Thursday, 29 March 2007

Yo Ho Yo Ho a Pirates Life for me...

The Pirates of the Carribean 3 comes out the day after my birthday. That gives me a problem. Do I go to lust (sorry, admire) after Johnny Depp very selfishly alone or with Hubby or celebrate my birthday with my children by watching Spiderman 3? Chocolate bar or chocolate cake?

I think I know the answer to that. Any offers of babysitting, friends?

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Unemployed or unemployable?

I will not be at the same school after Easter. Shame. I liked knowing where I was every day. I liked knowing I could be there to pick up & that I was going to get money every week.

But that's supply work. When I said yes I knew this was a temporary job. I knew it might be two weeks or twenty... but I hoped for the twenty. Never mind, I enjoyed my two weeks, I can have a slob day again now and I will go back onto supply next term.

On a brighter note, I went to Oxfam books today and for the price of 2 paperbacks got all of these...

I nearly bought two of them as holiday reads last year.... so glad I didn't....

then as I was passing out the door I saw a small blue box marked £8 the lot.. which had 2 small tapestry frames, a couple of hand held embroidery hoops and this instrument of torture....

a table top frame. Worth the money on its own, I thought. With the two half-done embroideries and some threads, I feel really chuffed. A veritable bargain day!

So I spent my savings on a coffee frappucino with almond syrup.... Mmmmm

And, finally I couldn't resist this embarassing picture. It's my two watching a film with 3D glasses on. Finally JW turned to DP and said, "I can't see any difference, can you?" It took some persuasion to get him to believe that it needs to be a 3D film before they work... either that, or they're searching for void particles.... (T minus 2 days and counting.... for any other Who fans out there...)

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Hot Chocolate for the soul.

A while ago Posy posted a picture entitled 'Heaven' which, if you are Posy afficionados you will remember was her feet(!) and her fireplace. It summed up her idea of heaven and probably that of a lot of other people, too. Well, yesterday one of my ideas of heaven popped through the letter-box. I wasn't blogging when I went to see this, but if I had have been I would have told you that a friend and me went to see it together, that we spent a fair proportion of time talking about the sets and that we came out feeling happy.... well, we did take a small bottle of wine and a decent box of chocolates into the cinema with us.
And now it's on DVD! And it came to my door yesterday!
You have to realise that I love Christmas. If Christmas had been a man I would have married Him, I love it that much and I love Christmas movies with a, well, a passion that means I don't put a time bar on them. Christmas in March? Well, why not? I truly live according to Dickens' injunction to keep Christmas in my heart and honour it all year long. Hey, I even started my present shopping the other week! So yes, I have ordered this movie, but I don't object to watching it now and tomorrow, my first free afternoon since it came, I have made my plans. I will come home from school with one or possibly two frappucinos from Starbucks; something yummy to eat (it may be a Waterfields' steak pie or a salad depending on how virtuous I am feeling) and I am going to close the curtains, snuggle under a (light) blanket and watch what was possibly the best film I saw last year. No, it won't change the world and it was romantic mush, but it had such wonderful redeeming features as a house to die for, the best den-tent I have ever seen and a crying-all-round happy ending.

And then I will get up, collect the princess and a friend and make wax-resist easter egg cut outs to decorate my windows with. 'The Holiday' is not going to be boxed in my Christmas box. Like 'The Muppets Christmas Carol' and 'The Polar Express' I think this is an all-year movie.

And, who knows, I may even sit there with my notebook and take notes on all the interior design possibilities it has to offer. Blue checker-board teapot and red rose cushions, anyone?

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

I have a headache.

Yesterday I had an ofsted inspector come in to the class where I was teaching. I'm on a long-term supply post, mornings only, and yesterday was my second morning. He wasn't very nice to me and basically said I didn't know where the children were up to, that I had to aim my work at the right level better and that I had to, essentially, rush a bit more to get through more. This all based on a 25 minute watch of the input (carpet) section of a literacy lesson that I had to change because the bit they were supposed to do last week didn't get done by someone else and... blah, blah, blah. Basically, at the end I felt like crap. I'm sorry to use bad language but that's the right word. It was demoralising, humiliating and horrible. And I don't think it was justified. Yes, I don't know where the kids are up to ( in one case, I had a little boy yesterday whom I had never seen before!) but in 4 hours of contact time, I don't think I should have been able to tell him where they were up to and I wouldn't have wanted to be so arrogant as to make instant decisions anyway. Where is the time to get to know someone? Why am I made to feel bad because I need a week to sort out who is who and where they are in their development? And why, on my second morning, am I supposed to justify labelling someone without prior knowledge or a chance to observe and assess?
I think this whole issue (and how angry I feel about it) revolves around time. The time to get to know these children was denied me yesterday. The children are being denied time to absorb and understand things in the quest for achievement (whose? And at what price?) and because it's a Year 2 class and we (if I'm still around next term) will be doing ridiculous jumping through hoops to satisfy the Government's quest for league tables and tick charts we as a class will be denied the time to do silly things in the classroom like look at the flowers, play with bits of paper and find a distraction so enthralling that we can lose a few minutes in contemplation. I was with a sats class last year as a 'second' teacher, and they had done nothing except Literacy, numeracy and a fair bit of science since January (and before) There was no PE, no art,design or creativity of any sort, no dance, no time to take a book and read a story outside on a fine day. Indeed, the teacher admitted she couldn't remember the last time she had actually read a story for pure pleasure to the class, since all reading had to have a purpose in the quest for 'full literacy'. It astonished me. These were children in a run down part of town. For some of them their only experience of books came from school & it was only work, work, work. What a memory to have! In 20 years time will they look back and say, "Remember when I was 7 and we had that fantastic time with all those past papers?" or will they remember, like I do, the teachers and times when life & school stopped for something magical; the teacher who read aloud every day with voices and sound effects, the junior teacher who had 3 different sized recorders and was responsible for making me into a musician of any sort, the art teacher who let me stay in and paint and draw big pictures for the hall. I still have the flat felt cat I sewed with a Mummy, Daddy and full wardrobe of clothes when I was 10. My childhood? Idyllic, in retrospect, and full of teachers who were free to make learning enjoyable, paced to suit me & them and full of humour. I wish today's youngsters had the same chance. When the government has to publish papers entitled "Excellence and Enjoyment" as if learning should & could take place without these, then it's time to despair of a world where in a search for all the boxes ticked we've forgotten to look and see whether the boxes are round or square.
(The image comes from a history of Powys website for schools which can be found here.)

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Here is my Mum and DP. She shares her birthday with my daughter, she used to call me a 'Little Madam' when I was naughty (quite often, sometimes). She made me dresses for the summer with Dick Dastardly and Muttley on and butterflies and then make my dolls dresses from the offcuts. She showed me how to knit and sew and bought me wool and material so that I could have a go. She let me pick my own bedroom colours (red curtains?) and made the darned things, too. She taught me how to feed a family of seven on half a pound of mince while putting 4 children through private school; and she never complained about the effort. She took me to school with her from an early age and showed me how to teach. She took care of her own mother until the end, she takes care of me now and I love her. If The Princess and I can be as close when we're both grown up, then I will be a happy Mother. God bless you, Ma, and I'll see you later!

And another call for names for a bookmark swap; if you're interested in swapping handmade bookmarks please e-mail me & I'll get organised. I thought it would be lovely if we could get it done for 23rd April & Shakespeare's Birthday.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

At last, at last at last...

With apologies to Mia, Anita, Henny and Monique here at last are the hearts from my first swap!!!

Anita's hearts all feature the word 'nostalgia' and a picture of the cutest little girl. It's pinks and peaches and very soft-toned.

Mia's heart is patchworked on both sides and in beautiful vintage/vintage-style fabrics in beige-peach-cream with a simple satin ribbon loop.

Monique and Henny's hearts were almost twins. Moniques has lovely lace and beadwork on it with a button and lace loop. It's backed with a small blue sprigged flower fabric.

and Henny's is blue and green with the embroidery thread in blue and white beads sewn on to look like flowers.

Mine were red gingham with felt applique. I have a very bright image of nostalgia. I don't do sepia photos either. Sorry.

And also today....

I got a parcel! From that Nice Mr Amazon. He really likes me because he always brings me things (usually after pay-day) and today he brought me;

I haven't even looked at it and I like it already. The cover is bright with something red on the front, the spine of the book has a pink flowery pattern all over it and the back of the book has a flickr-style mosaic on showing bags, clothes, dogs, slippers and more. I'm off shortly to shop but when I return I will be making a pot of Earl Grey, sitting down in front of Amelie and reading what may be my favourite book this week. Enjoy!

Finally, I issued an invitation and will repeat it now for a week. Would anybody like to take part in a bookmark swap? Make a bookmark, any style and swap it with me and/or anyone else? I've already got one taker (thank you Wendy, glad you're back)

Monday, 12 March 2007

Some days, there just isn't anything to say....

And somedays there just isn't any time to say it.
I love reading blogs and have a list of at least 20 that I read when I have an hour or two free. My sidebar has several of my favourites, but is no where near extensive enough. I keep sliding another one into my favourites list.
The down side of reading other folk's stuff is that when I'm reading I'm not writing or crafting or cleaning...... or doing anything else.
Can I waste too much time on blog reading? I like to read them, I love to know what's happening and to see how the same and similar things float around for as while til the next fresh inspiration hits. I love how granny squares are every where at the moment, and yes, I have my squares growing steadily. I love how snow gets sprinkled every where when it snows and flowers bloom by common consent when it's spring. I love how someone makes something which inspires someone else and then on to someone else. I love how it's like a group of schoolfriends, that there are 'sets' of bloggers who seem to know each other and talk freely about each other in blogs. I'd love to make my own best friends through swaps and things, but I haven't learnt the rules of the game yet. I love that I have a fondness for certain blogs (won't name names) and love to see what's happening when the people live lives that are the same as or so different than mine. I love being nosy, too. Who is moving? Whose shop was sold out on the first night? Who has a cold and on and on...
I'm nosy; I love Flickr and seeing every one elses house. I was always the little girl who would go to someone elses house and ask for the toilet... I didn't need to go, I just loved seeing what the upstairs was like. Downstairs loos are the death of curious children. I always make a point of offfering a curiosity trip to any new girls or grown-ups that come, and then watch them flinch from the mess....

I'm ready for another swap. Does anyone fancy a bookmark swap? Please leave a comment if you do.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

I am running behind.... again

I have 4 beautiful hearts which I must show you that come from my heart swap partners. This was organised by Anita of My Country Cottage Garden in Germany and involved people from Finland, Austria, the Netherlands and Norway. I'm sorry, Ladies, I haven't posted my hearts yet, I haven't had a chance to.... but they will be here tomorrow.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Daffodils? Not that many!

We went to Wales this weekend, 18 members of our family including a Fairy Godmother, 4ft 6, cuddly and addicted to whiskey and lemonade (go easy on the lemonade, though) and 9 under 15's. We all met together on Friday for a meal in the hotel restaurant and again on Saturday night when the youngsters had a film & food night in a bedroom while the grown-ups (including a stunning-looking 16 year old niece; am I really that old now?) went to a dinner dance in a function room below. Did we have a good weekend? Well, apart from the fact my daughter has a touch of something cystitisable and needs the toilet every 25 minutes, yes we did. It is always good to meet up as a large group, as many as possible and spend time as a family. The food was lovely... is there any better food than proper Welsh lamb? I suspect it's a bit like Guinness, they keep the best stuff at home and only export the next-best. I love lamb, and Saturday's was wonderful. The only disappointing part of the meal for me was the bread and butter pudding. I love making this at home,and was expecting something similar, but it suffers from mass-production and was too wet and woolly to be decent B&B pud. But that's a small gripe in an otherwise glorious weekend.
Saturday we visited Llandudno and walked along the sea-front. Although it was sunny, there was a breeze coming in off the ocean and we soon moved onto the main shopping street. Llandudno is un-pretentious. It doesn't do very 'posh' shops, so no Cath Kidston on immediate display, and it does have an old-fashioned air, but it does have little independent shops you don't see elsewhere and a good range of Charity shops. I wish I'd had time alone to browse, but with a Hubby and three kids who don't 'get' shopping, I was lucky to get 10 minutes with The Princess in a kitchen shop. She does like her cookie cutters! We bought an elephant, a teddy, a boy and a girl and a full set of heart cookies in every size possible. She chose the red set, there was a silver set, too, but she knows what I like. I treated myself to prongs for turning my bacon and a wooden spatula, since my last one broke de-frosting the freezer and I bought a pink silicon spoon to go with the Princess's pink mixing bowl. Later today, I need to get eggs and we are having a marathon bake-in tomorrow.
Ps I wanted to upload a few more pictures, but Blogger is just being so slow today. I'm going to upload the to flickr if it's any quicker. You can see my photos under the name Angel Jem. Hope you like them!

Friday, 2 March 2007

Happy Saint David's Day!

I'm off this weekend to Wales to celebrate St David's day... plenty of daffodils on Monday, then, and a happy St David's Day to anyone Welsh who is reading this! Have a good weekend.