Sunday 30 June 2013


It's early morning, the sun is shining and the forecast is good.  Lovely!  I look forward to having the windows wide open and fresh air through the house!
Borrowed from Google
I had a lovely day in the kitchen yesterday, baking and making.  All very satisfying and fulfilling.  A shame about the other work, but never mind.  Everything gets done eventually and if it doesn't it didn't really need doing!

Today needs to be a bit busier though.  I'm going to get going as soon as I've finished this entry.  I have washing and drying, planting up tomatoes (they're getting rather big for their small pots), a kitchen floor that is in a bad way and needs at least a sweep over, a dinner to cook (not that it will be that much of a hassle) and various other bits and bobs.

I've posted a couple of recipes in TsRs, in case you're interested.  They're both reasonably frugal and tasty.
Pork, apple and sage burgers
No buttermilk soda bread

Better get started!

Saturday 29 June 2013


After yesterday's little show of bad-tempered weather, I an very glad that the year 2s had their trip on Thursday.  It would have been miserable for them had they gone yesterday.  Cold (but muggy at times), very wet for much of the time and unremittingly dull!  Having said that, there was a little break in the rain during afternoon play so We took the infants out for play and bang on in-time, down it all came again!  So that was very fortunate.  It doesn't look so wonderful today either, at the moment, but I gather, from my son, that it should stay dry.  I hope that's not just wishful thinking on his part, as he has a barbecue this afternoon.

Apart from that, yesterday was pretty normal.  I was handed my dozen eggs and I have to say they must be pampered hens because the eggs are just huge apart from three little extra ones popped in which are from their newish hens and are titchy.  They're just the right size to make pancakes for one so that's what I am doing for breakfast tomorrow and maybe a couple of other days for dessert.  If you don't have to pay for the eggs, pancakes are very frugal.

There's nothing planned for today that is in any way out of the ordinary.  Fine by me.  I love sitting in front of the PC in the comforting knowledge that the bread is rising close by and that in a few hours the house will be filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread.  I'm not a purist and I get Thermione to do all the kneading.  Until recently I made a 500g of flour batch (one loaf) but recently I have started to double that amount.  Thermione copes and it does save time.  I will have half a loaf and Beth and Alex will have the other one and a half loaves.  All good stuff!

The rest of it is all about filing, cleaning, tidying and the usual stuff.  In three weeks' time it will be nice to be able to do stuff like this during the week for a while.  As always, I have a long list of outstanding chores to do!

The bread is rising and I want another coffee.  Have a great day and a very Happy Birthday to Diane, my blogging friend.

Friday 28 June 2013


Weren't we lucky!  It was a lovely day yesterday, albeit a bit muggy at times, and the sun shone too.  Just after the seaside children arrived back it started spitting with rain and carried on most of the evening and, looking at the ground, more or less on and off through the night too.  Never mind, the garden needed watering.
The day trippers had a wonderful time, the sketchers did a great job and all was well in our little world.

When I arrived home and logged on later, I had a little shower of emails awaiting me, from children who had accessed our new and very safe Learning Platform and replied to my email.  I rather like this - it means that I don't now have to print sheet after sheet of work for the children's  homework but can out it all on our section of the LP instead.  The children are very excited about it too.  However, I think I will offer a short session after school for any of my parents who would like me to demo how to log on and a quick tour around the pages.  I suspect some will be far more fazed about it than their children and I intend to offer a quick tutorial on How To Log On and Use The Thing for my parents after school tonight.
I just have to remember to be a little more formal in my emails than normally I would be!

Better start getting ready now!

Thursday 27 June 2013


It's stupid o'clock - at least it was when I came down - and my brain's a-buzzing.  So very annoying!  However, I set to and logged into our new Learning Platform, which I introduced to the children yesterday, to see what, if anything, they had managed to do.  I was greeted by a shower of emails so some had managed to make sense of it all and read what I had sent.  Excellent!  I feel a return shower of house points coming over me now!

It's dull outside and it's been raining because the ground is wet.  I'm hoping that it's going to clear up because today our year 2s are off to the seaside.  No, it's not just a jaunt, they have quite a lot of work to do and it is all because they've been doing a project on the seaside.  We're lucky that we live close enough for an educational visit to be a feasible proposition.  So fingers crossed that it brightens up, that the sun shines and that it is pleasantly warm but not baking hot.

As for me - a full day with my class, three cheers.  We're going great guns with our theme and they're working hard at the moment, albeit they are very tired and generally drooping a bit as the year draws to a close.  Today, weather permitting, it is sketching the school building from the top playground.  I must remember to take a photo before school so I can teach them what to be looking for and so on.

Right now I am enjoying my peppermint tea (it's supposed to be energising me!) and waiting for the porridge to cook.  I put it on really low and by the time it has reached simmering point it's done - no need to stir or anything.  It takes a while but it's easy.  Anything for the easy life, that's me!

Seventeen more days!

Wednesday 26 June 2013


Good morning!  What a dull, gloomy morning it is too.  After yesterday's wall to wall sunshine, it's a bit of a let-down but perhaps it will brighten up later.

Yesterday was nice in other ways too.  Lots of learning done, some good efforts made by all, a delicious lunch and dinner - what more could a teacher ask?

Today is PPA.  Planning, Preparation and Assessment.  All two hours of it.  We have to do our stock order too, so it's going to be a busy one!!  Plenty to do, that's a fact.
Staff meeting isn't a biggie so I'm pleased about that.  There's enough school work to do at home without anything else.  With just eighteen days to go, things are hotting up amazingly!  Wish the weather was the same!

Ah well, as always, better start getting ready.  Can't be late today!

Tuesday 25 June 2013


It's going to be a sneezy, snuffly, uncomfortable day.  My eyes are itching, as are my ears, my nose is bunged up and I'm feeling yuck.  Hay fever has well and truly struck.
Sadly, several of my children are also suffering.  It seems particularly bad at the moment - people who have never had any problems before are starting to itch and sneeze.  It's most unpleasant.

Yesterday was very cold.  The children didn't even ask if they could go out without their jumpers/cardigans and some put on their light coats/fleeces.  It's lovely and sunny now so I'm hoping that comes with a bit of warmth today.  It doesn't look anything like raining so I think outdoor games is safe today.  Excellent!

Things are hotting up in a different way as i realise that sports day is getting ever closer.  My coordinator time today will be packed with printing out and generally getting stuff ready!  Never ending, it seems!

Better go and get ready - school in half an hour!

Monday 24 June 2013


Yesterday turned out to be a very creative day after all.  I was reminded that I still have those strawberries from last weekend, vacu-packed to keep them fresh but definitely in need of using up, so use them up I did with sticks of rhubarb from Beth's garden and some cranberries from the freezer to make up the weight of fruit.  An hour later I had seven pots of luscious jam, one of the best I have ever made and I had all the ingredients in.  I would estimate that each pot costs under 31p so very much in the spirit of frugality.  Of course, it won't always be as good value as that.  The most expensive items were free or  greatly reduced, but that's one of the things frugality is all about - seizing the moment!

Apart from that I was rather lazy which was jolly nice.

Today it's back to work with just 20 days to go.  I should get my reports back soon so will find out just how bad (or not) they are.  Fingers crossed.  The more I think about it, the more I realise maybe it wasn't such a good idea to hand then straight in after finishing them off overnight.  They're probably loaded with mistakes!!

Better take a look at my planning, I suppose . . . time is passing rapidly!

Sunday 23 June 2013


Taken at Hyde Hall using the zoom., last Saturday while we were sheltering from the rain. 

Someone was definitely smiling on us yesterday.  At around 9:40 I contacted George's mum to say tell him not to worry as it's so rotten outside, but by 10:30 the sun was out and he came anyway!  Then it rained a bit more but the June fair, while not exactly wreathed in sunshine (we did get a bit) was dry and very, very well attended.  The main problem was the wind.  They'd begged and borrowed gazebos for each stall and the wind was so gusty we nearly lost ours several times and had to keep hammering in the stakes. Still, never mind - it happened, people came and stayed and spent loads and a great time was had by all.  Many congratulations and thanks to the loyal and hard-working band of very committed mums and dads who have worked incredibly hard to make it all happen so smoothly and efficiently.  You are wonderful!  You do a fantastic job.

It was a day for burning things yesterday.  I slightly singed the bread.  One could now call it very crusty.  I managed to catch the bottom of the savoury mince too, but no harm done there.  I'm dreading the day I put something on to cook and then forget and go out or something equally daft!

This morning, joy of joys, I managed to sleep until nearly seven o'clock, which is why this is comparatively late.  That was because I watched the programme about Helen Mirren followed by Calendar Girls, one of my favourite films, so I was late to bed for me!
It's a bit sunny now but not warm at all and there's a bit of a breeze going on.  Nothing like yesterday though, thank goodness!

Today is chores day (that won't take long then) followed by a bit more baking and quite a lot of sorting out of school stuff.  It'll take for ever but never mind!  So I'd better put some washing in and sort out the kitchen which is looking the worse for wear after yesterday's efforts.  It's at times like these that a maid would be a jolly good idea!

Some posts on the other blog in case you're interested:
Using up leftover bits and bobs to make a savoury mince
Today's Cheaper than Chips menu
More about the savoury mince

Saturday 22 June 2013


Well, we might have guessed.  It's June fair day, we need the weather to be fine and it isn't, it's nasty and manky, cold and breezy, wet . . . good for the garden (the rain is anyway) but not for the June Fair.  It is looking just a little bit brighter, so here's hoping we get some sun between 12 and 3.

I do love my Saturday mornings.  Up early (I can't sleep late) into the kitchen and into Thermione go the bread ingredients for a knead followed by a rise in a big bowl in the warmest place in the house, where the sun is shining in (when it's actually sunny).  Then a knock back and into a bread tin to prove before a baking.  This process makes the house smell good, even before the loaves go in the oven, with that earthy, yeasty, wholesome aroma that you get from bread dough.  As the dough is doing what comes naturally, I am usually creating something else - today it is savoury mince, so that I can use the same oven heat, if necessary.  Today I'm having a try in my pressure cooker though, to see how it goes, and I must remember not to add any extra water as I usually do.

The rest of my Saturday duties are not so much fun really - washing ironing, changing the bed, etc, but dear me, it all has to be done!  Then it's shopping (if I have any to do) and I quite enjoy that, especially when I'm on the lookout for bargains.  With Morrison's being so near, it's not a hassle in any way.

Today there's no school work.  I'm taking the day off completely.  Tomorrow Beth and Alex aren't coming around so I will have a quiet day enjoying life in the way I like.  There's a few bits and bobs to do but it's all sit-in-front-of-the-telly type stuff, so no complaints from me.  I think I will watch a whole load of rubbish telly tomorrow!

You may remember that several weeks ago I ordered a couple of tomato 'grow houses' for my tomato plants.  Well, the plants are here and growing mightily, but the grow houses have not arrived. so yesterday I emailed to find out what was going on (especially as the blurb had said they would be with me within a fortnight).  It seems that there's been a delay (well, yes, I kinda gathered that) but they would be with me next week.  We shall see!!!  Meanwhile, it's so jolly cold I'm bringing my tomatoes back inside again, poor things!

It's dulled up again now and it's wet and nasty!  Boo.

Friday 21 June 2013


The end of another week is in sight.  Three weeks down (nearly), four to go.

I am so, so glad I went back to bed yesterday morning after another waking at stupid o'clock.  Two o'clock is not a good habit to be getting into, is it?  So at around three thirty I felt tired enough to go back upstairs and managed to sleep lightly for about another two hours or so-ish.   The consequence of that is that I was not falling asleep by seven last night and didn't feel that I HAD to get to bed before nine.  And I didn't wake with a headache either, as I usually do when I have an extra sleep.  And this morning I didn't wake properly until my usual time.  OK so my usual time is everyone else's stupidly early but that's not a problem for me!

Yesterday was another rather sticky humid day with some very heavy rain starting at lunchtime and going on until almost the end of school so there was no lunch or afternoon outside play.  And didn't they miss it too!  Poor children!  Poor me as well!

I'm totally back on track with Cheaper than Chips again now and, to encourage me along the road, I popped over to a friend's house and picked up four lots of meat and a packet of thins (a kind of cracker).  M wanted £3.00 for it, I gave her £5 and still felt I've done extremely well out of the deal (as indeed I had).
I got two 500g  packs of good quality mince, one 500h pack of chopped chicken (M and S) and eight sausages.  For convenience I am saying that each item cost £1.00 although it isn't that evenly distributed, of course.

So I intend to use up one of the packs of mince making a savoury mince this weekend with some veg, lentils, oats, chopped tomatoes and herbs.  And then I can flavour it any way I want - thinking of chilli here, of course - when I defrost each portion.  Assuming I add plenty of veg, including some frozen mixed veg, I ought to get about seven or eight portions out of it, which will make a very frugal meal or several!
I might try making it in the pressure cooker and see if it works as well as my usual long and slow simmering in the oven.  Fingers crossed.

A few days ago I noticed that a strawberry was turning red.  Several years ago now, Beth gave me a pot with four strawberry plants.  Since then they have been pretty much neglected except for watering and the occasional slug pellet, but this year, despite the damp cold weather, they have produced more fruit than ever before and it is ripening.  One of these days I will get round to harvesting the baby plants they throw off each year with gay abandon and plant them in another pot.
Today I picked the strawberry (and ate it)  while noting that several more are turning red and you know what - it was absolutely delicious, despite the lack of sun!

Today is SEN day.  Phonic screen to finish off, lots of paperwork to  catch up with, ho hum!!!  And then it's the WEEKEND!

I posted a recipe for a chicken balti (sort of) over on TsRs: here's the link.

Thursday 20 June 2013


What a warm night it was.  I like to be snuggled under my quilt but not last night!  Last night it was on top with the ceiling fan on!  You have to laugh - the day it is announced that we will be getting ten damp, cool summers is so hot I have to sleep on top of the covers!  Mind you - for the last couple of years we have been told to expect a scorching hot summer and it has been quite the opposite so maybe this pronouncement ensures ten lovely summers!

Well, I got the reports done and handed in.  Now I'm full of insecurity about them - they're stupid, they're nonsense, they don't say anything.  I'm the same every year . . .
I just have a few year 2s to administer the phonic screen to and then that's all done too.  I'll get that finished off tomorrow (SEN day) and get the results to the deputy head and tick another thing off my list.  I think the biggie now is the curriculum wheels so I'm going to start on them this weekend so I'm not doing them in a panic at the last minute.  Oh, and getting the internal folder up to date!  And making sure all the assessments are done.  And . . .   < sigh >

Cheaper than Chips has crashed this week, partly, I think, as a reaction to LBTL and partly as a reaction to all the other stuff that's going on right now.  The former is daft because LBTL was fine, not the least bit tricky apart from the caffeine, or lack of.  The latter is understandable, given the way I am and I am being kind to myself here, but I have to get a grip.

Something that is helping me is the chance of some cheap meat.  Not poor meat though.  An acquaintance  popped a message on Fb regarding the need to offload some freezer meat for very good and understandable reasons and I happened to be the first to respond.  I'm very pleased about that!
What I'm not so pleased about is that I had chicken stock in the fridge since Monday and forgot about it.  I'm hoping it's going to be OK - it was strained and covered with a layer of fat so I think it should be.  Diane, do you know?

Well, it's nearly six so I'd better get on and do something with the time.

Wednesday 19 June 2013


I know I have posted this already but I do rather like it!

Sorry about yesterday.  As any teacher reading this will appreciate, things are a bit fast and furious at the moment and I just didn't get round to blogging!  I've been up since two (stupid, I know), working madly to try and get stuff done.  I feel satisfied with what I've achieved but goodness knows what I will be like this afternoon.  I may just have to have my first caffeinated coffee for 11 days in order to keep myself going this afternoon.  Still - I don't care.  I've got a lot of things done and now feel on top of it rather than somewhat panicky!  That has to be a good thing, sleep or no sleep.

I feel none too warm at the moment.  I have the back door open as the kitchen developed a rather smelly bin overnight and I needed to clear the air.  I'm hoping it will warm up just a bit!  The weather forecast seems to suggest that it will so here's hoping.  Unfortunately, it also seems to suggest that by Saturday it will be raining and that's not ideal because it's the June fair.  People work extremely hard to make this an outstanding success so it would be very un-fair if it was rained off.

Today is PPA, of course, being Wednesday, and, joy of joys, the phonic screen is over and done for this year.  Reports are almost ready to hand in and now I can start on the curriculum wheels.  Yippee-doo!

Better get on, I suppose!  Next report coming up!

Monday 17 June 2013


As expected, yesterday was another very pleasant day, although the weather was dull and gloomy and not particularly cheering.

Today the Phonic Screen starts so my tum is churning and I am nervous.  I've done my best and now it is down to the children.

Just in case one of the many spammers who leave silly messages that I delete on a regular basis is reading the messages (which I don't believe for a moment), no thank you, I really do not want a link on your page, entitled 'Big Tits'.  I had to smile at that one - who in their right mind would want a blog like this linked to something like that?  I dunno!!!!!

Sorry this is so random but my brain is whizzing this morning!  Have a good day!

Sunday 16 June 2013


Well, despite the rain which returned in the afternoon, I had a lovely day.

First of all I baked bread, trying a half and half bread flour and ordinary plain flour and it worked a treat.  I prepared stuff for today's meals - put the chicken in brine, prepared the ingredients for the wrap pizza (recipe on Teacher's Recipes), got on with a variety of Saturday tasks including collecting the eggs from Julia, sorting out the kitchen a bit, etc.

Just before two I went to pick my friend Pippa up and off we set to Hyde Hall.  It had rained a bit just before but it cleared up quickly so all was well.  Well, all wasn't really well because we'd just climbed up the hill to the gardens when it rained again and boy, did it rain.  It stopped, it started, it eased off then got really heavy.

We managed to get around some of the gardens but in the end we gave up and walked down the hill, whereupon the sun came out again.  We looked around the garden at the bottom and around the garden centre and before deciding to have a cuppa - and it's just as well we were under shelter because the heavens just opened and there was an almighty downpour.  That was when we decided we'd give it a miss and come back another time.

We got chatting over our drinks and I discovered that Pippa is a volunteer worker at our local food bank, something of which I had no idea , so we talked a lot about that and the sort of help that is needed.  Very interesting indeed.  And then we came home, having made plans to take a few more trips out together this summer.

So, it was a very good day, despite the rain.   A day I am glad happened.

And here's a few photos . . .

Saturday 15 June 2013


The lupins are lovely this year.

I looked out this morning and my heart sank,  It was raining.  I'm hoping to get my long awaited visit to Hyde Hall with a friend this afternoon but not if it is raining.  However, it wasn't long before things dried up and now the sun is shining brightly, trying to make up for its laziness earlier on in the week.  Fingers crossed.

Yesterday started off sunny, then it all gloomed over and there was rain in the air, then the sun came out again and the day ended gloomy, windy and damp again.  A real mixed bag!  Fortunately, the children got their playtimes.  It was a pleasant day all round really.  I got plenty done at school and had a nice relaxing evening with a bit too much to drink, for which I am now suffering, but never mind.  Beth's boyfriend gave me a bottle of his home-made wine - Beth thinks it is sorrel - and it was jolly nice!  I have no idea how strong it is and there's some left which will have to wait a few days now.

Today - well, I hope to get a few more reports finished and the aim is to finish them completely for Monday when I can print them out and hand them in - here's hoping.  It will be nice to get them off my shoulders.  I've done all the assessments and Tracker is up to date so now I have to start on the curriculum wheels which is always something of a pain.

And on Monday it is the Phonic Screen!  Oh joy, oh delight.  What fun, to be sure!  < sigh >
We can't decide what the government agenda is this year.  If they want to 'prove' that they are doing a good job, the screen will be easier than last year.  If they want to 'prove' that year 1 teachers are still a totally lazy shower who need a good kick up their collective backside, the screen (I nearly typed 'test' there) will be harder.  I have results from last year's screen which I administered to my class as an assessment tool a few months ago so we will see how the scores compare.

Of course, it is possible that there is no agenda at all, and the screen will be perfectly fair and above board.  I'm not suspicious by nature, never have been, so I am sad that I should feel that there is.  Says a lot for the state of affairs between Gove and the teaching profession generally at the moment.
Very sad.  it should not be like that.

Friday 14 June 2013


The sun shines!  In fact, it started shining yesterday evening which was a very pleasant and welcoming sight after a dull, cold and windy day.  No rain though, just a few splashes and spots at intervals.  Not even enough to call a short light shower.  No thunder, no storms (I think my children were disappointed).  OK by me though.

Living Below The Line has officially finished now.  However, in one way it rolls on into today because there is food to finish off.  A slice of bread, two eggs, a portion of spag bol . . . things like that.  So today starts off frugal and ends with a big bang - steak, wedges , a salad and - yes, you've guessed it - some alcohol!
A very grateful and hearty 'thank you' to all of you who have sponsored us through the last five days.  It has been very much appreciated.  It looks as if we will have raised around £500, probably a bit more once the gift aid donations have been accounted for.  That's fab and much, much more than we ever envisaged.  if there is anyone else who would like to donate, here's where to go and thank you very much.

Today is SEN day and, as always, I have a long list of paperwork things to get sorted.  Then there's reports to finish off (on the home straight now) and a week's menus to plan, a shopping list to write, shopping to do . . . life goes on!

Have a good day!

The chives are looking lovely!

Thursday 13 June 2013


What a dull, dreary week it has been.  We've had very little sun.  Yesterday there was rain in the air all day but it didn't come to anything until the evening when the wind got up and the rain landed.  Today it is still dull and breezy, but no rain - yet.  Here's a photo to brighten things up a little bit.

Yesterday and today I have my class all day - so lovely!  We had time in the computer suite, time to paint and 'activate' (i.e. have a choice of activities out) in the afternoon, we did a standardised maths test in the morning - it was all great, even the test as they're at the age where they like this sort of thing.

Today is just an ordinary day with nothing exciting going on.  Just normal stuff done in a normal way, I sincerely hope!

Living below the line links:
Guest blog: the ethics of living below the line

More about day four

Today's plans

Wednesday 12 June 2013


We were lucky yesterday.  It didn't rain.  The year 5s had a dry adventurous activity visit to Harlow.  The children got all their playtimes.  That was good.  In another way it wasn't such a good day but that's all done and past now, so moving on . . .

. . .  today is usually our PPA but not this week do, for once, I have my class first thing.  Lovely!  So that's Reading Revelry, NFER maths test, assembly, ICT and in the afternoon art based around Kandinsky's Concentric Circles.  A nice busy day with plenty to do.

And then staff meeting, during which time I will gaze enviously at my colleagues carelessly swigging their coffee and dream of Friday morning!

And that's today!  Enjoy it!

Tuesday 11 June 2013


Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull, gloomy start to the day here, with rain threatening, which is very unfortunate because we have a morning of outdoor activities planned.  First of all a 'field walk' around various areas of the school grounds to look at types of plants and then after play it is supposed to be outdoor PE.  Well, that isn't likely to happen but we might get the field walk in, if it's not absolutely pouring, even if it is just to look quickly and do the rest of the work in the classroom.  Keeping my fingers crossed here.

It won't be me and A anyway - for once we have swapped our Wednesday morning PPA for Tuesday morning and it is my coordinator time after play.  Thanks goodness too, because I have an Infants Sports Day to organise!

I liked yesterday.  It all went pretty well, there were no disasters, the children behaved themselves, more or less and I didn't feel too hungry on the second day of Living Below The Line.  It's very interesting to see how different my planned meals are that Beth and Alex's.  Same ingredients, widely differing plans.  I might suggest that afterwards we share recipes with each other because I like her ideas (and she might like mine - some of them anyway).

Half an hour until school so I'd better get my top ironed and then get dressed!  I doubt they'd take too kindly to me appearing as I am right now.  Have a good day and I hope any rain that comes doesn't spoil your plans too much.

Living Below The Line updates on Teacher's Recipes.
More about day 2

Day 2 guest blog

Recipe: Italian curry

Day 3 plans

Monday 10 June 2013


Well, I survived yesterday and feel much more hopeful about the rest of the challenge now.  The weather isn't looking so hopeful thought.  After a wonderfully warm week, Saturday and Sunday turned comparatively chilly again with a breeze that sent me running to close the windows not long after I'd opened them.  And the heating clicked on!  In June!!?
The garden is looking nice though!
Ah, well, if it was chilly outside, it certainly wasn't inside.  At about eleven, two hours earlier than usual, Beth and Alex turned up, bringing the rest of the supplies for the week.  We set to, dividing, sharing out, opening and repackaging and then cooking.  We made soup (recipe on Teacher's Recipes because it was rather tasty), mushy peas, carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers and rhubarb stewed in pineapple syrup.  We now have five little pots of fruit - three of canned fruit and two of stewed rhubarb - each!
As well as the rhubarb, Beth also brought over some of her purple sprouting broccoli so some went in the soup and I had some last night.  Very nice too: it has a completely different flavour to ordinary broccoli and I love it.

You know what the hardest thing about this is going to be?  Not the limited funds because I've been doing something similar for weeks in Cheaper than Chips and anyway I love cooking from scratch and have the knowledge and the technology to take me through.

No, the thing that will really stretch me is lack of coffee - or rather, lack of caffeine.  Value tea is absolutely no substitute!  I know I have access to coffee at school but I am going to try to do without apart from maybe a mug at lunchtime to see me through the afternoon.  It's not exactly the cravings although I am getting some, it's not the slightly muggy head which I know will clear, it's the sleepiness.  I know I drink too much coffee, especially at weekends.  Even on a school day I will have two mugs of coffee before I leave for school, one before school, one at playtime, one at lunchtime, one after school, one when I get back home . . . that's quite a lot of caffeine!  The plus side is that I slept like a log last night - after a nap in the morning, a nap in the afternoon (sorry, Beth) and a nap in the evening (missed most of Poirot, darn it!).

However, I have discovered that I prefer value tea black.  That means more milk for the porridge so can't complain (but I probably will)!

Over in Teacher's recipes it's been buzzing, so here's a few links, should you want to go over.

The recipe for Split Pea and Broccoli Soup

The guest post - my first ever (Beth!!) - on how to provide fruit for 15 with three value cans of fruit and some rhubarb!

My menu for yesterday

And the most important thing - if you would like to sponsor us, here's the link to Living Below The Line

Sunday 9 June 2013


 . . . and the first of five days of Living Below The Line.  The porridge is on and slowly heating (I think it's nicer cooked s-l-o-w-l-y) and Beth is arriving at around 11 so we can get cooking!

Yesterday I really got going with those reports.  I feel well pleased.  Today I will do the same until Beth turns up and then I will set them aside for a number of hours.  I wonder how many I will have left to do by 11:00.

It was (or felt) weird yesterday.  I'm not sure why, perhaps it was those bloomin' reports.  I made the second loaf of bread which will be mainly for Beth and Alex as I have my six slices wrapped and frozen.  However, I might hack off a bit for the soup at lunch time.  Do you think they'll notice?

Apart from that, it was a no kitchen day.  What's the point in making anything when I'm not going to eat it?
Maybe that's why it felt unusual - I normally do quite a lot of kitchen stuff on Saturdays.  By about three o'clock my brain gave out so I stopped reporting and watched some awful TV - something like 'a year to save your life' (or something like that), an American reality programme about very, very overweight people who made an extreme effort to lose some weight and, I think, lost dangerously large amounts of weight - the target for the first three months was 100 lbs, for example.  It was pretty formulaic, of course, and the ending felt a bit (OK, very) artificial, but it held a horrid fascination for me - until I dozed off in my chair, anyway!

That was it, really.  A bit of a dull and boring day!  Better check the porridge and restart on the reports!

Saturday 8 June 2013


. . . and I'm still connected.  I had this dread that I'd come down this morning and find that it was all offline again.  However, thank goodness, I didn't.

Today is reports.  Wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling reports.  That's why I am on here, blogging, of course!
Us OU types have a word - TAT.  It stands for Tutor marked assignment Avoidance Tactics - what we get up to when we have an assignment to write.  So this weekend it is RAT!  Report Avoidance Tactics.  It's amazing how attractive washing the kitchen floor or swilling round the loo becomes when there are reports to write, suddenly, how one notices the bits on the living room carpet and how one could measure the dust in mms.

But I have a target.  One per hour for as long as my brain holds out.  That will give me a bit of time for playing.  Next week's planning is all done, more or less, so that's off my mind and I have a clear run.

Living Below The Line starts tomorrow.  There's still time to donate!  I believe donations can be made up to the end of June.

AND - here we go - thirty teaching days to go!!

Friday 7 June 2013


Well, everything seems to be back up and running again.  Goodness, I was lost without my internet connection and my virtual world.  It was made easier by the fact that I could still connect at school but I have several online communities - Facebook, the Open University Students' Association, Blogger (of course), my mailbox and the various other blogs that I read regularly - and not connecting felt hard.

It's such a different world nowadays, isn't it - so very, very different!  And it's nice to be back!


Just to let my readers know, I am having internet problems at the moment and may not be able to post for a while.  Sorry.

Thursday 6 June 2013


Yesterday ended up sunny and it looks as if today is going to be the same.  Lovely!  Spring has finally sprung, winter has gone!

It's all go at school.  Reports, end of year assessments, daft curriculum assessment wheels, yawn!  Never mind, it all has a natural life span and in six weeks time it will all be done and dusted, even open evening.  Not long to go.

After all the mopping and mowing, angst and wibble, our family assembly was lovely!  The children did very well, the parents seemed to enjoy it very much indeed and phew, now I can relax a bit, thank goodness.  Life moves on.

I have my children all day today and I am going to enjoy it!

Annabeth - many, many thanks.  :-)

Wednesday 5 June 2013


Not so sunny at the moment.  Yesterday by this time it was very bright and blue skied.  Today there are high clouds and the sun hasn't broken through yet.  Fingers crossed.
Something that has broken through is one of the runner bean seeds.  Hopefully the rest won't be far behind.

Yesterday was an OK day.  Rather a lot of rehearsal and plenty of internal wibble but by 10:40 it will all be over, mistakes and all.  Then I can relax.

PPA is not going to be easy this morning.  For a start we both have to be in the hall for assembly so we will miss that time.  Then I have to go through the prayer with some of the children (because I forgot).  It's all go, isn't it?

Last night I was having seriously cold feet about living below the line next week.  I've been feeling hungry and worried for various reasons.  I KNOW I can do it - for goodness sakes, it's only five days.  Some people face it (and much worse) for a lifetime so I need to stop my internal whinging and grow up.

Better get on with my porridge then!!!

Tuesday 4 June 2013


Another sunny morning.  None too warm yet, but yesterday was glorious and afternoon playtime duty was bliss.  I have no more morning duties this school year but I am on again this afternoon and very much looking forward to it.

It's difficult starting a new half term with a family assembly.  Normally we don't do this but ours was postponed from last half term for unavoidable reasons so it's straight in at the deep end with nags and wibbles and fraying tempers (that's me, not the children)!  I shall be thankful once tomorrow morning is over.

Beth, Alex and I are racing towards the Live Below The Line start at full pelt.  In trying to make use of the produce we have in our gardens, we want to use some rhubarb but we are not buying sugar for the challenge as we don;t use an awful lot.  Now, rhubarb without sugar is disgusting but I think I've already mentioned Beth's brainwave of using the syrup from  a can of value fruit instead.  It was hard to find value cans with anything more than 'light syrup' but yesterday Morrison's have 20p cans with 'syrup'.  I can't believe I'm looking for and buying tinned fruit in heavy syrup, not juice, but there you go!!!
Some of next week's food!  Actually, quite a lot of next week's food!!!

We're supporting the Hunger Project so if any of my gentle readers would like to donate, here's the link.  Thanks.

Monday 3 June 2013


 . . . and here we are at the start of the last half term of the school year.  The sun is shining, the Y6s will be departing and we have a family assembly show to prepare.  Eeeeeek!!!

Yesterday was, as anticipated, a lovely warm day.  On close investigation, we saw that the runner beans that we planted a fortnight ago are just beginning to come up at last but we planted the leftovers from school anyway.  This morning I went out to peek and - well, it appears that slugs like runner bean plants.  I didn't know that.  The pellets are now down so here's hoping the damage isn't too great!

When Beth and Alex came over we put some finishing touches to the Live Below The Line project which starts next Saturday.  We are delighted that we have £250 in donations - thank you to everyone who has given so generously.  Hopefully it will be a lot more before we have finished.  I sliced up the loaf I made yesterday and managed to get 18 slices which we have individually wrapped in easy-leave.  I have six slices which is all I have planned in and which are now in the freezer and Beth took the remaining twelve for her freezer.  Those plus another whole loaf should help keep Alex full and happy between meals!

And now I had better get ready for school.  Have a lovely day and may the sun shine on you pathway.

Sunday 2 June 2013


All gone now!

What a lovely, sunny morning.  It's going to be a goody today and I'm hoping it will last the week out because our year 6 children are off for their week's residential trip tomorrow and some good weather for them would be perfect.

George came yesterday and I set him to dealing with my rosemary bush which has totally outgrown its place, spread out so that it blocks the pathway and is just way, way too big.  As we looked at it, we could see that there was growth coming up from the old wood in the middle, so we left that in place so it's now quite a small bush but on very old wood.  We will see if that answers or whether the whole thing will need to come out.  I hope not but if it does, it does.  I've taken some cuttings, just in case.

As well as that he cleared some primulas, moving some round the front so they should look pretty good next year and giving me space for my new herbs - oregano and thyme - and the usual weekly stuff so it all looks quite nice and orderly now.  Thanks, George.

Sadly, the rest of the day degenerated into a bit of an eating orgy, for which I am now suffering the consequences, but never mind.

Moving on - Beth and Alex are round for lunch and I am making a roasted tomato and lentil soup which should fill any gaps.  I'd better go and put the chopped tomatoes on to roast, hadn't I?

Back to school tomorrow!

Saturday 1 June 2013


Good morning and welcome to what looks as if it might be quite a nice Saturday.  It's a bit early to tell but the clouds are high and everything looks bright.  Fingers crossed as I'm not a good weather prophet!

Yesterday was quite a busy day, especially in the morning.  I trawled around Aldi and Lidl in search of prices and ended up getting some things for LBTL in a week's time.  When I got home I downloaded a voucher for Lidl so will be going back today to use it.  It's spend £30 get £5 off which isn't bad, I think.  Normally I would have no problems spending £30 but I really don't need that much food so I think I will stock up with non-consumables such as loo rolls and washing things - I know I will need and use those!  Beth has a few things she would like me to get too.

This week I have been knitting a little hooded jacket for the baby of the daughter of one of my friends and yesterday I finished the knitting part while watching some rubbish telly.  Now all I have to do is press it out and sew everything together which shouldn't take too long.  It will look cute, I think.  Then, after that, I need to start another, probably the same, for another grandchild of a friend, not born yet so I do have plenty of time.

Today I also plan to make bread and wraps and generally plan out the new week's eating and so on.  Apart from that it's the dreaded reports, of course.  And George is coming, I sincerely hope.  With the rain and the milder temperatures everything is lush and green, including the weeds!

No chance to be idle today!