beautiful.

Now, being realistic, they probably turn these out by the hundred but I really don't care.  To me it is very, very special.  Perhaps I shouldn't have accepted it but I have no wish to crush the giver and have accepted it with the gratitude the kindness deserves.  Thank you.

Yesterday was good for lots of reasons.

First of all, we got our DT project finished with the making and evaluating of our vegetable soups.  It was a complicated project and I could never have done it withough the help of my morning and afternoon TAs who are absolutely brilliant.  None of the class refused to try the soup they had made or the soup others had made.  Many of them thought it was all delicious.  A few disliked them but they ploughed their way through anyway.
I'm so glad that's done.  I had dreams about the logistics of the whole activity over Sunday night - not bad dreams, just circular dreams.  Now I can relax.

Now when one group is off concocting in the kitchen, the others have to work too and their challenge was to design a soup carton 'cover'.  Great fun all round and some excellent efforts.

I got a message regarding a phone call that arrived while I was teaching, saying that the spare parts for the oven had arrived and please would I phone to arrange a time.  I emailed Beth who did the necessary for me and I now hope that my fan oven will be working again by Saturday evening.  Wouldn't that be great?  I hadn't planned to go out on Saturday anyway and will need to be up and ready 'early'.  Seeing as I have often made and baked two loaves of bread by eight, that's not going to be a problem at all.

Since the new dinner menu started after half term I have wanted to try one particular dinner and yesterday it was the vegetarian choice for the day (there's a three week menu for our school dinners).  It was sweet potato and lentil curry so, after going 'oh, fantastic, I must have this' in front of the children, I ordered a school lunch.  Amusingly, because I had raved about it, many of the children decided to take the vegetarian option too, rather than the alternative which was popcorn chicken.  This bucked the trend for the day so significantly that our lovely office lady came to the bay to check that I'd given them the correct choices when I took the dinner register.
I have to say, it was very tasty.  Not enough salt and I'm not quite sure where the 'curry' bit comes in but those are easily remedied and I MUST get the recipe from the cooks.
I hope it is on next half term's menu.

Today is panto day.
Oh, no, it's not!
Oh, yes, it is!!!

Every year we have this travelling theatre company who take over the hall and do two performances of whatever their show is for the year, one for the infants and one for the juniors.  We've had Dick Whittington in the past and a few others I can't now remember.  It's a small company, just three actors so there's loads of quick changing behind the scenes.  Both adults and children have a wonderful time and we are all so looking forward to seeing 'The Wizard of Oz' which is this year's offering.  I'm not sure how they will manage the cast but I know it's going to be fun, fun, fun!

In the afternoon we are making Christmas cards so I guess it will be exciting and noisy!  Great fun all round today!

And then, after school, I will need to sober up for an important meeting.  More about that another time, perhaps.

I feel a bit at a loose end - plenty of time and nothing to prepare.  Better have another coffee then!  And, Diane - safe travelling!

Monday, 15 December 2014


Yesterday was good.  Loads more ironing (OK, not all good then) but it is recent ironing, not months old ironing.  B and A came round and we went food shopping.  All very normal and pleasant.

It's a lot milder today.  I'm thinking of Diane across the channel and hoping that everything is going well for her as she picks up her new puppy.

As for me, it is soup day.  Food technology - making vegetable soup.  Should be fun.

And just five more days to go.

Sunday, 14 December 2014


I'm feeling pretty tired on this cold and frosty morning but it is Sunday so I can go back to bed and have a snooze later if I need to.  As it is, the first wash is in and the kitchen is relatively neat and tidy.

I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped yesterday although the ironing basket is temporarily empty as mentioned yesterday and the kitchen is not too bad.  Maybe I will tackle my bedroom today - that's the real tip of the house right now.

I took some time out to go to school to do some necessary work and then over the road to Morrisons where I spent a ridiculous amount of money buying stuff, some for Christmas and some for cleaning, etc.  On the plus side I got my sixth Christmas voucher and therefore can claim my £25 off a shop between next week and the New Year and I also collected my vouchers from my Match and More card.  The match and more thing is a price comparison thing and you can choose to have your vouchers after the shop or you can save them up and then claim them (which is what I have done).  They not only compare with the main supermarkets, they also compare with Aldi and Lidl which sounds good to me!

In the evening I relaxed with Pointless and then with Strictly (most enjoyable).  I then put on the Muppets Christmas carol but fell asleep after the first quarter of an hour or so!!

Today is planning (not an awful lot though) and preparing for tomorrow which is soup making (food technology).  There will be ironing later on plus sorting out my bedroom.

Beth and Alex are over for lunch (beans on toast, a favourite with us all) and then we're going out shopping.

That's about it for today.  I hope yours is good and, Diane, wishing you and your friend safe travelling and a happy conclusion.

Saturday, 13 December 2014


Another good thing - the ironing is now ALL DONE!
(we won't mention the load in the washing machine or the pile that still has to be washed, OK?)

Saturday and Good Things

On this cold and frosty Saturday morning, I thought I would do a 'good things' list.  It's going to be a busy day and I need to think positive.  Housework isn't my fave activity but a positive start will work wonders.

So here goes.

Lots of parcels arrived at school.  All the things I ordered seemed to arrive over a couple of days.  I now have my (somewhat very immature) Christmas quilt cover and pillow cases set, the new coffee maker (the old one leaks copious amounts of water), the crackers, the gift bags and ribbon . . . oh, loads of stuff.

After a packed week both the children and I were zonked yesterday but they were as good as gold and there were no explosions.  Amazing because it was the Christmas dinner and they were allowed to wear Christmas jumpers (as a Save the Children fundraiser).  There were some very creative efforts including a felt-made effort and a crayoned picture that was then attached to a normal jumper.  It certainly cheered up the classroom with half the children in reds, greens and shine rather then the usual royal blue!

As they were so tired and because lunch was early and games was cancelled (rain), we relaxed over the DVDs of the last two shows, when they were in Y1 and in FS.  They loved it and so did I.

Playground duty on Thursday was cancelled as it was lashing with rain.  Now I only have one more before my half term off.  Yay!

Lots of nice comments about the show.  People seemed to enjoy it.  Also it's the last time we will have to do in in such cramped circumstances as next year the new school hall will be ready.  The DVDs arrive on Monday, we hope.

I might have a mega task ahead in getting the house today but how thankful I am that my circumstances permit me to spoil myself with help in getting the house clean and shiny.  I should have given in and done this years ago.  It makes a huge, huge difference.

Although I haven't yet heard when 'they' can come back to repair one of my ovens, I am glad that I have two ovens and only one doesn't work.  I can cook a Christmas dinner fine with one oven - it's just easier with two.  I have a thermomix, a pressure cooker, a microwave and a halogen oven.  No problems!  I'm making plans, just in case.
Mind you - how many gadgets should one person need???

I may already have mentioned it but last Friday (not yesterday) my darling daughter set to and reduced the contents of my ironing basket to manageable proportions.  She's so lovely!

And, finally, I fell asleep in my chair before 7:00 last night, woke and got myself to bed, went back to sleep and came to at quarter to five this morning.  That's almost ten hours of more or less solid sleep (I think I might have wandered down to the loo at some point overnight) which was much needed and very welcomed.  I feel fine this morning.

So much to be glad about.  Pollyanna would be proud of me!

So - kitchen first, I think, and then I will work my way around.  I may be gone some time!

I've just discovered another.  When I opened the curtains I discovered that all the piles of leaves all over the patio have been blown into neat piles in corners.  Yay!

Friday, 12 December 2014


What a week!  Three infant shows.  Three opportunities for the smallest, youngest children in our wonderful school to show what they are made of.  And did they shine?  Of course they did.  They were absolutely amazing, wonderful, fantastic.

The end of a show is always such a bitter-sweet experience.  One has lived 'show' for five or six weeks.  Suddenly there's a huge gap.  No more show.  No more rehearsals.  No more dance practise.

To  more than counter-balance those 'no mores' there are the sweet moments.  The hearty and energetic singing.  The amazing way in which gifted teachers enable their very young children to dance in such a wonderfully precise and wonderful way.  The courageous little soloists whose rendition of a very simple yet complex song brought tears to the eyes of many (including me). The little actors whose interpretations created both smiles and admiration.  Oh, so many, many memories have been made this week.  Everyone has been amazing.

And now it's all over and there's a great big gap in my life.  Sentimental?  Well, of course.  :-)  Sad?  Extremely.

But life goes on.

Thursday, 11 December 2014


Phew.  Nearly there.  One more show to do now - but it is the one that is filmed.  The children will be tired and the excitable ones will be - er - excited.  Ah well, we do the best we can.

Yesterday the children were lovely.  They sparkled.  The tear-jerker moment was very . . . very . . . (gulp).

Yesterday we planned next week's work.  Oh, yes, contrary to rumour, they will be working next week.  There might be a bit of fun work thrown in as well though, you never know.

Today is a full day of work so I'd better get my socks on, so to speak, and get things sorted.  I hope your day goes well.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Only eight more days till the end of term (school days, that is). Eeeeek!

After a lovely night's sleep, I have woken to strong winds and lashing rain.  That's nothing compared with what they've been getting in other parts of the Isles so I guess we're fortunate.  I wonder how hyper the children will be with the wind.

No show yesterday so we had a day's respite.  The two evening shows are tonight and tomorrow night so it's going to be all go!  Fingers crossed.

Yesterday was (as usual) a very good day.  Today should be the same which is nice.  I like Wednesdays with violins and library times to add to the mix.  And must remember to get the children to take their chairs to the hall at the end of the afternoon!

Kettle has boiled and coffee is calling so I'd better go.  Stay warm and, if possible, dry.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Brrr - it's certainly cold out there right now.  There's a very heavy frost which is brightening the darkness and making me feel quite festive.  I'm sure Santa would be happy with the landing conditions, even without snow!

Oh, my goodness, I was tired last night.  The main problem was that on Sunday afternoon/evening I slept for several hours (including through most of Strictly).  Consequently, when I 'went to bed', I wasn't fall-asleep-straight-away-tired.  I did have a peaceful night even though most of it was sleeping lightly rather than deeply, and there were Christmas Show niggles prowling warily around the edges of my consciousness for much of the time.  I should have written a list but I wasn't awake enough for that.

So I woke not totally refreshed yesterday morning, hence the tiredness several hours later.

It was the first of our three performances of Busy, Busy Bethlehem in the morning.  We used to do two performances but for reasons of Elfin-Safety, we now do three.  Three evening performances would be far too much for our littlies so one is a daytime show.

What can I say?  They were lovely.  The show was lovely.  The actors were lovely, the singing was lovely, the costumes were lovely, it was all lovely.  It takes it out of you though when you're in charge, especially when you  have an early morning shock.  This is what happened.

On Friday I put all the important show stuff in a yellow tray.  The numbers for each performance, the music, the script, the performance CD, the reserved signs, the little slips to go on each chair . . . oh, you get the idea.  The lot!  Every important bit of paperwork there was.  Everything I needed.

And because it was the Christmas Fair and my bay was in use Friday evening, I put it away somewhere safe.

Now you have to remember I wasn't feeling well come end of school on Friday to the extent that I was sick (and t'other) all the way through the night.  Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it because . . .

Yesterday morning I COULDN'T FIND THE TRAY.  Yes, it deserves capital letters.  A total and utter disaster.  Talk about a panic.  Had it vaporised?  Had it walked?  All sorts of ridiculous and impossable scenarios flashed through my brain.

My colleagues were wonderful.  They got the hall set up while I searched and, as is always the way, I found the tray in a very sensible place.  And yes, I remembered putting it there too - when I found it.

But the show was lovely!  And that's what it is all about, isn't it?

Did I sleep well last night?  Well, what do you think?

Monday, 8 December 2014


A good day yesterday, despite the dullness of the weather in the morning.  I had a rare old time in the kitchen once I was feeling better.

First of all, recently I decided that having a reasonably expensive pressure cooker and not really using it was more than a bit daft, so I boiled a ham in it.  Half an hour, it took, the ham didn't shrink much, it cooked moist and tender and there's some really delicious stock left.  It's not too salty either, so I reduced it down and I guess ham and lentil soup is on the cards or ham and pea soup using frozen peas.  What's not to like there?  One to remember, I think.  Not to self - use pressure cooker more.

I made some white bread as planned and then decided I fancied having a go at some spiced bread using a Thermione adapted recipe from an original found on the Good Food site.  It took a while - not one to make if you're short of time - but, oh, so delicious.  I've blogged about it in Teacher's Recipes here.

In a mad moment I went online and (don't laugh) bought a Christmas quilt cover and pillowcases.  The sensible part of me said 'How utterly daft' and the merry festive part of me said 'Whoooooopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!'  I suspect my second childhood took over.

A bit of a damper.  Beth and Al (quite rightly) decided to give this week's lunch a miss as I was so poorly on Friday night.  They're quite right, of course, and it set me a-thinking.  When the children are ill the rule is 'so many hours' since the last incident before returning to school.  As teacher, do we follow that advice?  Do we heck!!!  Dave was coming over to let me 'test drive' his car but he also decided that discretion was the better part of valour and cancelled.
So I have rather a lot of leek and potato soup left over.  Just as well it freezes well.

I'm very glad that I was feeling rotten on Friday night because I can return to school on Monday, integrity intact, without creating any panic about the Christmas show.  Thinking about it, I realised that if I was not to be there on Monday it would be very, very difficult for my colleagues.  Not only have I trained the 'cast' I also play the piano at the beginning and the end of all the dances.  It doesn't sound much, I know, but would take some re-organising.  Must do somethimg about that.  No-one should be irreplacable.

With that thought, I'd better start gathering stuff together and going through my planning.

Sunday, 7 December 2014


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's still chilly here but nothing like it was yesterday and my lovely double fleece is keeping me good and warm.  Things have now picked up and I feel so much better, thank goodness.  I feel bad at missing yesterday's planned things because it will make tomorrow so much more difficult, but there you go, that's life sometimes.

At some point yesterday my blog counter clicked into the 50,000s.  For a little, non- specific, ordinary blog I'm quite chuffed.  Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me over years as well as to newer readers and those who pop in occasionally.

Well, what about today?  All of yesterday's things, I guess, plus Beth and Al coming for lunch and I might make another batch of bread and freeze it for Christmas.  Or there again, I might not.  It's hardly a hassle and by then I will be on holiday so can make some several times a day if I really wish.

At school, this is all the rage.

You put in your soup, put on the lid, take your soup to work or whatever and then, at lunch time, open the little red thing at the top, heat your soup in the microwave, take off the lid and drink it straight from the mug.  It saves faffing about with pots and so on, definitely saves on the old washing up and is just a Good Ideas - so I bought one and it arrived on Friday!

Me being me, I also bought a couple of others, different sizes, for things like pasta or casserole.  Will I use them?  I do hope so.

Now I need coffee so I will sign off and get on with stuff.  Have a good Sunday!

Saturday, 6 December 2014


I'm feeling more than a bit dopey after a rotten night.  I have no idea what happened but I was up and down like a yoyo, both ends, rotten cramps including some leg cramps too, for some reason.  I'm still feeling drained, uncomfortable and tired so I shall go back to bed soon and see if I can grab some more sleep.

It's annoying because I had things planned for today but will have to cancel.

Yesterday was OK except that the oven still isn't repaired.  They need to order parts - it might be touch and go to have the second oven by Christmas.  I'll manage but . . .

There's a heavy frost outside today which looks rather lovely, were I in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.  However, I am not, so I will bid you farewell and get myself upstairs again.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 5 December 2014


Welcome to what is a chilly Friday morning here.  Brrrrrrrrrr.  Yesterday was the most dark and dismal day I can remember in a long while.  It drizzled from dawn till dusk and beyond and, of course, it was just my luck to be on playground duty.
well, of course.

The dress rehearsal went worrying well.  There were glitches, of course, and a few unforseen organisational issues, as always, which is one of the main points of a dress rehearsal for us.
It's always hard to be objective when you've been wrapped up in rehearsals for several weeks but people told me it was lovely.

Today is SEN day with some working from home, possibly.  I can live with that.

And now for coffee!!!

Thursday, 4 December 2014


It's dress rehearsal day today and I'm all jittery and twitchy and woke really ridiculously early, even for me.  The filming man is in too, to take shots of things for the DVD and the Essex Chronicle photographer might be in to take a photo, although that's not necessarily a dead cert.

After that it is my coordinator time so I can muse over all the things that went wr - I mean rejoice in the excellence of what we have to offer, remembering the saying about dress rehearsals (or not, depending).

The rest of the day should be what passes for normal!

I shall be glad when next Thursday is all over!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Just a quick one because really I said it all last night!

It feels cold this morning.  No frost but I was glad to shut the front door after a quick peek out and the radiators are doing their usual efficient job, thank goodness.

Afyter a busy day yesterday, today is a tad more relaxed with Violins and PPA this afternoon.  I had a great night's sleep so am hoping that I won't feel the urge to fall asleep in staff meeting.

I'm also hoping that by Friday evening I will have a working oven again.  One of the ovens on my range has stopped working and 'the man' is coming in on F4reiday to, hopefully, repair it.  I can do Christmas dinner for six on (or in) one oven but two would be much more helpful and make life a lot easier.

Beth - a reminder!!!!

Have a good day and stay warm.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


After a VERY hectic day at school I am taking time out  and doing not-an-awful-lot this evening.  I will probably regret it tomorrow morning but right now I don't care one little bit or two hoots, which ever is the biggest!

Therefore I have decided to do a late blog entry.

Without going into detail, I've been working hard to get my assessments up to date for a meeting.  That's now happened and it is done and dusted.

As well as that we have had the second run through of the Infant Christmas Show today and, thank goodness, it all went well.  That's a huge weight off my mind too.  To be honest, I'm not sure I could work, even if I wanted to so it is just as well I don't need to.

I popped into Morrisons this evening to get something to relax with (make of that what you will!!!) and realised, to my delight, that all the new foody mags were on the shelf.  I'm an utter sucker for foody mags, sadly, and revel in them through the month.  I am now looking fondly at a pile of  reading material that will give me both entertainment and pleasure as well as being useful, I hope.

I don't know what the weather has been like your way but it's been a dull, dark, dismal and damp day (how's that for alliteration?) which has been gradually getting colder and colder as the day progressed.  There's been a fair old wind too, which has made it feel colder.

So when I walked through my front door this evening, I was immensely grateful for the central heating!  Now I need to work at staying awake until a sensible bed time!

< satisfied sigh! >

Monday, 1 December 2014


Pinch and punch for the first of a new month.  Welcome to December.

I'm in a bit of a rush so this is quick.  It's been a hectic weekend and I don't quite know how I'm going to fit everything in this week so if I'm not around don;t worry, I'm OK, just very busy!

Have a super week.