Monday 31 October 2011

Monday morning

More views from Hyde Hall

And so the holiday ends.  Time has been handed back to the great god, work.  Planning is done, resources prepared - main, simplified, extended and really challenging for the G&T children (yes, four different levels), the title page for the new theme is ready for photocopying and today we start learning the songs for the Christmas Show.  Ho hum!

It's been nice though.  I feel I've had a rest.  Can't ask for more really.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Sunday morning

I wonder what she did with the middle.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies?
 As regular blog readers will know, I do like to support local businesses, especially those set up by mums from school.  Last week I posted about Just Jules cakes and today it's the turn of Inspire Floristry, a flower arrangement business run by a mum I've had a fair bit to do with over the years as I taught her older daughter as well have having her little one in my class right now.  Very autumnal, very Halloween-ish and it looks lovely on my dining table!  It was a little End-Of-Half-Term treat to myself.

I had a lovely day with DG yesterday while his mum went to a cat show.  We played make believe, we went out to the local pub for lunch and then he disappeared upstairs to play.  I heard him banging around for a while and then realised it had all gone quiet so went up (as you do) to see what was up, to discover him fast asleep on one of the spare beds.  Bless him, he has had a busy week this week.  Maddison Heights on Monday, the London Eye, etc, on Wednesday and Disney on Ice ('absolutely brilliant' said he afterwards) on Friday.  All organised by his school's Discovery Club.  Fantastic.

A loved her scarf.  She raved about it in my facebook mailbox and then came over to chat.  As a result we have a Cunning Plan.  I'm saying no more now as it might not work, but we will see.

Sadly, today is the last day of the half term break.  It's been a lovely week in which I did manage to do a lot of the 'specials' I had planned, although not necessarily in the 'right' order!  Ikea, Hyde Hall, lunches out, plenty of r&r, Hobbycraft . . . what's not to like there?  It's been very satisfying all round.  Shame about the bedroom, shame about the housework, shame about the ironing - but one must get ones priorities right!
And talking of priorities - the planning is done and printed, so that's good too!  See, I'm not just a pretty face . . . well, not a pretty face at all, in fact!  :0)

Footnote:  for all my lovely readers - please do feel free to leave a comment if you want.  Comments are good (and any that aren't will be deleted anyway!) so I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday 29 October 2011

Saturday morning

An interesting bench at Hyde Hall, but I wouldn't think it's all that comfortable, would you?

I got to bed uncharacteristically late last night, or rather early this morning, so am up correspondingly late now.  I know some might say seven is not late but it is for me!  The reasons - I was watching Murder on the Orient Express (the Finney version) and knitting a scarf and just didn't feel tired!  Actually, I didn't feel tired when I finally went up to bed, but fell asleep pretty quickly.

One of the things I bought from Ikea was a memory foam pillow.  Not one of the lumpy ones, one of the shaped ones.  The memory foam topper has eased all the aches I used to feel after a night's sleep, all except for neck and shoulders, so I though it was worth the money to give it a try.  It felt odd - different - but I ended up finding it very comfortable and woke this morning without the usual aches, so I'm feeling hopeful that it will be the answer.

Diane (Good Morning Early Readers) would be proud of me.  After making a scarf for DD with the can can yarn she told me about, I used the remainder to make a shorter scarf suitable for a little girl, being flouncy, pink, purple and lilac, and with a hint of glitter about it.  I gave it to the little girl two doors away, who was thrilled to bits.  Her mum also liked it and messaged me to ask if I could make one for her in teal.  As it happened, very coincidentally, one of the balls I bought from Hobbycraft was just the colour she wanted, so I got going last night and finished it just as the Poirot finished.  That's an indication of how fast it knits up, for sure.

Today is going to be a busy day.  DD is going to a cat show so I have DG all day.  George is coming to make the garden look nice, DG and I are out for lunch, I have to wait in for a flower arrangement delivery and I have to go into school at some point, although I'm beginning to think that the latter isn't going to get done.  It's not a disaster if it doesn't, it just means I have to bustle around a bit longer next week.

And I MUST do some ironing!  Must, must, must!  Boring!

Friday 28 October 2011

Friday evening

Leaves at Hyde Hall - yes, it was raining!
Well, we finally made it, DD and I.  We got to Ikea, did our shopping, got a lot of what we were looking for, came back home and had a late lunch together to make up for not doing it on Wednesday.  A very pleasant day indeed.  And now I am tired .

We were about half an hour ahead of the crowds in Ikea.  As a result, it was pretty pleasant with room and time to wander around without too much bumping and jostling.  DD found the furniture she wants, I found some white serving dishes but the paper napkins I wanted weren't there.  I wanted red and green - Christmas green, not Ikea green.  They did have red napkins, but only small ones, so I will need to look elsewhere.  We found boxes for the Christmas gifts and I got a box that will be ideal as a story box.  We found plastic bins that will be great for storing recycling stuff.   We got Christmas wrapping paper and . . . oh, lots of things.  And we didn't have to queue for ages at the checkout.

That's the last time I'm even going to think about going to Ikea until after the New Year sale has well and truly finished though.  It's a nightmare in there sometimes!

Friday morning

There were lots of these cherry trees with the most enormous fruit.  I'm guessing they are ornamental.  Plenty of food there for the wildlife, that's for sure.

The woodman.  Very cleverly put together and watching over an area that is dure to be developed as an environmental and educational resource.  The log piles are already in place, dotted around on the grass and they've started tree planting too.
I'm in a bit of a hurry this morning so won't post much now, but I will be back later!  I came in to put up these few more photos from yesterday.  Hope you like them.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Thursday evening

Well, we went, Lesley and I, despite the rain, to Hyde Hall for our Autumn visit.  It was just mizzling when we left Chelmsford, seemed to be clearing when we got there, reasonably dry while we had an early lunch, OK when we set off up the hill, and then it started.  Down came the rain!  For a short time it was quite heavy, but we were under the trees and didn't get the worst of it.  The rest of the time it was steady but not too heavy.  As we walked down the hill again to the shop it stopped raining!  And you know what - it didn't make any difference.  We still had a lovely time.

Lunch was scrummy.  They make a good soup at Hyde Hall.  Last time it was roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup.  This time it was good old leek and potato, absolutely delicious.  The sort of soup I would like to make myself.  A proper, home-made texture, well seasoned and piping hot.  With it we had a big chunk of walnut bread.  I strongly recommend it to anyone who visits.

As we wandered through the shop to the entrance, we noted several things to look at more closely at the end of the visit.

It may have been raining pretty steadily as we explored the gardens, but it really didn't matter.  After all, what are brollies for?  It was very different to the last time we visited, at the start of the Summer holidays.  Then the flowers dominated, demanded attention, totally swamped the more subtle beauty of the foliage.  Today the autumnal colours dominated.  Reds, yellows, purples and oranges all jostled for attention.  It didn't seem in the least bit dull as we wandered down pathways, across lawns and over bridges.  There were still a few, increasingly bedraggled, reminders of summer but the asters, dahlias, grasses and berries caught and held the eye.  It was wonderful, and I took enough photos to keep this blog illustrated for several days to come.

Finally we wandered back to the shop and spent a lovely half hour or so perusing all that was on offer, buying here and there, putting back more than we put in our baskets, always with Christmas very much in mind.  We both tried a perfume tester - mine was rose and Lesley's was peony.  They turned out to be stronger than we expected and we ended up driving back to Chelmsford with open windows to avoid being gassed! 
I found a little Christmas tree cutter, so small that I had to hold it in my hand as it would have slipped through the gaps in the basket.  At the checkout, both ladies looked, admired and asked where I got it from.  As I put in my PIN number, one of them slipped off and returned with two, one for each of them and they were hurriedly ringing them up as we left the shop. 

So - all in all a lovely day, despite the rain.  I'm glad we went.


Yesterday was a very odd mix of sun and showers, clouds, varying temperatures and rainbows.  It's obviously been raining overnight but seems to be dry at present so fingers crossed.  It would be just my luck to have pouring rain today.

I haven't had very much good fortune with my plans this week.  Monday's Ikea trip didn't happen, yesterday's lunch out didn't happen and if it's simply bucketing with rain I guess today's planned trip to Hyde Hall won't go ahead either.  But let's not be pessimistic - yet!

When Lesley and I went to Hyde Hall in the summer, we promised ourselves that we would go again when autumn had landed.  I'm very much looking forward to it and have put my camera on change to ensure I have enough battery power.  I keep thinking I ought to get a better camera.  Mine is very old now, the viewing window is tiny, you can't see what's on it in the sun and the zoom and close up are not so good really.  Things have moved on so much and prices have dropped considerably.  I paid just over £400 for my camera, including bag, etc, which, at the time, was a middle of the road price.
Anyway, it will have to do for now and I'm sure it will catch the autumn beauty of Hyde Hall in a very  satisfactory manner.

The green tomatoes are all gone now, made into chutney.  There's a number of red ones ripening in a bowl on the window sill, but they won't last long.  A couple of breakfasts and a salad should see them off and that's the end of their story this year.  Thinking ahead to next year, I am umming and ahing about getting grafted plants again.  Certainly they were very trouble free, no issues apart from a wee tough of blight, caught early and dealt with without any further problems.  They cropped quite heavily.  However, they were very slow growing and late ripening, which was frustrating and they were very expensive.  I shall have to ponder . . . plenty of time now.

Wednesday 26 October 2011


It looks as we have had rain overnight here, which is a very good thing.  I know other parts of the British Isles have had more rain than they know what to do with, but down here it's been as dry as an old bone and the ground is rock hard.  It's a shame the rainfall can't be shared out a little more evenly.  It feels quite cold too, but not icy cold.

Yesterday was another pleasant day and now we are just about half way through the holiday.  I met up with Liz (who used to teach Y1 with me until she retired just over a year ago now) and we went to the Fox and Raven for lunch.  I mentioned this a while ago when another friend, Sue, and I went there, also for lunch.  As before, we had a lovely time.  It wasn't too crowded, the service was good, the food was delicious and we had a really good natter, catching up on all sorts of stuff.

When we got back and she had gone, I popped over to Morrisons and now I have all I need to make green tomato chutney.  I think it's about time to finish off the remaining tomatoes - some have ripened, most have not.  I think I will make it quite a spready chutney, rather than a 'lumpy' one and I think I'll add a mixture of dried fruits rather than just sultanas.  I'm sure it will be nice anyway.

It's DDs birthday today.  Happy Birthday, love, hope you have a great day.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Tuesday morning

One day down, four to go (plus a weekend).  Yesterday I intended to go to Ikea with a friend but she wasn't well so I didn't go.  So, in the interests of half term-itis, I idled the morning away exchanging social stuff on Facebook followed by a trip to Hobbycraft plus Boots to get some hearing aid batteries.  They've moved things around in Hobbycraft since I was last there.  The wool is now upstairs which is good because I tended to miss upstairs unless there was a specific reason for going up there.  They had some Can-Can yarn on special (still expensive, just not as expensive as it could be) so I bought some and have learnt a new way of knitting.  Many thanks to Diane for chatting to me on Facebook this morning and giving me some hints!

Monday 24 October 2011

Monday morning

. . . and the real start to the half term break.  Yes, I woke early, but not outrageously early (for me, that is), I went back to bed after a whole and had a bit more sleep and woke just after seven.  Now that's what I call a lie in!!

On Saturday, George (blessings be upon him) dismantled the tomatoes, feeding the compost heap and the green bin with the remains.  When I go out into the back garden now, I miss them.  I've become accustomed to that splash of greenery by the door and it looks terrible bare and bleak now in comparison.  The cosmos are still flowering for all they are worth though, still producing buds galore, still looking attractive (providing the dead heads are removed) and the geraniums are a vivid splash of colour.  The French lavender also is still sending out flowers as are the primroses.  Nice but very odd. 

Better get going.  I need another coffee and then there's things to do!

Sunday 23 October 2011

Sunday morning - very early

It's nearly 3:20 (a.m.) here and I'm down and rather awake.  I've been awake for nearly an hour and it's annoying!  The trouble is, yesterday morning I was up very early, bustled around all day and didn't really sit down at all until late afternoon with the result that once I did sit down I was very tired.  I managed to stay awake through Masterchef and part of Strictly, then went to sleep.  I emerged briefly during Merlin then fell asleep again.  Staggered up to bed, went to sleep quickly and woke, raring to go, at about half past two.  Grrrr.  However, after a coffee I can feel myself nodding off again so shall go back up in a little while and, hopefully, get some more shut-eye.

Yesterday really was a lovely day.  Apart from all the company and that super cake, I was pleased with the food too.  As I wasn't able to do too much, I kept is simple and we had jacket potatoes with cheese, tuna mayo or baked beans for topping, with a nice mixed salad, coleslaw and crisps.  It all looked very nice and, as people kept going up for more (it was a buffet), I think it was well received.  I did make rather too much but that just means I don't have to cook very much for the next few days!  AND the house (downstairs, anyway) is tidy and more or less clean.   Can't be bad.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Saturday late afternoon

Just came back in to show a few photos.  We had a family get together today and, because mum has just had a birthday and DD is just about to have a birthday, we had a cake.  Not any old cake, but a cake made by a local lady (whose children I happen to have taught) who has her own company, JustJules Cakes .  Do take a look at her site.

Isn't it a cute cake?  :0)


It's come.  Half term has started.  OK, so I suppose that, officially, it doesn't start until Monday so I can celebrate twice!  Today is a busy day with people to lunch, the house in a right mess and piles of (pre)ironing everywhere.  Luckily, my visitors know me!!

Yesterday was SEN day.  It turned out to be very productive.  I virtually finished an important report that doesn't actually have to be in until the end of November so I'm well ahead, which is good.  I did plenty of other paperwork, monitored of that of others, had three meetings and generally felt that the day went well.  The children did their very last piece of work on the half term's theme and, amazingly, it took them right to the last page of their books.  That means we can start a new theme with new books without any guilt about wasting paper!

Better go, there's work to be done!!

Friday 21 October 2011

Friday: One more day to go . . .

. . . as we used to sing as children.  Just one day before one sixth of the school year is over and done.  One day before I can safely turn off the alarm clock for nine days.  I suppose I could anyway, I cannot remember the last time I slept up to the alarm but the chances are that the sleep when I didn't set the alarm would be the sleep in a million that I would oversleep!

It's cold again this morning but nowhere near as cold as yesterday.  There's no frost, for a start.  The weather bods say it should warm up considerably, which sounds good.  I shall make the decision regarding shoes and tights or summer sandals just before setting off to school.  And, maybe, when I get home from school (as early as I possibly can) I can have the French window open for a while, to air the house.  Here's hoping.

DG comes home today after five days away on a school residential.  I hope he's had a great time and I daresay I will hear ALL about it over the weekend.  I just hope he hasn't done what my son did - went away on a school skiing holiday and came back ten days later and several centimetres taller.  Really!  He went away shorter than I and when he came home I had to look up to him!  It was a right shock.  No wonder he'd been complaining about aching arms and legs.  Growing pains!

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day but after that I have nice, gentle plans for the holiday.  A trip to IKEA, a trip to Hyde Hall, lunch out with a friend and a birthday (not mine).  And some work in the classroom getting everything ready for the new topic.  Might even get the ironing finished and the bedroom tidy, you never know!  Stranger things happen.

Thursday 20 October 2011


Oh, my, it's cold out there.  There's a frost so I am mighty glad I took the tomatoes in last weekend.  Thank you, DD for encouraging me to do so.  I think it is going to have to be tights and winter shoes today and I thank my lucky stars I don't take outside games (it's my coordinator time then).  As ever, cold mornings make me extremely thankful for my warm house and the wherewithal to keep it so.  I gather there's snow about in the North, which is rather early, even there.

Yesterday was another really pleasant day (if somewhat chilly).  J and I had our PPA and managed not only to sort out the literacy/theme planning for the first week back after half term but also the maths for the second week back.  I do like it when we can get ahead!  We had a good look at Letters and Sounds and this new year 1 phonics test too.  A very helpful session all round.  And then, in the ICT suite, the littlies switched on, logged on, got earphones and jack and connected them up, found their program (Talking Topics) and generally showed a lot of independence.  At times in the ICT suite I wish I could split myself up into ten different people, I'm rushing hither and thither all the time, but yesterday was calm and orderly.  Lovely!  Not needing to print anything did help, of course!

And, joy of joys, my Wednesday beginners recorder club had actually been practising their B, A and Gs and managed to produce a much more tuneful sound!  What more could an aging teacher ask for?

Wednesday 19 October 2011


Yesterday was one of the nicest days I can remember in a long while.  The sun was shining, playtime was very uneventful, the Important Visitor said what we wanted her to say, saw things the way we wanted her to see them and will make recommendations that we are well pleased about.   Although I worked non-stop through the day (playtime duty, all through lunch break, playtime duty and two meetings after school) everything went very well so no complaints.  Best of all, the lessons were successful, the children were happy and cooperative and I feel they really *learned* things today.  Nothing very eventful happened, it was just a lovely, happy, calm, contented day and everyone went home smiling.

When I got home I laughed my socks off.  Over the weekend I ordered some small brown carrier bags (which I can recommend, if you are OK with large quantities, from and some jam jars (from - also recommended).  On Monday I got an email from the former saying they were delivering on Tuesday and if I needed the parcel left anywhere to put instructions on the door as they charged for redelivery.  So I duly left a note saying 'leave the parcel under the green box, please'.  When I got home, not only had the box of bags been delivered, so had two large boxes of jam jars.  Both delivery companies had taken my instructions to heart so, by the front door, there were two boxes of jam jars, one on top of the other, with the box of bags on top and the green bin fitting snugly on the top box, like a well fitting green hat, the whole thing coming up to shoulder height.  It looked like something from The Village With Three Corners with a surreal twist to it and I bet whoever delivered second must have had a good laugh, as I did.  I'd have taken a photo but the camera battery needed recharging (and still does, must get it done!).  I was impressed and pleased with the speed of delivery, especially as I have more plum jam with mulled wine to make, not to mention the greet tomato chutney, and was virtually out of jars.

Regular readers may recall that a while ago DG came to spend the day with me while his mama took a certain Tonk cat elsewhere for mating.  They arrived with a bagful of stuff from the allotment which I promptly turned into a sort of made up on the spot pickle style chutney thing with some bits and pieces from the bottom of my fridge added as well.  We split the six jars it made and I put the leftover half jar in my fridge.  On Sunday we had cheese on toast for tea so I decided to try what I called Allotment Chutney' for myself, DD having said it was scrummy.  She was right.  It was absolutely delicious.  I wish I could remember what I put in it now!!  One thing's for sure - those three jars are not going to be given away as presents.  No way!

Tuesday 18 October 2011


One down, four to go. 

Yesterday was good.  They shone in violins (we've been practising bowing all week!), remembered their own special places on the carpet (only given yesterday morning) and generally worked as hard as a five year old can be expected to work at this stage of the half term.   Today is playground duty day (morning and afternoon) although it's not definite whether there will be any as it's raining and blustery at the moment.  Playtime does happen in slight rain so I had better go prepared, just in case.
Ages ago I saw and bought an umbrella in Matalan - an umbrella shaped and coloured like a ladybird.  It is extremely popular with all the littlies who come running up for a closer look.  As far as I am concerned it keeps me as dry as umbrellas usually do and that's what matters although being easily spotted by any child needing adult help is a Good Thing as well.

Since I got tilt and turn windows for the back bedrooms, I do like to have mine a little bit open in all but the very coldest weather.  The last few weeks I have been increasingly chilly under my summer quilt so I guess the time has come to dig out the higher tog quilt - or rather, to buy one.  I don't spend an awful lot on quilts so, as I like them fluffy and light, I tend to chuck them after a while when they become to settled, lumpy and 'heavy'.  In the really hot weather we had late spring (remember that - a lifetime ago) I chucked the old one when I started using the lighter summer quilt.  I guess a trip to Matalan is in order over half term, especially as the weather is forecast to become much colder.  

And finally, a gastronomic disaster in the kitchen.  I've run out of marmite.  We can't have that - how will I manage without marmite?!!  Better make a shopping list, quick!

Monday 17 October 2011


. . . and another week starts.  The last one before half term.  The children are very tired so I guess it's a case of taking it easy, not pushing too much and repeating instructions ad infinitum if necessary!

Again, the house smells wonderful.  The bread maker did its usual magic overnight and I made muffins this morning.  Not banana ones after all, just plain ones with some added cinnamon, cranberries and orange oil.  Nice!

I did the necessary yesterday and dismantled the tomatoes.  There's a lot of green ones but I've laid them in a tray and they will sit before the French window to catch the sun in the hopes that some ripen off.  Those that don't will be chutnified so there's no losers really.  IO felt rather sad though - those three tomato plants have been well looked after this year and it felt wrong, somehow, to just strip them.  Ah, well, the brown bin will be the gainer.  Which reminds me - better go and put it out for collection!

Sunday 16 October 2011

Sunday morning (after the night before)

And what a super evening it was.  Six of us with good food, a few games, plenty of liquid refreshment and laughter galore, enough to make my sides ache.  I managed to stay up and awake until half past ten, which is a miracle for me, and I didn't wake this morning until seven.  It was a shock to find it getting light - that doesn't happen much these days.  Many thanks, Ruth and everyone, for a great evening.

The cheese and sesame biscuits I baked for the buffet were a great hit so thanks are also due to Veejay.  They all got eaten so I will have to think again today.  Looking at my fruit bowl, I guess it has to be banana muffins for the meeting tomorrow (and for tea today), as I have some pretty soft bananas that need eating up.  I will have a good ponder about the barter food.  Decisions, decisions!

My goodness, it was chilly again this morning.  I'm sure there was just a smidgen of frost along the edges of the shed roof when I looked out earlier, although it has gone now.  The tomatoes are OK but I do have to decide when to cut the remaining fruits and bring them in to ripen (or not).  I was hoping for more outside ripening but . . . well the first heavy frost cannot be too far away now, can it?

Yesterday I did a count of all the jars of jams and chutneys I have for gifts.  They made a brave show, all lined up.  I also had a look at my much reduced collection of jars, decided I am unlikely to get many of the used ones back again, found a 'sale' email in my mailbox from the Jamjar Company (which I can thoroughly recommend) and placed an order!  I also found a company that sells all sorts of paper carrier bags - I've been wondering about how to pack the jars as presents for friends, parent helpers, etc - so bought some of them too.  I can doll them up with glittery stuff to make them festive! 

Better go and start thinking kitchen stuff . . . just look at the time - nine thirty!!!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Saturday: early one morning before the sun was rising . . .

And it is early today, considering I've been up for well over an hour.  It's always so on Saturdays but yesterday evening didn't help, given that I was fast asleep in my recliner at just after seven and woke just before nine, went up to bed and fell straight asleep again.  I am going to HAVE to have a sleep during the day as we have a Witches' get together this evening so the last thing I want to do is fall asleep early and miss all the fun!  The joy is that it IS Saturday, so I can (have daytime sleeps, I mean)!

Now, what shall I take to the Witches this evening?  I have promised them bubbly.  Not the expensive vintage sort, the reasonably cheap and cheerful sort.  It's the nibbles I'm pondering on.  I picked up a lovely recipe from an online friend, Veejay, for cheese and sesame biscuits, dead easy, which I will make and, hopefully, manage to resist before the event.  But what else?  Flapjacks, perhaps.  I will have to ponder.
I have to make something anyway as we're having an Infant staff meeting on Monday after school and, as the team leader, I provide something nice and nibbly.  It's lucky all the busy stuff has now past and gone, the planning is all done and I have an easy weekend of it.

I think I've mentioned that I have this barter system going with a colleague.  She gives me eggs from her hens and I give her whatever is the current gastronomic delight!  Last Monday it was a loaf, very fresh baked in the breadmaker - good idea for a barter, thought I, will do it again.  I then heard that she and her husband have a bread maker.  Darn it, not such a good idea after all!  However, we were chatting yesterday and she said how much she and A had enjoyed the loaf, it was so lovely and light, her breadmaker produces quite a solid loaf and they preferred mine.  After a little chat about adapting recipes, etc, it seems that it wasn't such a bad idea after all and so I will do it again at some point, maybe shaped like a cottage loaf next time.  I think this week I will make extra of the cheese and sesame biscuits for her.

As is often the way early on a Saturday morning, the house is starting to smell good.  I decided to make a batch of fresh cream of roasted tomato soup for lunch as the tomatoes have been piling up and need using.  So at the moment the tomatoes, some onion and some garlic are slowly roasting in the oven and they smell wonderful.  Then I will add some stock (probably low sodium Marigold with a splash of white wine), let it simmer to loosen all the sticky bits from the tin and then push it all through my mouli.  That's about it really, maybe a touch of sugar and then the cream just before eating.  Doesn't that sound delicious?

Well, better go and do some stirring!  Have a lovely Saturday.

Friday 14 October 2011

Friday: looking for the hair necessity

From time to time all primary teachers find it necessary to - er - check their hair!  I have no idea whether this in a necessity for secondary teachers.  I suspect less so, but am happy to be corrected.  The prudent teacher makes it a monthly routine in a 'just in case' way but, irritatingly and itchingly, sometimes the need to do so arises at other times as well.

I am fairly sure that most primary teachers have, somewhere in their home, a fine tooth comb.  I would say it was an absolute necessity, top of the list of things to pop in a 'welcome to teaching' pack!  A kind of dire warning of things to come . . .

Unfortunately, it became a necessity to look for the wee blighters this week.  The letters went home with the advice on the back.  I would normally do the necessary as part of my morning ablutions but my head was so itchy I decided to go nit hunting last night.

Problem - big problem - I couldn't find the fine tooth comb.  Conditioner there was in plenty but no comb.  Aaaarrgghh.  The only late opening shops around here are not likely to stock such an item and anyway I'd had a couple of glasses of stuff so wasn't going to drive.  One needs fortifying before such a task, you know!

In the end I gave up and went to bed, vowing to be hammering on the door of Morrisons at 8:00 in the morning.  It was obviously preying on my mind (as well as in my hair) because I dreamed that I was still searching for that dratted comb.  When I woke this morning, I looked in the place the dream told me it was and, lo and behold, there it was, showing its perfect teeth in a wide and glorious smile!  Dreams can be very helpful at times.

So now my scalp is tingling, all the loose hair has gone, my hair is smooth and clean and did I find any little visitors?  Nope, not one!  Not even a teeny baby one.  And just to stop any rumours, the fortification this morning was of the caffeine variety, OK! 
I will repeat the process tomorrow and Sunday, just to be safe, but I think it's going to be fine.  Phew . . .

There's something about just the thought of nits that makes ones head itch madly.  Mine still is.  After reading this I bet yours is too!  :0)

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Wednesday evening

Deep, relaxing breaths.  Calming thoughts.  Intense gratitude.  Another set of consultation evenings over and all's well in our year 1 world, both for me and my coworker.  The appointment I was so desperately worried about to the point of nightmares  went fine.  Thank goodness.  And thank you to all my lovely friends who have been so supportive.  Love you!

And the house still smelled lovely and chutney-ish when I walked in this evening.  I'm so glad I am a homey sort of person!

Seven days till half term.  That's all.


Good morning, everyone!

As I type this, there's an aroma wafting around the house that started off rather acrid but is becoming increasingly mellow as time goes by.  Yes, it's that apple and tomato chutney I was talking about.  Only I would make a pan of chutney before going to school!!!  I did think about it yesterday evening, for a nanosecond, while watching a programme about earthquakes on Eden, really I did!!!  Seeing as the tomatoes had already been prepared, and seeing as I feel quite bright and breezy this morning . . . well, I'm sure you get the rest!

Yesterday, to my delight, Morrisons had plums in so they jumped into the trolley, followed by a quick jog round to the red wine shelves where they had the mulled wine.  So that's the next job.  It really is such a very delicious jam and just right for Christmas presents:  I have some already but I want to keep some for myself as well.  And the job after that is dealing with the green tomatoes.  I have a feeling the first frost can't be all that far off and that will be the end of the tomatoes (which are still ripening very nicely, thank you!).  Must dig out some green tomato chutney recipes.

DD and I have taken to clubbing together for our Christmas presents whenever possible.  This year I seem to have done most of the making so DD said she would get the boxes, baskets, etc, in which to display the jars.  Sounds good to me!  We're hoping to get to IKEA over half term and I will look for gold/red/green tissue paper that I can shred to use as packing.  Oooh, I'm feeling all merry and festive just thinking about it!  Nice!

The fruit salad activity was very popular.  Some of the littlies were quite put out that they couldn't just dive in and help themselves, but had to restrict themselves to what they had planned last week.  Oh, the delights of food technology!  And one little lady told me she really didn't like any of them except the strawberries.  Ho hum!!

Today is PPA until playtime, followed by an hour in the ICT suite.  The afternoon is also organised but not too heavily.  There's a small task to do and then they can 'choose' while I get things ready for straight after school.  It's the early session today and I have my first parent at 3:20 which is a bit ridiculously early really but it helped her.  So all has to be set out and ready before our library session at 2:35.  And then it's a downhill slope to half term.  Woohoo!!!

Tuesday 11 October 2011


One down, one to go.  I was solidly blocked from 6:00 to 8:40 and, for once, managed to keep to time until right at the very end.  Amazing!  When I get to school I will be greeted by a bay that was left just as it was because, at 8:50, I just couldn't face sorting the books and moving the tables and chairs round.  I got home and more or less went straight up to bed - which was a mistake because the brain was still very active after all that listening and talking so sleep was elusive and fitful.  Never mind, the next one isn't until tomorrow, is the earlier session (3:30 to 6:00) and is not nearly so solidly booked.  There will be breathing spaces!

Apart from that, it's fruit salad day today, which should be good fun.  They've done the gathering of data,  making the graph (good old IT) planning what they want and how to make it.  Now it's the real deal.  No manky tinned fruit salads for us!  They were horrified to realise that the one we opened and 'explored' had just three half cherries in it - one and a half cherries, that's all.  And they were small!  Ours will be a lot more colourful and tasty!  No cherries, but plenty of strawberries!  And some lovely mums coming in to help too.

After school I have one meeting and then it will be home early and some serious R&R.  Oh, and, if I remember to get the ingredients, some making of apple and tomato chutney.  That should sort out the sleep problems in preparation for tomorrow.  And then things should easy off, calm down, become less pressured again as half term nears.  Phew.

Monday 10 October 2011

Monday afternoon

I'm at school, wondering if I need to go home before parents' evening and deciding that yes, I ought to really.  So this is very short and I won't be online later on as I will be talking until past 8:30 after which it will be home and bed.

Feeling nervous.

Sunday 9 October 2011


Here I am, just about ready for parents evenings, just three reports left to write now.  No problem!!  To celebrate, I have made a batch of apple and orange jam with added grand marnier.  It tastes pretty good, though I say it myself.  A pint and a half of apple puree (unsweetened, cooking apples) the juice of five oranges, the finely grated zest of two, a bit of water and some jam sugar.  When it had reached setting point I stirred in the grand marnier.

You may remember I made plum jam with mulled wine a couple of weeks ago.  There had been just a little bit that wouldn't fit in a jar so I put it in a ramekin, covered it and left it in the fridge.  Today I had it on toast for breakfast and, oh, my word, it tasted wonderful.  If I see any late plums in the shop I shall make some more.

And just to complete the preserving trio, I have some tomatoes skinned and chopped and ready to make apple and tomato chutney, but that will have to wait for tomorrow or Tuesday, so in the fridge they will go to keep.

I'm running out of nice jars now, so I must take a virtual trip to the Jam Jar shop to see what they have.  Can't run out of jars and the ones from Lakeland are very expensive.   It's all go around here.

Saturday 8 October 2011


And here we are at another weekend.  Time is flying along, it's nearly half term now with just two weeks to go.  After some poor nights recently, I'm now sleeping like a log, going to sleep stupidly early and hardly waking all night long.  Last night I must have had nearly ten hours of wonderful sleep and I do feel so much better for it.  The cold has finally packed up its bags and left for pastures new as well, which has helped considerably.

Yesterday I had my own performance management which went fine.  My targets are achievable with one that is intriguing.  The review of the old targets was fine.  It was a great relief.

It was a funny, muddled old day too.  Because of complicated reasons which I won't go into here, first it wasn't SEN day, then it was SEN morning, but I did precious little SEN work for one reason or another.  It was nice to get back into class in the afternoon and just potter along with the children (finishing off, Golden Time and Show and Tell, punctuated by a rain splattered playtime).

The weekend is busy.  Busy, busy, busy  It's consultation evenings on Monday and Wednesday . . . better start working then.  have a good weekend.

Friday 7 October 2011


I've missed two days of blog.  TWO WHOLE DAYS!!!  Most unlike me, isn't it?  My excuse is that there's so much to do and little time to do it, mixed with extreme tiredness.  It's been a heavy week and next week will also be heavy, but after that there's one more week and then it is half term.

In between other stuff I have been trying to get things ready for the Christmas (sorry) show.  This year we're doing 'The Sleepy Shepherd' from those wonderful Out of the Ark people who seem to understand just what is needed for a show involving four year olds.  After Snowman and Sunset and Ooops-a-Daisy Angel, I am hoping this one will be as crowd pleasing.

It's been a right week for weather too, hasn't it.  Monday was baking hot again, Tuesday (playground duty day) was cooler and very windy and today (having peeked out) is chilly, so chilly that the heating has clicked on.  The tomatoes certainly appreciated the warmer weather and I have quite a bowlful now.  I'm hoping there will be enough for a batch of chutney - I love red tomato chutney and it seems a better use for them than tomato soup.  Failing that, I will make some lovely rich sauce for pasta, etc.  It freezes well and tastes wonderful.

I may be tired but I'm sleeping well.  Last night bedtime was just after seven (incredible, I know, but may as well fall asleep in bed rather than at the computer, which is what happened the night before) and I woke at half four this morning.  That's a lorra sleep!  One more day before the weekend, that's all.

Tuesday 4 October 2011


After a really good night's sleep, I woke early and came down to get stuck into some work, hence the non arrival of my blog this morning.  Today was the only day this week that I had my dear little class all day and, boy, did I enjoy it.  We had a super day one way and another.

Yesterday I forget to water my tomatoes before school so came home to find them sadly drooping and parched.  It's amazing how resilient plants can be though - I gave them an extra good soaking and they are as right as rain now.  I wonder how much longer they can keep going.  It's cooled off considerably and I guess this very hot mini-summer is just about over.  I didn't pick today so tomorrow there ought to be a basket load!

I will be glad when this week and next are over.  There's an awful lot going on and it's incredibly time consuming.  However, I received news today that reduced me to tears of both joy and relief.  I can't say more but it is such a huge, immense relief, not just to me but to a number of other people.  Something that has taken up a huge amount of my thoughts and time and looked as if it was going to end badly!  But it hasn't.  Big smiles all round!

Monday 3 October 2011


Start of another week.  A very busy week too.  Harvest festival, performance management, half a day for geography monitoring.  That's on top of all the usual stuff and with consultation evenings next week.  Enough to keep us all out of trouble anyway!

Wasn't it hot again yesterday - for those of us living in the south, anyway.  I gather it was damp and miserable up north though.  Maybe it was just about right in the middle.  Today is supposed to be very hot again.  I'm glad I don't have my class today so I can take the car down to the church this afternoon rather than having to walk in the blazing sun. 

Must remember to water the tomatoes before going to school!

Sunday 2 October 2011


It was so hot yesterday, wasn't it?  Hot but not particularly humid, I felt, so much more bearable that it could have been.  And the big difference between heat in Autumn and heat in Summer is that in Autumn, once the sun has gone down, the temperature moderates pretty quickly and the nights and early mornings can be chilly, as it is right now.  Opening the window wide and having the fan on stopped the bedroom from getting too unpleasant during the day yesterday and I shall do the same today as it is supposed to be just as warm.  Tomorrow too, but after that they say it will cool off again and be more normal for October.  With the forecast of very cold weather to come I can't help wondering whether this month will see not only the hottest temperature in October since records began but also the coldest.  Time alone will tell!

As far as I am concerned, the longer the cold weather stays away at the moment, the better.  The tomatoes are now ripening well and every day sees a picking.  Three plants is not enough to provide me with extra ripe fruits for chutney, sadly, although I reckon there will be enough green ones for both chutney and a go at making jam.  I am thinking about having a couple more plants next year.  There should be room as tomatoes don't seem to mind being a bit close to each other.  I must research the heavy cropping varieties, or ask the experts (aka DD or Dad).

Today is a busy day.  I've asked DD not to come over this afternoon.  Not only is there performance management to prepare for, the following week is consultation evenings and there's rather a lot of work to do for that as well.  so this weekend has been a one day wonder and it's a work day today - with resty gaps in-between, of course!

Saturday 1 October 2011

Saturday - a little bit late.

Not a good photo.  It was taken on my mobile.  It was such a beautiful morning yesterday, with mist hanging on the horizon.
Woke up, croaked around for an hour, went back to bed and had a weird dream about being at school on a very hot, sunny day and then seeing all the juniors out on the field and realising that it was snowing and settling too.  That'll teach me not to read 'The Long Winter' before snoozing!!
I love the 'little house' books.  Forget the TV series, sickly, sticky, saccharine slush that it is.  The books are fantastic and paint such a vivid picture of pioneer life.  Yes, they are children's books, but I love them and keep re-reading them, especially the ones written by Laura herself.  Some of the later ones  lose the simple attraction of the early books, I think.

I managed to finish off Jackie's apples by making some apple sauce (or applesauce, as they say over the Atlantic).  I used some to make some apple muffins, as a substitute for the oil and it worked OK, although the texture is a bit 'pudding-y'.  I think they will dry fast though, without any fat to keep them moist.

I was looking after DG today while DD collected Indigo from the stud.  There has, to quote her blog, been 'rampant mating', so I guess there will be kittens at the beginning of December.  We started off, DG and I, with breakfast - bacon and beans - and I saved the bacon fat to fry my tomatoes in for breakfast tomorrow.  There's nothing nicer than home grown tomatoes fried in bacon fat.  Mmmmm.

The cold is still here, the aches are still here, but I think it's all on the last lap now.  I reckon by Monday I will be bright and breezy again.  However, now that DD and DG have gone, I intend to have a good sleep which should help quite a lot.