Saturday 31 January 2015


Yet again, it is very cold this morning.  There's a heavy frost and on top of yesterday's dampness the roads are likely to be bad at the moment.

As you saw, we finally got snow.  Not loads but more than the dismal less-than-1cm's worth it looked as if it would be early morning.  It had stopped by the time I left for school and was already slushing on the roads and pathways but it remained at the edges and on the field and it gave the children a glorious playtime.  Most had come with boots and so were allowed on the field.  I guess they reckoned the fuss fore and aft was worth it.  I'm not sure I did!

The cold has landed.  I haven't had one for a long time so can hardly complain and at least it's had the decency to arrive at the weekend so, hopefully, all the aches and pains will disappear before Monday.  They'd better, anyway.

Friday 30 January 2015


Well, we have snow.  Or what passes for an apology for snow anyway.  A cm or less, very wet, already slushing.  I just hope it stays nice enough for the children to have a little bit of fun before it all goes.  It's cold, of course, but not too bad.

Hmmmm - edited less than an hour later to amend.  It's now snowing quite hard and settling.  Still not enough for a snowday, I am sure, but very pretty.  Forgive the bad photo and the messy garden!

I was so tired yesterday.  I guess it was the result of a very disturbed night over Wednesday night.  It was good that I was at home.  Back to work today, brewing what feels like a cold!  I think porridge for breakfast is what is called for.

Yesterday is a day I am glad is over after some sad and worrying news in the evening.  I'm hoping today will bring better news.

I hope you all have a good day.

Thursday 29 January 2015


Good morning.  No snow here but it feels pretty cold inside, even after a bath, and I'm not well.  The usual V&D bug and I think I will need to stay at home which is really not good.  Bleugh!

I'm glad I wasn't on playground duty yesterday afternoon.  It got chillier and chillier and I was satisfied with sitting in the staffroom with a coffee during PPA time.  OK, so we worked hard but nevertheless, it was good.

Staff meeting was kind of confusing.  It's no secret that we're in a new curriculum and levels are out - well, not for Y2 and Y6 with SATs on the horizon, but for all other year groups.  The problem is, the government in their almighty wisdom haven't said what is to replace levels.  So it's all rather do-it-yourself at present.  We will see how it all pans out, but should we get a change of government this year, it is likely to be All Change yet again.

Time will tell . . .

Wednesday 28 January 2015


Another mild-ish morning here but I gather winter is prowling back again.  I'm feeling tired and not-so-wonderful this morning and am just hoping that the coffee perks me up a bit.  I just cannot take time off and I don't want to either.

Yesterday was OK.  The SATs practise reading test came and went.  Swimming came and went.  I got all the tests marked and levelled and now just have a huge pile of Big Writes to mark and level.  That's the weekend's fun activity!

Today, being Wednesday, is the 'different' day.  Not a lot of time in the classroom, one way and another.  It should all go pretty well, one way and another, I hope.

And will we get any snow?  Who knows.

Tuesday 27 January 2015


Good morning, gentle readers.  It is another 'above freezing' morning with no need to even think about notching up the heating.  OK by me and even more OK by my pocket!!

As I thought, yesterday turned out to be fairly mild with some sun and some dismal, damp stuff.  Fairly predictably modern winter weather, in fact.  Today is expected to be more or less the same really.  Then, tomorrow, Armageddon hits.  Or so you would think, if you read the Daily Express.  With phrases like 'frenzied and volatile behaviour of the jet stream', 'screaming Arctic gales' and 'blizzards right through the first half of February' (Wot?  In Essex?), one would expect fun and frolics to come . . . until one remembers they predicted that last winter would be the worst on record.  Ha ha ha ha ha!

I bet we won't get even one snowday!

Yesterday I stepped into new territory, that of SATs.  Yesterday we had a SATs practise test.  It would be totally inappropriate to say how it all went so I won't, but it was all new to me.  Some would say I am lucky to have escaped this for so long.  I guess they are right.

Yesterday evening I received two pieces of good news which cheered me up no end.  Again, can't really say what as it's not my story to tell but I was so happy I went a bit tearful, soppy thing that I am.

Today is more of the same with swimming in the afternoon.  Nice but shame about the marking afterwards!

Today is turkey curry with rice for lunch and the rest of the Spanish lentils for dinner.  All home made and the curry is out of the freezer. There's a little bit of space in the freezer now and I must, I really MUST fight the impulse to fill it back up again.  That is NOT the idea at all!  No, no no!!!

Heading off to the kitchen now for the first coffee and a dishwasher unload.  Have a good day, everyone, and stay warm.

Monday 26 January 2015


. . . and for the first time in quite a while there's no frost.  A short respite, I gather, before the cold returns, but it is nice to sit and not want to pull on another layer.

Yesterday was an expensive day!

First of all, I went to B&Q to buy a load of long life bulbs.  I have those small, round, inset halogen lights downstairs and a while ago I promised myself that as they went I would replace them with the long life, eco friendly ones.  Several all died over the last few weeks so I bought enough and a few spare.  That was pretty ouch but they will pay for themselves over time, I am sure, given how short the lifespan of the ordinary ones tends to be.

Then I drove along to Staples for some printer ink.  I keep the old cartridges going until the quality is appalling and we had got to that point with the black!  That would have been ouch enough but I also got some extra strong filing cabinet inserts as mine are all giving up the ghost after many years.  I am being inspired by Beth's example to clear out and sort out my paperwork and this is the first step.  I can now replace the battered ones as I deal with each section.  I wonder how long one is expected to keep things like bank statements, pay slips, etc?  Must Google and find out.  I have them going back decades!

All of that was ouch enough but in the afternoon Beth and I did something that we have promised ourselves we would do for a while now and that is buy a sewing machine to share.
I was given my first sewing machine as my main 21st birthday present and it has done sterling service over the years.  I used to make all of my clothes and quite a lot of the childrens' clothes too, saving a fortune as I did so.  You could get fabric at good prices then.  I also made curtains, cushion covers, etc.  All jolly good fun!
But as life got busier and the machine got older, I stopped using it so much and after some faults and repairs I discarded it.  Well, I say 'discarded - I think it is in the cupboard under the stairs, in fact.  Maybe it will be an antique in fifty years' time!

Anyway - back to the present.  We ended up with a Viking Husqvarna (my machine was a Husquvarna so I had positive vibes for the make), not too cheap but certainly not shockingly expensive, with a few gizmos to make life easier.  It's due to arrive later this week which is most exciting.
Looks nice and sensible and pretty sturdy!
So, as you can see, it was an ouchingly expensive day!  Just as well I was paid on Friday and have started a frugal food phase, isn't it?

And on that subject, I got my act together and planned meals for the week.  I know it helps, I know it works and yet I don't always do it.  Beth said she will do Live Below the Line again this year and seemed a bit open to a longer time doing it, which is nice (she may change her mind on that one, but I don't think I will).  It might not be strictly according to the rulebook but I reckon it is the individual's equivalent of doing it in a big group and sharing out the food.  What's the difference between four people doing it for a week and one person doing it for four weeks?  Apart from the obvious, of course!

So these frugal weeks will help when I get super-frugal with bells on!

Sunday 25 January 2015


There's another frost here this morning as I discovered when I pootled out to get some things from the freezer.  My goodness, it was cold.  It was nice to get back inside and shut the door again.

Yesterday was lazy but pretty good fun.  On my other blog I have decided to 'do a series' (ooooh, listen to me!) on lentil recipes.  Frugal recipes, using red lentils because that's what I happen to have in the cupboard, although next time I go to a shop that does more fancy pants lentils I will  get some green and/or brown lentils too.  Dried, not tinned!

So I spent the morning researching (which sounds more clever than it actually was) recipes and found a number that I think I would like to try.  I made Lentil Bake yesterday (delicious) and I am having a go at Spanish Style Lentils today, although that will go in the freezer for school lunches during the week.

Lentils can be a bit of a pain to cook as they slurp and gloop and need stirring to ensure they don't stick and burn.  However, I have discovered that Thermione does the perfect job as the stirring is continuous while they are cooking and the lid prevents any mess.

I've posted the Lentil Bake recipe on Teacher's Recipes and if the other is also good, I will post that too.

Apart from that I did a clean of the kitchen, not that you can tell now, and I popped out to do a bit of food shopping.  Not much because I'm trying to use what I already have for a while, but enough to keep things ticking over on the fresh and dairy side.

Now I am hoping that's me set up for the week.

Saturday 24 January 2015


Well, it was supposed to warm up considerably overnight and I suspect it did because I was vaguely aware of feeling hot at times, but it was pretty chilly when I first awoke this morning and I pulled over the extra cover to compensate!  I've been following forecasts and, while views vary, it seems we might be in for more chill in the next few weeks.  Well, the forecasters can argue and discuss weather models, high pressure, low pressure, fingers of whatever, weather bombs, and so on but the fact remains that what will come will come and no argument in the world will change that!

Yesterday felt like a very long day.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it was because it was Friday.  It went OK, it just seemed to go on and on and on.  As it was sunny and fine, we got our outdoor games and I kept them moving all the time so they finished the session glowing warm.  I didn't!

I was planning to go into town today but I'm not sure I really feel like it.  It's not urgent and half term is coming up in three weeks so I think I will follow my nose and stay at home.  Ironing is a warming activity and, goodness knows, there's plenty of that!   Later on in the afternoon I might wander out to Staples or Office World to get some ink for the printer and some new filing cabinet inserts, mine being in a shocking condition now.  Or I might do that tomorrow morning.  At least I am now free from the worry that the car might break down!

Then there's the Saturday bread to make, the kitchen to tidy, some washing to do and some veg to use up.  Enough to keep a lazy teacher gainfully occupied, for sure.  And, of course, there's the Saturday coffee to enjoy!

Friday 23 January 2015


It seems to be another brrrr morning with a frost and clear skies.  The BBC weather page indicates that it will stay cold today but warm up overnight and rain.  Well, we will see, won't we?  For now I remain grateful for central heating and try not to take it for granted ever.

Yesterday was good.  An observation, a couple of 'sharing chats' with people, an interesting art lesson, telling stories after school . . . and I still love my new car.

Today, Friday, last day of the week, promises to also be pretty good.  Carroll diagrams, playscripts,  outdoor PE (brrrrrrrrrrr), Golden time, reading partners . . . and turning off the alarm clock for a few days.  Tomorrow I shall take the car into town and park gleefully in the car park with the steepest ramp on the way out!  Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Enjoy the day.

Thursday 22 January 2015


Yesterday was interesting.

First of all, while I woke naturally and early, I had problems in getting going and at one point went back to bed and fell asleep so it was rather a rush to get out.  No idea why that was.  Most unusual for me.

Then, just as I loaded the trolley into the car, it started snowing.  For a while we had real, proper, big flake snow.  Very wet, of course, but it snowed so hard it started settling with the natural result that the children came in hyper!  It didn't last, of course.  We had more flurries through the morning but that was it - cold and very wet.

It was second gizmo-day and I am more and more impressed as the days pass.  Yesterday the only time I needed to have something repeated was due to poor articulation, not because I didn't hear.  I heard just about everything in staff meeting although it was all rather too loud so I need to adjust settings.  It's going well.

I was so tired again come the evening and really didn't do half the things I should have done so there will be some catch up housework over the weekend.  However, I was very pleased to get the remaining road tax refund for the 306 and it was more than I had expected.  That was good.

Today is pretty well a full day's teaching with an hour out for coordinator time and forty five minutes for mentoring.  Not bad at all.

AND . . . it's roughly half way throught the school year this week  because the Autumn term is longer and the spring term shorter.
Scary thought!

There's another hard frost this morning but no more snow.  I keep waiting for it to warm up and it doesn't.  Never mind, the cold is good for the soil and good for the weeds - getting shot of them, I mean.

Coffee time!  Have a great day!

Wednesday 21 January 2015


A very cold and icy day yesterday but it felt considerably warmer come the evening.  The car didn't agree, telling me there was danger of ice.  Honestly.  It pops a wee message on the screen.  Quite cute.  Now, early morning, there's no frost but it feels extremely cold.  I think the wind has got up a bit abd that does make a difference.  Thank goodness there's no playground duty for me for the rest of the week.

Well, gizmo day went well.  It's definitely a big help and I coped with a meeting without cupping a hand around an ear and looking hopeless once.  Amazing, for me, really great.  They're now all charging up for today - or, hopefully, are already charged up for today!  I'm really rather thrilled but will have to get used to the increase in noise.  I felt a bit bombarded yesterday but my brain will soon start sorting things out again, I am sure.

Today, being Wednesday, is the busy and interesting day.  Violins, for a start, and also PPA in the afternoon.  No library this week though.

Hope the day all goes well for us all.


Tuesday 20 January 2015


Brrr - there's another hard frost outside.  No snow, just hard frost.  We did actually have a slight flakage over Sunday night which looked very pretty yesterday morning.   By slight I mean something reminiscent of icing sugar lightly sieved over a cake.  You could see individual flakes.  That sort of slight.

The children, of course, were excited and full of how they were going to make snowmen at playtime.  However, when the time came they soon gave up as there wasn't enough for a fairy snowball, let alone a snowman.  It doesn't seem fair that some places have had consideravble snowfall.  I'm sure we would appreciate it just as much down here.

In other news, I think I mentioned that before Christmas I had an 'Access to Work' meeting which resulted in a report and part-funding for various bits of gizmory to support my aging hearing!  The stuff came late on Friday and apart from opening the box, taking out various smaller boxes and looking at them in bewilderment, nothing was done.
Yesterday I had a head to head with our ICT technician and there are now four bits of stuff waiting to be used, having been charged up overnight.

I'll let you know.

Today is a full day's teaching, no assemblies, swimming in the afternoon.  And a meeting after school.  Busy, busy!  Have a good one yourself.

Monday 19 January 2015


It was a jolly chilly day yesterday.  It's odd how it can feel colder (or milder) than it really is and, for me, yesterday was definitely on the chilly side.  The car was frosting over by six thirty p.m.

It wasn't chilly in the kitchen though.  I did two loads of bread, one white and one half and half white/wholemeal.  From it I got three little loaves (one does me for around a week) and three sausage rolls.  The rolls were nice, very nice, but I think I would prefer it as a sausage meat burger really.  One loaf went with me round to Beth's for tea yesterday to wrap round some home baked ham (yum)

After saying I wasn't making anything else with the sausage meat, I had enough of the pepped up mix to make six little meatballs so I did.  I made a sauce with veg and some roasted tomato passata from the freezer, made with last summer's tomatoes.  I added some rice and it's made a very tasty (and large) meal for today.  Maybe even two meals, one when I eat the meatballs and one as a vegetable thingy with maybe some added chick peas or something.  It looks big enough in the systema bowl that will carry it to school.  These soup mugs and bowls are all the fashion at school right now!

The rest of the sausage meat is now wrapped and frozen.

The carrot and lentil soup made in Thermione was also tasty:  thick and warming but missing some celery.  I used it all up, of course, making the cream of celery soup yesterday.  Never mind, good soup is good soup, whatever the recipe.

I still have three carrots to deal with but they will just have to wait.

That was yesterday.  Today is back to school, of course.  It's flippin' cold of course, but school is well heated and, if by any chance the heating fails, we all have hot air blowers to remedy things.  And I'm not on morning play duty this half term.  No complaints about that.  I wonder if we will get snow this week.

Sunday 18 January 2015


Well, after all yesterday's plans, I didn't really do very much.  I was busy with something else in the morning and when I got home early afternoon I didn't have the heart (OK, so I was lazy!).

I did, however, make a version of the cream of celery soup that was featured on last week's Food and Drink (the keep it simple episode, I think it was called).  Although I needed to change a few bits and bobs to match what I had in the house, it was extremely delicious and is one I will most certainly make again without any doubt.  I've blogged about it here.

After such a lazy day and after another great night's sleep, I decided I MUST do more today.  So, at present, there are two different lumps of dough on the rise and some finely chopped onions in the frying pan, slowly sauteing away into softness.  This is to mix into the sausage meat, probably alongside some smoked paprika before using it to stuff some 'real' sausage rolls.
I'm doing two types of bread because when I looked in the freezer I was right out of bread and that would never do!

I've also peeled some very manky carrots, some for a spiced carrot and lentil soup and some to freeze in chucks for roasting at another time and yet more to chop and freeze for soups and casseroles, etc.  Yes, there were a lot of carrots.  I have no idea what possessed me to buy so many!

After some thought I decided not to make the sausage meat pie or the meatballs with the leftover sausage meat.  I will just freeze it in little patties for use another time.  I just thought it would be daft, seeing as I am trying to use up a load of home made frozen ready meals, not add to them at the moment!  I am, as mentioned above, making the sausage rolls though!  The rest can wait.  The soups will provide me with either a school meal or an evening meal, depending on how I feel.  One seems to be as filling as the other so they can interchange.

Have a splendid day, whatever the weather.  No proper snow here although we did have a wet snow shower that lasted about one minute yesterday morning.  Maybe you have been more lucky.

Saturday 17 January 2015


Welcome to a very chilly Saturday morning.  There's a fair old frost outside at the moment and if it stays, I shall go out to see how quickly the de-mister/de-icer thingy works in the car.  It did rather well with the fogged up windscreen yesterday evening so I live in hope.  The 306 windscreen had to be wiped because it took so, so long to clear.

Yesterday was a very mixed day.  Great school, not so great things happening in other areas.  No, I won't say what as it is not my story to tell, but it is pretty upsetting.

Today, being Saturday, involves such things as bread making, bed changing, washing, drying, ironing and so on.  Not housework as my lovely cleaners worked their magic yesterday so all is shiny-clean.

My blog friend, Diane, talked about how she made some real sausage rolls yesterday - that is sausage meat inside bread rolls.  They looked so delicious I bought some sausage meat and intend to have a go myself.  Beth won't be able to have any but Alex and I certainly will.

I'm not doing badly at making inroads into the contents of the freezer.  There is a long way to go still but I have been taking soups or casseroles in for school lunches and that's helping as well as saving me some cash.  On the other hand, not so frugal but very convenient, I have been using packets of pre-cooked rice to have with the casseroles while the weather is so dark, dismal and cold.  I suppose they are not that expensive in themselves, Morrisons own being about half the price of Uncle Ben, or whatever it is, but even so . . .
However, convenience can be very helpful.

Once I have made the real sausage rolls there will be some pepped up sausage meat left so I want to make something from a book called the Pennywise Cookbook.  It was one of those that the milkman used to sell decades ago and had some brilliant recipes.  Anyway, it involves a base of sausage meat covered with a layer of onions, tomatoes and then cheesy mash on top and I remember it as being very tasty indeed.
Actually, thinking about it, it might have been in another of the same ilk, Make a Meal with Cheese.  I have both books upstairs (one original, one found on Amazon to replace), I just have to find them!  Might be harder than it sounds.

As well as that I have some manky old veg and intend to make some soups.  Thermione is willing and ready and soup is just the thing on a cold winter day.

Sounds like a full day really, doesn't it?  Better get going with - yes, you've guessed it - a mug of coffee.  Can't manage without coffee!!!

Friday 16 January 2015


Last day of the working week and then we're a third of the way through the half term.  Woo hoo!  It felt flippin' cold yesterday although I don't think it was really, it was mainly wind chill.  The infant teachers were in the playgound after school supervising while other year groups had their 'meet the teacher' times and brrrrr, that wind really made us shiver.  At the moment it feels chilly but there's no frost.

Another fantastic night's sleep.  I could get used to this, I truly could.

Today is interesting.  I'm starting a block of lessons on Aborigine art and very much looking forward to it too.  Outdoor games this afternoon doesn't create quite so much pleasure in my mind but never mind, fresh air is always welcome.

And then it is the weekend.  Nice!  I might take Shadow (yes, I have succumbed and given the new car a name) out on a longer drive around Chelmsford and beyond, just for the fun of it.

Have a good day, gentle readers.

Thursday 15 January 2015


Another fantastic night.  I don't know what I'm doing right but it must be something.  Tuesday night was at least ten hours and last night was not far behind.  A great relief after last week's on-off-on-off nights.

It got colder and colder as the day progressed but the expected wind didn't materialise.   It doesn't seem so bad now either although I have to admit I haven't actually gone out, just peered through the window with its raindrop decoration into the blackness.

Yesterday I forgot to mention something funny.  We were doing a science assessment and one of the questions was 'How might medicines be dangerous?'   There was a range of responses but my favourite and the one I will always remember is 'if you drop it on yoru (sic) foot'.  Bless!

I've been asking around about iPods and similar.  I also asked at school and a friend there will help me to understand whatever I get.  Isn't that great?  A huge relief because it means whatever I decide to get, I will be able to use it - always a techy fear for me.  It's not nice feeling' iggerant'.

I'm still in love with my new car.  Yesterday I discovered that the lights are automatic.  By that I mean that when it is dark and I turn on the engine the dipped lights come on automatically.  No chance of driving away without lights (and yes, I have done that once or twice in the past, to my shame).  After investigation, it seems that it won't go to main beam on automatic, you have to switch the lights on in the usual way but wow, what a safety feature!

And, while it doesn't have a heated front windscreen, the demister/defroster is extremely efficient.  No complaints there!

Today is almost a full day's teaching.   I love full days of teaching.

And now I need another coffee . . .

Wednesday 14 January 2015


I must have a very clear conscience right now.  I went to bed soon after seven last night because I couldn't keep my eyes open, fully expecting to wake at around one ready to face the new day.  I did momentarily waft into consciousness at around that time for a trip down the landing but then pulled the extra cover over my quilt and promptly fell asleep again.  I did wake properly at about three, read for half an hour and then fell asleep again, finally getting up just before five.  Amazing!  I feel great too.

It may have got colder (at least it felt so in the middle of the night) but no snow.  It was vaguely forecast as a possibility but there's no sign of anything remotely resembling a snowflake.  Rarely do we get anything like 'severe' weather here (except for heat) which is good when it comes to wind and rain but not so fantastic where snow is concerned.  OK, so that is good too really but . . . I love snow.

It was another good day yesterday.  The children enjoy their swimming lessons and come back smelling of exercise, enjoyment and  - chlorine, of course!

Today is what I call the 'odd' day.  It's lovely, the children enjoy the variety, but just odd.  We start off with reading revelry, then they have their violin lesson followed by library this week (library happens every other week).  Then I teach for an hour - always maths.  The afternoon is PPA time and the children have music and RE or PSHE.    Lots of interest and variety but, for me as their teacher, just 'odd'.  That's not quite the right word because I enjoy it too but I can't think of the better word.

I don't have much preparation either but I'd better look over what I do need to do before my next coffee.  Have a safe and warm day, whatever the weather chooses to throw around.

Tuesday 13 January 2015


It feels so mild at stupid o'clock this Tuesday morning.  No chilly nose and toes!  Almost no need for a dressing gown.  It's a bit breezy in the garden and there's rain in the air so it is very damp but so very mild.  OK by me.  I love snow but there's no indication that there's any on the way and without snow freezing cold is rather pointless really!

Yesterday went well.  The usual lessons followed up with a meal out at the Hare with J and L.  We should have gone last week but it didn't work out so yesterday was the day.  On the way out it was lashing with rain which made for glare and dazzle so not all that pleasant but it had calmed down by the end of the meal.

As usual at this time we exchanged gifts and we had all chosen plants, funnily enough.  It was also funny, I think, how the plants typified us.  J's gifts were beautiful, elegant, royally coloured lilac and purple.  L's was fragrant narcissi to plant in a bowl that was pretty and sparkly.  Mine was more rustic - spring flowers in a wicker basket with a jar of home made preserves on the side.
All were practical as the plants can go into the garden for ongoing pleasure!

After all that I slept like a log!

Today is a full day with my class.  The usual subjects in the morning followed by swimming in the afternoon (no, I don't take that lesson) and finishing off with the Meet The Teacher meeting after school.  I think I will get a lunch break today as there's nothing extra to prepare for the afternoon.

I'd better take a look-see at the lesson planning.  There's plenty of time this morning.

Monday 12 January 2015


Good morning.  If feels pretty mild this morning although it was cold yesterday, despite the sun, with a stiff breeze that made it feel a lot colder than it really was.  Perhaps the wind has died down.

I had a drive out, taking the car to B&Q for some granular salt and a replacement flushing thing for my loo.  It was great.  All smooth and speedy and no worries about whether I could get away fast enough.  I could feel the tension trickling away as I drove and it is all starting to feel nice and natural.  I worked out how to tune to Classic FM - well, the car worked it out and I pushed the tick!!!  I then worked out how to change the time which was annoying me by being an hour fast.  And then, from time to time through the day I browsed through the handbook.  It's a bit complicated at times and I have to try a few things to see.

You can tell it's new - while I was in B&Q I saw they had 'boot bags' so I got one!!!  Well, I didn't want bits of granular salt all over the boot, now did I?  The shopping bags are now out of the garage and in the boot and it doesn't look tidy but no-one can see it.  Then I used one of my soft cloths (from the 306) and polished everything on the dashboard!  I wonder how long that will last for!

Unfortunately, in the afternoon I had an attack of the 'runs' (sorry for TMI) so cancelled Beth and Alex coming for tea.  I think it was the right decision although it did all clear up after a while.  I have no idea whatsoever what started that but there you go - better yesterday than overnight.  I've had a great night's sleep.

As it doesn't have a CD player, I am umming and ahing about an iPod or similar which I can connect to the sounds system.  Unfortunately I know absolutely nothing about them so am scrabbling around in the dark.  Any info, links, etc, would be gratefully received.

And now it is a new school week.  That calls for a second coffee, I think.  Have a good one, whatever the weather where you are.

Saturday 10 January 2015


Good morning.  Round here yesterday was a very blustery day with some strong winds and some very heavy showers.  This morning it is really rather cold so, early as it is, I have turned up the heating.  Today I woke at around three, which is really absolutely ridiculous and I am hoping I can get another hour in soon before getting up properly and starting the day.

So - I have my new babe and I realise I haven't really said very much about her.  So here we go.

It's another Peugeot, a 208 Style.  I got on so well with my 306 I wanted another Peugeot if at all possible.  It is four months old and had 3 (yes, three) on the mileometer.  However, it's counted as second hand because it was bought as a quota car, initially owned by the garage.  I got a chunk off for 'depreciation' and then another chunk off because it was a saleroom car so it was a fantastic bargain and, for this if for nothing else, I consider myself very, very lucky.

The only thing I would have chosen differently was the colour but there wasn't any choice in the matter!  Dark grey is OK

The road tax for the 306 was £140 last year.  For the 208 it is £20.  So she's already starting to pay for herself, so to speak.

That's about it really.  I enjoyed driving yesterday for the first time in quite a while which says it all.

Apart from that it was a lazy day with a snooze.

Saturday later on

Gottit!  And got it home safely too, yay!  Very nice to drive too.


So - the great day has arrived.  Only the fifth day of this kind I have ever experienced and maybe there won't be another one for me.  In fact, I am rather hoping there won't.  I'm not sure my (by then) aged nerves would stand the stress!!!  I want this new babe to last for ever!
There have to be people like me who tend to hang on to their cars until they are worth nothing and dying on their wheels!  Surely . . . ?

Anyway, by the time I write again, I will have a new one. . .
I am seriously considering seeing if my garage can be organised enough to house a smaller car.  Beth will realise how significant that is!

And then I am thinking of celebrating the new addition to the family with a bottle of reasonable quality sparkly stuff come this evening.  I love sparkly stuff.  No, I won't be breaking the bottle over the bodywork - that has always struck me as a ridiculous waste of good bubbles.

Yesterday was a super day. I'm not sure the children realised that it 'ought not' to have been me but they worked hard in maths and in English (yes, it is now called 'English' again, not 'literacy', thank goodness, I always disliked that name) and much enjoyed Golden Time and outdoor games.

I don't know if other teachers would agree but, to me, there is something rather special about the first Friday evening in a new term.  The heartfelt sigh of relief as you unlock your door and dump the weekend work in a corner knowing that it won't be touched again that evening, the delight as you open the Friday wine bottle, the enthusiasm with which you switch off the alarm clock . . . is there anything better?  I really enjoyed yesterday evening!

Friday 9 January 2015


. . . and for the first time in many, many years, I am officially taking my own class on a Friday.

For a long time now, Friday has been my SEN day.  Protected out of class time to fulfil my SENCo role (part of it, anyway!).  With the hand over to our new (and absolutely amazing) full time SENCo, that has now stopped.  Do I mind?  Well, I don't think I do really.  I am a creature of habit, all the more so as I get older, so today it feels odd.  Just odd, not sad.  Changes can be unsettling, but this one feels OK.

Yesterday was quite a day, weather wise.  It was OK early morning, so OK that I pootled out in the nearly-night to clear out my car as I had time and it was fine.  It didn't take as long as I expected as it was less messy than I thought.  Yes, it looked messy because of all the shopping bags (which I never remember to take into the shop but that's another story) but once they were all in one bag and the bits and bobs had been binned it was OK.  There's a few things that need to go into the garage and a bag of items that will go into the new car - cloths, de-icer, first aid box, etc - and that's about it. I've even remembered to take off the tax disc as they no longer need to be displayed.  So today will be the last time I will drive her to school and home again, the penultimate journey before abandoning her at the Peugeot garage tomorrow.

I got side tracked there, didn't I?  The day started fine enough although, as light dawned it remained extremely dull and dark.  Just before school started the heavens opened.  Just as the children were walking to school, of course, so several of them came in looking like drowned rats!  It stayed like that most of the morning so playtime was a washout!  It did clear at lunchtime although, so out they all went for some fresh air and much needed exercise.

After the break they all piled back in for a super science lesson.  I can say 'super' because I didn't plan it, just delivered it.  The children enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, they learnt new things and worked together well.  One ticked off the list there.

I was intending to go for a meal in the evening with my two friends, J and L, but as it happened one of us couldn't make it, so it has been rescheduled for Monday.  Something to look forward to although I shall be rather a gadabout next week as I'm out another evening too.

I haven't looked, but it doesn't feel too cold this morning and I'm hoping it will remain like that as I have outdoor games with my class for the first time, more or less, for years.  Something to get used to.

And now I must say goodbye and look at the day's planning, making sure everything is ready.  I could do it in the evening but I know from experience that if I do I still 'need' to check it all over in the morning again, so I don't bother about the evening any more.  May as well make use of the fact that I am an early bird!

Have a great Friday.

Thursday 8 January 2015


It was a very mild night and I was very cosy and comfortable without the extra cover.  I prefer that as I don't like a heavy weight of covers.  After a busy and exciting (for me) day yesterday I was so very tired that I was asleep not long after eight and, therefore, wide awake at three this morning.  Never mind, it gives me an opportunity to catch up with a few bits and bobs.

So - what was exciting?

First of all there was an email from the Peugeot garage to say that the internet payment had come through, as had the (free) seven day temporary insurance.  That means that the car is now mine apart from the registration, which we will do on Saturday morning.

Then a couple of us went to the Infant Music Festival meeting after school.  OK, so not necessarily exciting as such, but it's the first time I've been involved in the Infant Festival, although I have done my share with the Junior Festival many times in the dim and distant past!  It was interesting.

Two parcels arrived at school. One was my new diary, page to a day, reduced in the sale.  Cheapskate that I am, I always wait until after New Year before getting my new diary.  The other was some Lakeland things including two very substantial oven liners.  Over Christmas I was rather shocked at the state of the bottom of my ovens and remembered that mum has these liners and speaks highly of the time saving.  These are so substantial, they should last for years and years.

Then, finally, before Christmas I had a meeting with an Access to Work assessor (relating to my hearing loss) and the report came through yesterday.  It should not be long before I have a few gizmos that ought to make life a lot easier in the classroom!  That is extremely exciting for me!

With all that going on, plus the everyday stuff as well, no wonder I was tired!!!

I've just had my morning toast which was the last few slices of the loaf of potato bread.  It was good bread, soft, yet easy to slice and I shall work on the recipe.  As I used dried mash (shocking, I know, but . . .), it seems silly to rehydrate it and then add it, which is what I did on Saturday.  It will be easier to just mix the dried mash with the flour and add water the normal way, so I just need to work on proportions really.

Well, the kettle has boiled so guess what I am off to make.  Have a good day and it looks as if staying warm will be easier today.

Wednesday 7 January 2015


Good morning!  There's a heavy frost outside but, oddly, I was very hot overnight and removed the extra covering I had over the duvet.  Not sure why that should have been but maybe it was because I had a very restless night with stuff going round and round and round.

Yesterday was another good day.  Work went well, learning happened and it was their first swimming session of the year, all of which was fine.

Today, being Wednesday, is a bit more complicated with PPA in the afternoon, but it should be good.  After school I am off with another teacher to a meeting about the Infant Music Festival.  I had forgotten about this because I've never taught Y2 before.  The actual festival takes place later this term so the meeting is to go through the music and to be told how to learn the songs, etc - at least I presume it is.

I am a step further on to taking possession of my car on Saturday.  Temporary (free) insurance has been sorted and I have paid the remaining amount by Internet.  Not long to go now - and I MUST start clearing out my car!

Hoping all our days go well.

Tuesday 6 January 2015


Good morning again!  What a great night's sleep I had after my first day back.  Out like a light at just after eight, returning to consciousness at atround four thirty this morning.  Excellent!

It's not so chilly outside either.  I went out to the freezer, not terribly suitably clad, and it was fine.  No shivers, no ice!

It was quite nice to get back into harness yesterday although the children were showing the effects of a break as much as I was!  I gather some of them found it very hard to get up!  However, we dived full into work and it was fine.

I'm sure today will be so too!

Monday 5 January 2015


Back to school today.  I'm all ready (more or less) with resources, planning, etc, in a neat pile beside me.  I think it must have got colder as during the night I went to the cupboard to get a blanket to spread over the quilt, after which I was comfortably warm.

I decided to keep the decorations up one more week.  I suspect that when I get home, cold and tired, each evening, the twinkling lights will cheer me up no end.  It's a job deferred, not cancelled!

Better go.  I have twenty minutes to get dressed and finish getting ready.  Have a good day, one and all!

Sunday 4 January 2015


Well, what a dull, gloomy, chilly, wet day it was yesterday, to be sure.  From dawn to dusk there was not a hint of sunshine and I was, as always, glad for indoor light and warmth.  Through the day it was getting chillier and chillier too and by the evening there was a real nip to the air.  Right now it feels jolly cold and it is a little foggy so there might be quite a lot of white soon (frost, I mean, not snow).  It's hard to tell right now.  Anyway, I've been a softy and turned the heating up!

After deciding on my new car, part of which included a part exchange for my current car (not a lot but more than I expected given the problems), I dug out my car file and set to to organise it and to find the documents they need.

My goodness, what a collection of documents.  I had every single insurance document with accompanying paperwork, almost every single bill/receipt/list of work done, every MOT certificate, everything received from the AA/RAC (not at the same time) plus goodness knows what else.  Much is now shredded and I have a whopping big pile of 'history' to hand on.  I bet most of that doesn't go much further than the bin and I guess I ought to be nice and get it all in chronological order.
It may have been a little disorganised, but it was all there.

Ignoring the wet, I trundled on into town yesterday after carefully considering where to park.  My poor old Peugeot doesn't do hills very well now, like her owner, and most of the in-town car parks involve ramps/slopes.  I got a space in a short stay park that involved a bit more walking but not much and did all that was needed.  I did pop into Lakeland and bought some loaf tin liners and some Astonish and then on to Boots to stock up on hearing aid batteries.  I like to keep a good supply in but was on my last pack so it was getting a bit essential that I get some more.

Once home, I had a go at making potato bread - proper loaves, not tattie scones.  It involved a bit of manipulating and guesswork but it was OK and the resulting loaves are lovely.  The flavour isn't too different but it's a very soft bread that lasts several days before starting to go stale (I gather).  A good way of using up leftover mash.

I also made a recipe that I found on another blog and have written about it in my other blog, here.  Brussels Sprouts Hash doesn't sound all that exciting but, actually, it was really scrummy and I'm going to make it again today but with additions.  I think I will add sweet potato and mushroom and, possibly, parsnips, sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the finished dish and I have some bread that needs using up so I shall make some garlic bread to have with it.

Apart from making dinner for me, Beth and Alex, I will need to work today.  The holiday is over in all but name.  Shame!  It has been a lovely fortnight but, as they say, all good things must end.

And now it's time for coffee (the first of the day!).

Saturday 3 January 2015


Good morning, everyone.  It's not cold again this morning but it's not terribly nice out there all the same.  When I peeked out it was raining quite hard and I'm just hoping it clears up before I have to pop into town.

Well, yesterday was very exciting indeed which might explain why I was asleep by seven thirty last night and woke just before six this morning.  I guess I missed my snoozes!

After test driving, thinking, negotiating, arguing just a little bit and generally having a good time (oh, and drinking some quite nice coffee along the way), I will be picking up my new car next week.  I say new; I shall be the second owner so get the benefit of depreciation but it is just four months into registration with a mileage so low as to be utterly daft (with a good reason).  I think I got extremely lucky!

But then I have always been 'lucky' with my cars.  My first car, a Chevette, was a 'new driver' car (which I was) and did its bit well.  The second, an Astra, was really lovely and it wasn't until my dad took advantage of special deals he was entitled to in his place of work that I 'swapped' the Astra for a Maestro (the Astra lasted several more years for its new owner before she upgraded).

That did me for years and years and years until in 1999 I bought my 11 month old Peugeot I am just about to replace.  Amazingly, the Peugeot, bought fifteen and a half years ago, cost just about a thousand pounds less than what I am paying for my nippy new car with its many gizmos and gadgets.  And it was great value then.  I was lucky - my then car mechanic had a little side business finding cars for customers, checking them over, making them roadworthy and then selling them.  He was an excellent mechanic, skilled and very, very honest, and I was gutted when he sold his business on and went into a completely different line of work.  There is absolutely no chance that he reads this but, just in case, thank you so much, Mark, and I hope life is treating you really well.  You sold me a wonderful car and I have loved driving her until very recently when it all went belly up!

I will tell you more next week.  At the moment I can hardly believe it but I guess it will sink in soon and I will be more mature about it.  Maybe.

So I have to go into town to warn my bank that there will be a large payment out of my account which I really don't want them to query.  While I'm there I will pop into a few other shops for bits and bobs, including Lakeland (oh, yes!!).  May as well have a bit of fun, after all.

Apart from that it is, sadly, the end of the leisure time and I have to pop into school to pick up some books and generally get stuff ready for Monday.  It's been a good break, one of the best.  Unusually, for me, touch wood, despite daughter and grandson coughing and spluttering around me, I have remained healthy all through with not a sniffle in sight.

It will be even sadder on Sunday when the decorations all get put away again.  Traditionally it should be Twelfth Night (Tuesday) but Sunday is the more sensible time when I have Beth and Alex to share the fun.

I think, for me, less is more and this year I have restricted the decorations to the Christmas tree, one sideboard full of candles and Christmas greenery and the nativity crib.  Oh, and a wreath on the front door and a star on the living room door.  It has all looked very festive without in any way being messy or getting in the way, not to mention being easy to put up.  I shall definitely do it like that again next year - I mean this year!

I seem to have gone on and on so I will stop now as my mug is empty and I need another coffee.  Well, I want one, anyway!  I suppose that's something else that will stop - making a pot of coffee (decaf now) and warming mugfuls up through the day as and when.

Have a good day and I hope you are able to stay warm and dry.

Friday 2 January 2015


I'm writing this in a bit of a rush as there's things to do and not a lot of time to do them, so please forgive the brevity of this.

It was a pleasant day yesterday, only two snoozes and I started to clean the oven.  It's going to take more than one go though, it's a shocking mess.  I've been online and bought two Lakeland oven liners in the hopes that once it is clean it will stay clean!  Mum uses them and swears by them so fingers crossed.

Well, better go . . . I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Thursday: New Year's Day


There's no frost this morning and, my goodness, you can feel the difference too.  There's no chill in the indoors air, I haven't rushed to notch up the early morning heating and I'm quite comfortable sitting here.  I know it's going to chill off in a few days' time but it's nice to have a bit of respite, isn't it?

Yesterday I didn't do an awful lot.  Well, in a way I did but nothing useful, none of the tasks I had planned to do.
I went round for coffee with a friend and we talked about some arrangements for next term while I oooohed and aaaahed over her little baby girl.
Then I picked Beth up and took her to her pet shop to get some bags of cat litter.  Well, that was the idea anyway but you should have seen the queues leading into the retail park.  Shocking.  So we just went round the roundabout and headed to Tesco instead.  She bought some there that she thinks the cats will be OK with and fingers crossed that they are because it's cheaper!

When I got home I sat down and - yes, you've got it - went to sleep.  It seems a natural enough thing to do in the early afternoon.

One way and another I didn't get all the tasks done that I needed to do so they're on today's list.  I need to stop being lazy, I really do!  So today is all planned out and the sooner I start, the sooner I will finish.

Better make breakfast and get going then.
Have a great first day of the new year!